Monday, February 20, 2006


one night last week, i awoke to Mark playing music. the door to my room is a pocket door, and at that point, it had not been fixed by Mark (that happened night before last), and so the door was slightly ajar, and i could hear him very well. i listened to him for about 20 minutes, in and out of sleep, before i finally came out of my room. Mark appeared at his door with a slightly sheepish look on his face. "i didn't realize you were home."

"your songs break my heart. you know that, right?" this words had been percolating somewhere in the back of my brain for a while, and they came out of my mouth suddenly and unexpectedly. i hadn't meant to say it. not like that. usually it was, "i don't mind, i'm a heavy sleeper, no bother."

he's been practicing a lot, since tomorrow night he has a gig. i've gotten used to the strange acoustics of the pink house, the way the sound filters through it, how i can hear him amazingly clearly when i'm on the front porch and in the downstairs bathroom next to the kitchen. as i sit in the dining room or living room, the sound pours down around me like liquid. the songs i've heard over and over again, in different permutations, blending into one another, with strange little riffs and ideas between them, connecting them loosely like the net stitch i've been toiling over. his singing voice is high, much higher than his speaking voice, with a sweet, reedy quality that gets pleasantly off key when it goes into the upper registers.

he just practiced introducing his band, which i think means he doesn't know i'm home.

"i think i might be moving into a place in Philly that has a recording studio." i said to him a few nights ago. "this might finally be my chance."

get a tape recorder, is what he advised, if you think of a little phrase or melody. record into it again and again until you get it right.

i'm convinced that once i get my studio practice ironed out, all will be well. based on how and what i've worked on near the end of college until the present, my "studio practice" tends to be fuck around until the last minute and then work like mad to produce a shitload of work that everyone around me praises but, deep in my gut, i know is probably crap. i think it is this practice, my particular practice of making, is what has kept me from ever writing songs like i have always wanted to. it's as if i expect them to spring fully formed from my head, like my visual art does. when i sit at the piano, i see something that is as alien to me as it is deeply familiar and comforting. it is a person, an entity i know, but we speak different languages and we can't communicate. so i bang around on it a bit but hear nothing in return.

this breaks my heart.

Mark is one of the most unusual people i've ever met. i've met a lot of unusual people in Houston, way more than i thought i would. i don't necessary believe things happen for a reason, because ridiculous and dumb and terrible things happen to people all the time that make no sense. so i don't believe in destiny. but i believe this: people come into your life for a reason.

i don't know what led me to answer that ad on craigslist last June, but i did. i don't know what made me instantly comfortable with him and with this house, but it was. he has a strange sort of reserve that i haven't seen too often in people. his reserve combined with my reserve has ended in me not knowing him directly, but almost indirectly, through his music, through the scribbled recipes on scraps of paper on the fridge, and the pictures he takes that are up on the wall in the dining room. they are all of people, friends and relatives he misses. i don't know who most of them are, he never talks about them, and i've never asked. so i've made up stories about most of them. it pains me in some sort of weird way that i will just be a blip on his radar, but that's really all he'll be to me. whenever i leave someone, i never think that i'll never see them again. i don't think life works that way. or maybe it just makes leaving less painful.


dkate said...


6:23 AM  

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