black vinyl record

Detroit’s Playlist 1: Life and Death Records A Loss

Detroit’s Playlist #1

I don’t feel like tearing my favorite Ramone’s shirt, or covering the mirrors. The only magick words to recite that mean anything to me are those committed to tape and disc and wax and vinyl, sealed forever to a broken heart that won’t ever recover from this fucking shit. My heart won’t recover from all the loss, all the shame, all the pain. My soul won’t recover from all the let down, the betrayed trust, the beauty of the road or the harshness of the street. I’m never going to get past the bad knowledge of what can go wrong, and what can make it better, or at least not hurt as much. I won’t ever trust anyone enough to be able to say, “actually, I am not ok, not ok at all,” and feel safe that they will be able to handle that, and to be frank that they will want to. I am pretty much certain that no one wants to hear anything other than I am doing just fine. And that is how it should be. That is how it is. I will not allow anyone else to suffer in order to save my ass again, even if it means being lonely and remote. I will end my life on a mountain with a big sign on my gate reading: Stay Back For Your Own Safety

It has been a strange month: I get into the apartment after years homeless, and ten months in a shelter. I get a bed, a sofa and a guitar stand. I get knocked out. I get totally completely utterly sober, not even weed (and fucking resent every second of it, even if I know it is for the best, I kick and twist under the perceived restriction), and I get flowers on my window seat. Then I get disappointed, saddened and grief stricken, as Billy waits for this moment to exit, stage left, in a whirlwind of guilt making horror. It is too much. Life and death records. A loss. However expected, however hard he pursued it, it remains what it is – a loss I don’t even feel I have a right to grieve.

The guilt for surviving is immense. The guilt for being inside and comfortable is huge. When we got pushed out of our favored camping or sleeping spots, I used to put Social Distortion’s Down Here With The Rest Of Us on the Beastie’s stereo, the one thing that actually worked on that motherfucker, and blast it out loud, windows open, screaming to the tourists my rage at being not even allowed a damn spot to sleep, a campsite, a safe place in a parking lot. We applied for so many safe parking programs, and despite having two children at one point, we were turned down. No room in the lot. No space to stop, not for us. “You’ll suffer hard now, when you lose your best friend!” growls Mike Ness, “….and I know how you feel!” I don’t believe him. He doesn’t know. If he did he wouldn’t be able to get the words out for tears. I certainly can’t.

So, if you consider yourself my friend, if you have a heart, some feeling for this ‘world of pain’ that Mike Ness catalogues so powerfully, imagine yourself pushed out of the only safe place you have to park, when the person taking your spot has a home to go to, imagine your children crying. Imagine your heart breaking in such a storm of anger that you lose your voice screaming, as their blank faces, porcine and spoilt make little ‘o’s’ as the rustbucket makes some ripples and I make my best attempt to be a one person riot. Forget low profile. Let ’em know, let ’em hear what it is like to be down here with the rest of us, losing our religion – getting angry, getting mean, getting desperate, getting blown away by the beauty of the coast, getting cold, getting hungry….getting hopeless. Head hurting from screaming and nobody hearing.

The watchers on the tower see Azrael hooded and cloaked, scythe raised for the harvest. The ad before Michael’s voice drips into the track announced a Christian revival meeting at Angel Stadium. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my bed. Sometimes the world sends a message, sometimes there is serendipity, sometimes it all makes sense in a way that is too much to look at straight on. Michael is losing his religion, and Franklin Graham is at the place the Angel’s play offering to revive it for him. Too perfect. Too fitting.

There is always the stairway to heaven that we hope our loved ones see, that we hope one day we will see when it is our time to exit this plane and go to where ever is next. That stairway that the ‘house of the rising sun’ almost sent me to early, and would have done if Billy hadn’t have got me out of there.

We were just a bunch of ‘riders on the storm’, with Morrison acting psychopomp, guide to the dying, if not the yet dead, grateful or not.

So it is goodbye to Billy the Creep. The Wierdo and his Radiohead ringtone that announced that he knew what he was…and that he thought I was ‘so fucking special’…he was the only one who thought so. Everyone else thought I was the creep. I couldn’t be nice and survive. He understood that. Takes a creep to know and love one.

I found my Wish You Were Here guitar pick. It had somehow migrated to the foot of my bed. Reappeared after my hunting for it for the last week. I like to think he has let go of me at last. I am way too angry with him, way too disappointed. I know rationally that if I hadn’t have left I would have died too. Doesn’t mean that I don’t wish the old, kind, cool, sweet Billy wasn’t here. My best friend. He never could tell heaven from hell. He always mistook the hell of the bottle for heaven. I don’t like the idea of a bottle with my name on it, tossed to the bottom of a lake in a grand gesture of meanness and falsely placed blame, but what can I do about it now? What could I ever do!

So it is, Goodbye Angels…I moved to a hard town…but this long slow suicide was not designed to save me, but to punish for trying to survive. The joke is on me.

Welcome to my first playlist.

Detroit’s Playlist #1

All Along the Watchtower Hendrix (Dylan)

Don’t Fear the Reaper Blue Oyster Cult

Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin

House Of the Rising Sun Dave Van Ronk

Riders on the Storm The Doors

Creep Radiohead

Losing My Religion REM

Goodbye Angels Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd

Down Here With The Rest Of Us Social Distortion

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