Scraps

I spent the early months of this year working on a longer piece to submit for publication. In the course of writing it I amassed nearly 2500 scrapped words. I kept these words in their own document. For some reason, they were precious to me even as I deemed them worthless in the grand scheme of my story.

If they were paint, I would roll around naked in them and throw my body at the canvas. They’re not paint though, they’re words. Visual artists use found material or “scraps” all the time.

Here’s my version of an abstract word rendering…

 

Navigating the city

the new adventure to begin

I hadn’t fallen down in months

clearly, my future was stardom

 

on a collision course like a gory flick

spin around, face down, stomach flat against the vinyl top of a barstool

closet so packed with clothing that the door wouldn’t close

I fell for the urban landscape at first sight

 

two guys named John

had no idea what I was talking about, it didn’t matter

real estate is a hot topic in Manhattan, even when you live in student housing

my world was a sliver of corner behind the stacks of speakers

 

adventure was on that side of the river

hanging out at the top of the Empire State Building

all the time playing McDonald’s drive-thru

the first step towards my inevitable top billing on a glittering theater district marquee

 

he glanced up in time to witness my approach

sitting behind the sliding glass security window

engrossed in that day’s edition of The New York Post

completely unaware of how much a simple box of mushrooms would thrill me

 

no one to congratulate me on surviving the streets

continued progress through the market

it resonated within my head as if someone had shouted right at me

the coolest work/study job on the planet

 

more concerned with my safety than my designated “asshole” status

inner voice on the attack

contributing. no longer just a spectator, listener

I could be whatever character I chose

January Stories

I have no January stories. January is a moment lost. Each day seemed to meld into the next, the hours indistinguishable from one another. Morning, midday and sunset all resembled dusk. And dusk was like the dead of night. The dead of night extended into morning.

There are no stories this month. We watched playoff football. We ate wings, burgers; drank beer. We passed the time looking forward or back, not wanting to acknowledge the here or now. Planning trips for months to come, not leaving home for days on end.

We binge watched. I managed every episode of “Felicity” before mid-month. We ran out of oil… again. One or both of us loses track at least once a year. I blamed him.

I started every morning with the news and each day I got angrier and more afraid. The anxiety of wondering what the year will bring, overwhelming at times. We went out to eat. Took the dog to the vet, to the groomer, for walks down the street.

We played music, but not nearly enough. When I sang I did it for the world to hear, but only a few did.

I worked about a hundred extra shifts at the bar. I made small talk about the weather. I reused old jokes. I asked myself what the hell happened to the extra money.

I worried about money.

I worried about the future.

I worried about the dog. The bar. The house. The neighbor’s sidewalk. The government. My weight. My writing and my consistent drowsiness. Our business and our relationship and family drama. And First Family drama.

I hurt my back and I don’t know how. I practiced yoga through a clenched jaw with a closed heart. I went through the motions. I kept breathing, but my mind has been racing all short year long.

I have no January stories, at least none I want to tell.

Untitled 1

She told me to come back to you, but I already instinctively knew.

You are where I find my way. You are where it all began.

Where I found the good, the bad.

You are here and yet you’re not.

You give up the spotlight and hand me center stage.

Or center me when there is no stage.

You help me find my way. You decide what’s right to say. And prioritize what’s sent.

You find the words that explain what I meant.

You turn them back around and show me.

So I come back to you and I do all the talking (as usual) and you stare back and I throw my words at you and you accept. I lay it out for you to take and you relent and I attack and I feel better until I realize that you’ve said nothing.

I, again, am the only actor in the play. You have slipped away, your part portrayed, your goal fulfilled, your silence’s job complete. You’ve gotten me back on my feet.

And do I ever thank you?

T Minus 40: Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work. Winter is a terrible time to try to initiate change. I believe in the birthday resolution though. It’s your own personal New Year’s Day. This year the resolutions feel bigger somehow, like resolutions for the next 40 years…

This year I plan to make less plans.

To worry less. To concoct less worst case scenarios.

To consider myself before considering others.

I plan to treasure my gifts. To be proud of my accomplishments.

To trust those who have earned it and to let go of those who have betrayed it.

To forgive myself. To stop trying to fix the mistakes of the past.

I will not take love for granted.

I will fear less, though I’ll never be fearless.

I plan to finally believe the Second Agreement or at least try.

To stop caring about what other people think.

To count less.

To sing more.

To please myself and honor my partner and all the things he is.

I plan to practice yoga and patience and self respect and guitar.

I plan to write and to read and to learn.

To seek information and adventure and stories.

To relax and to listen to the lessons I have learned.

To remember that I have no control over others and that these plans are plans alone and can be written and rewritten. They do not define the life ahead they do not explain what came before. These plans are just plans and plans change every minute.

I plan to make less plans.

 

T Minus 40: Some Days

Some days are just harder than others.

That’s just the way it is. It has nothing to do with what came before or what is approaching. Some days the connections just don’t get made. The pieces just don’t fit. It’s not for lack of trying and it’s nobody’s fault. The thing is to continue to push through those days, to keep trying to convince the pieces to fit.

You can’t force it, but you can’t ease up on it either. There has to be a balance, a give and take.

The real work is giving yourself the space and the permission to feel the hard days and begin to try to reason with them, and never take the easy days for granted.

write

without

the burden

self doubt replaced

it’s liberating

when you crave affection

music and material

expect the audience to love

with applause comes clarity, wisdom

I was being brave, not caring that I lost

T Minus 40: Work the Room

Work the Room is a collaborative effort between Yves and me. He wrote the music and I (as usual) was the lyricist. The lyrics are loosely directed towards a popular recording artist. You’ll never guess who…

You walk in the place

wearing that face

that says that you own the scene

You float on a cloud

Parting the crowd

Life’s such a bitch

and you’re in a fix

’cause everyone wants a piece

You know how to please

but still you’re a tease

 

Everything you do is so fascinating

and you get off on all the hell that you put me through

I’d sell my soul to be the fly that’s on the wall

when you work the room

 

You still get high

’cause you wanna fly

and leave all the shit behind

Still they’re all snowed

they’ll never know

You know what to say

you’d go all the way

only to prove you can

you talk like a dream

you’re liquid like cream

 

Everything you say is so fascinating

and you get off on every hell that you put me through

I’d sell my soul to be the fly that’s on the wall

when you work the room

when you work

 

When you were mine

I couldn’t find

a reason just to hold you

that was the thing

you were the king

and you couldn’t belong to me

 

Everything you do is so fascinating

and you get off on all the hell that you put me through

I’d sell my soul to be the fly that’s on the wall

when you work

Everything you say is so fascinating

and you get off on every hell that you put me through

I’d sell my soul to be the fly that’s on the wall

when you work the room

when you work the

when you work the room

 

 

 

 

T Minus 40: Embrace It

Our courtship is nearly over, our dance will soon begin

You’ve been at arm’s length, but will soon be called a friend

We’ve played at this for quite some time, still I never noticed

The kindness that you offer me

Your loving hands outstretched

I had to get here in my own time, I had to feel I chose it

The rush of leaving old behind has yet to find a rhythm

But this affair will be familiar soon

Our games a distant memory

I’ll stop counting days, I’ll stop mending ways

You’ll be there always reminding

Love appears in many forms and radiates from all directions

Your favorite is from inside out, but I’ve yet to accept it

You woo me still and soon resolve will fizzle

The inevitable click will come on time

I’m going to embrace it

T Minus 40: Crush

Crush is a break up song for sure, not that I have much break up experience. The inspiration for this song came from a relationship that wasn’t mine. A friend dated one of my band members. It bothered me that she got more of his attention than I did.

 

Crush

We haven’t talked like this for years.

A whole conversation and no tears.

But there’s something deep behind your eyes,

Suddenly everything’s so clear.

 

Let’s try this again, it’s gone to your head

Now that you’re someone else’s Crush

Leave it alone, ’cause you’ve never known

What it’s like for me.

 

You’re telling me you need something new.

So tell me how good she is for you.

I won’t ask you not to turn away.

Suddenly I can see what’s true.

 

Let’s try this again, it’s gone to your head

Now that you’re someone else’s Crush

Leave it alone, ’cause you’ve never known

What it’s like to be…

The one who’s outside and you’ll never cry

Now that you’re someone else’s Crush

Leave it alone, ’cause you’ve never known.

What it’s like for me.

 

Listen here: Crush (acoustic version)

Music by Yves Gerard, Lyrics by Amy Serrago

 

T Minus 40: Jansport

Oh, classic bright purple Jansport knapsack

Your hue of vibrant violet made you stand out from the pack.

Sensible and stylish, functional and bold

Forever you amazed me with the crap that you could hold.

Sophomore year of high school we met and instant-bonded,

we travelled internationally ‘cross borders and beyond ’em.

You let me decorate your skin with every kind of button

from peace signs to poem lines to the cause of “save the mutton”.

You’ve been book bag and gym bag and gone on overnight retreats,

I even took you to the theater stuffed with contraband-ed treats.

When you tore along your upper seam I didn’t really mind,

but I live with another who believed it was your time.

Why’d I let him toss you out, negating our adventures?

I thought I’d carry you around until you held my dentures.

T Minus 40: Two Hats

I’m starting to panic

I am not ready.

Who will I let down?

I  can’t beat myself up any more.

I didn’t foresee the difficulties

of the act

of balancing this with that

of wearing these two hats.

 

I fear the failure

of having to, wanting to quit.

There are only so many hours.

I am only me.

There is only one place I can be.

There must be a moment when

I’ll lighten up, I’ll be at ease

The answers will come.

After all, the questions are all mine.