Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Light in All Directions at Cafe Cuzco

(August 6 & 7)--Cafe Cuzco has an in-tune piano and a huge flat-screen that plays soccer 24 hours a day. As long as I don't touch the t.v., I can play any song, say any poem, tell any joke. Just don't obscure the black and white ball on the screen that is still rolling somewhere on this planet right now. I think the Peruvians who work at Cafe Cuzco--Dario, Luis, Fernando--like it best when the ball rolls in Peru.

On the second day, I play music for brunch. Cafe Cuzco holds down the corner of the neighborhood at 57th St. and 15th Ave. NW in Seattle. Someone asks for a hymn. Good. I love to play "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." I also cover "What A Friend" by Delirious. It's odd the way the two hymns work together. 'Sparrow' doesn't ignore the danger in the world; 'Friend' is at total peace. If I were to play the second without the first, it would sound complacent, unaware of the grace. I finish up with as funky a version of "Sweet, Sweet Presence of Jesus" as I can manage on the piano.

A table asks if I know any James Taylor on my guitar. Do I know any JT? Last spring I took a ride on the yacht Nirvana, and whenever we anchored, I tried to figure out one of his nautical songs. I make it through "Frozen Man" easily, but "Captain Jim's Drunken Dream" and "Lighthouse" are new to me. At moments, I hang onto the guitar as if it were a branch at the edge of a cliff. I have to breathe and loosen my grip if and music is going to come out. It's good luck that "Lighthouse" is a favorite with one couple and I don't screw the song up too badly.

Once the hymns and covers are out of the way, I play a couple of my songs, including one from my previous book Driven into the Shade:

I've been up with the dawn,
listening to the rivers in my veins.
Lightning in my brain,
playing along to that God song.

It's something I made up one early May-gray morning trying to find a 24-hour Kinko's. "Central Park West" was playing, so I put some words to it:

Fog on the road, from the sea.
Every wave Her blue breath rolling over me.
Heartbeats break on the shore to that God song.

People ask for a CD, but all I have are books. I made a CD with "God Song" on it back in 2006 and put them in 100 copies of Driven into the Shade. I have no idea where they ended up. Time to make a new one. They're not as popular as soccer balls, but I like to think that one of them spins every now and then somewhere in the world. Although in this digital age of iPods, I'm not sure anything spins. The iElectricity gets together with the iData and makes an iHum. How clean. How immaculate. How I miss the conception.