The Dragon Lady
I placed a call today to a woman who had inherited a famous New York City jazz club from her late husband. The transcript that follows is nearly verbatim, as the entire exchange lasted for 20 seconds, and I wrote it down immediately afterwards.
My heart physically hurt after this 'conversation' and my little dog was visibly upset, even though I never raised my voice.
Me: 'Hello, is Mrs ___ there?'
Her: 'Who's this?'
Me: 'Jessica Williams.'
Her: 'Jessica who?'
Me: 'Jessica Williams.'
Her: 'Is that supposed to mean something to me?'
Me: 'I'm the pianist Jessica Williams.'
Her: 'How f*%$%@# nice for you.'
Me: 'I'm with Maxjazz, I have a trio...'
Her: 'What the f$#@ do you WANT?'
Me: 'I wanted to know about how to get booked there'...(Coltrane played there... it's something I'd always wanted to do once, but not anymore...)
Her: 'You can't.'
Me: 'Why not?'
Her: 'I don't have f%$#@%$ to explain myself.'
Me: 'Can't you at least be civil?'
Her: 'Don't you tell ME how the f&#$ to be.' (hangs up).
I really needed that. Immediately, I went out into the yard with my little dog Ruby and took a huge breath of ocean air. I held Ruby on my lap, in the garden, and had doggie kisses. She's an angel. She's a little bundle of love and snorts. She steals my heart every day. I love her so much. She's very real.
The Dragon Lady (as I've heard her called, and not affectionately, by other musicians) in NYC is not real. What a mean person! How could anyone real be that mean?
She is a part of a really bad dream.
So my heart hurt after that. Just 30 seconds on the phone with the Emotional Plague, and my blood pressure went up 30 points. That's the power of evil. Good is so soft and fragile, yet it's all we have. So we survive as best as we can.
Later, a friend told me that the musicians in NYC would come to her funeral just to 'dance on her grave' (!) and I thought this was so sad because when a person dies they should be leaving a legacy of hope and love... not a swath of wanton emotional and mental destruction and anguish.
I like it here by the sea. The world was not this cruel before.
If it was, I don't remember it that way.
The consensual dream
This culture has lost it's very soul. It is now nothing more than an alliance of corporatized zealots bent on world domination ("Dominionism"), and on the sidelines are us, the artists and poets and musicians and lovers of peace. I think we may be large in number, but the dark force of fascism is a very powerful intoxicant for small people who have craved power all of their lives.
I think it starts when they are 5 or 6 and it revolves around the moment when they give up. I know this moment exists, because back then I remember thinking, 'what they are telling me is wrong. I refuse.'
Their dream changes, from what they are inside, what they know they are, to the dream of the collective, the consensus of what life is here, the dream of who they are told they must be. It's HELL, and that's the consensual dream.
We have to live on the fringes of it and not get too close or we will lose our life.
So many people are left with very little that nourishes their soul. Everything physical that they can acquire (by any means whatsoever, even at the cost of their core values and their humanity) is sanctioned and encouraged - the yachts, the houses, the SUV's, the money. And it's never enough, so the only way they can feel good is to get more stuff, more money, more houses, but it always leaves an emptiness in them.
No LOVE exists in this vacuum, this eldritch dream. All actions become fear driven. Every thought and deed is based on comparison, materialism, and ruthless competition. The men shout orders to 'BUY' or 'SELL' into their tiny cellphones while standing in lines at crowded public markets. They walk with arms held away from their sides so as to take up more space and appear bigger.
They look like little constipated penguins trying to fly.
The women paint their long, sharp nails crimson and wear toe rings and many diamonds.
Their eyes are glazed over with too little sleep and too much Wellbutrin.
Many of them have personal trainers.
What can I say? We have TORN AWAY the VEIL. We see the bones, we see the bugs, we see the bedlam.
And it's not pretty.
A fascist email event
(The following is true. I swear on my mother's eyes.)
Dear ____; wow. When I went to send that last message, my Eudora mail program sent up a flag, saying:
"Eudora can not send this email. It contains language which your recipient, _____, may find offensive. Please remove the obscenities and try again."
Oh WOW! (as we used to say when we were on a really bummer trip!) Oh WOW!!! I paid $59.95 for a fascist email program!
I'm switching to Mac's native MAIL program, bugs and all.