In A Silent Way
This is based on some images and emotions that came to me in a dream I had. It’s not a self-contained story or anything but more of an excuse to log these impressions and sensations, and to get writing again.
I was in Baggston at the beginning of the school year. This was the first time I had gone there since I graduated and there were students in the dorms all so much younger than I was; rather than be a creeper I decided to make myself as inconspicuous as possible. I was just going to drop the package off and get out. Dodging out of the way of baby-faced co-eds, I headed through the basement of a large building: the office waiting for me was at the end.
I was supposed to get this done quickly but there wasn’t really anything I was in a rush to get back to. Heading back home would mean a lack of space and a lack of privacy: reality also seemed to offer various other punches in the crotch there and little hope of escape. One carelessly placed magazine here or there could break whatever tenuous hold I had on lifelines out of this dead state I kept feeling while there. I was also out of money aside from the funds needed to get me back home.
I kept running into people as much as I tried dodging out of the way, so eventually I decided to walk down to the south point. There was a big mall there and I could kill time like I normally do, browsing the video rentals and music stores for things I’d eventually like to buy and hear. I could see a pile of salt outside and a few workmen mulling about around it.
I knock a few DVDs over. I get up; suddenly I’m at this party and all these people from different parts of my life are gathered around my friend Gene, who’s commandeered the CD tray. Rose petals are sprinkled about over the stereo as the second side of Miles Davis’ “In A Silent Way” starts playing: I get lost in thought as I listen to John McLaughlin’s gentle guitar melody, the shimmering keyboards and Miles’ mournful trumpet. Alice leans up against me and I start touching her hair, which is now unfamiliarly thick and chestnut waves that brush against her breast. I hear drums come in and the familiar six note keyboard vamp that mark “It’s About That Time”. The saxophone seems sadder and funereal this time around. We kiss and murmur things to each other in comfort; anything else that we try seems purely mechanical and guarded and we both are aware of the lie it would be. I quickly cover up and refocus on the music, which has died back down and gone back to the guitar, keyboard and trumpet dirge, and I rest my head.
Outside, it’s suddenly the dead of winter. I walk along a cleared path; there is a building at the edge of a river and about eight people are staring at the flow, an androgynous woman identifying the fast-moving sludge as mostly fecal waste from the town. I think I’m somewhere in Minnesota.
Inside the building there are a bunch of half-empty boxes with cassette tapes spilled out. I see one of them is “The Hissing Of Summer Lawns” by Joni Mitchell.