Chuck Beard is an unparalleled supporter of the written word, music, and art in Nashville, Tennessee and beyond. In addition to owning East Side Story bookstore in East Nashville, he twice monthly hosts a live show called East Side Storytellin’, which features a writer and musician or band.
Last week, on Cinco de Mayo, I had the honor of sharing some of my words on the same show that featured Lilly Hiatt, a stellar songwriter and singer who inhabits a musical realm of Nashville not always immediately noticed by tourists and Music City enthusiasts. It’s a place I call home—sonically, lyrically, and otherwise. Chuck has a real talent for pairing just the right artists for these shows. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to share the spotlight with Lilly.
Much thanks to Chuck and everyone for the opportunity to be part of such a great event. I had an absolute blast. The only nod to the victory at Puebla was a pitcher of margaritas courtesy of Emily Beard, but other victories were celebrated—namely the sharing of words, music, and friendship.
Here’s a link to a very nice recap written by Chuck, which includes a link to the recording of the show:
The next East Side Storytellin’ is on Tuesday, May 19, at 7 PM at The Post East and features writer Matthew Leavitt Brown and musician Dewveall. Check it out! You and your artist soul will be glad you did.
That’s when the paper wall begins to tear, when the memories drift together, equally foggy with angles and lines that push against my consciousness like a morning spine against a waking side.
Dream or real? Junmai or daiginjo?
I’m not sure anymore as the room with the table where I made love to you after ten years of almond-eyed resignation feels as real as the college party acoustic flesh jukebox playing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” while the Clash fights the law at the bar. I still feel you, skin to skin and breath to ear, and I still stare down at streets like seams through the bottom of my glass.
Junmai or daiginjo?
I don’t know. I do know how you felt. I do know how you tasted.
And I’ll never forget the loneliness of waking.
“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
— Leonard Cohen
Sometimes an episode doesn’t wrap with closure and the perfect song poignantly playing out the scene. There’s always a soundtrack, but sometimes the music is dissonant and the beauty of a moment is woven deep into the fabric of the smoke-stained jackets and tattered dresses of characters who walk, sleep, eat and drink beyond the clean streets of mainstream suburbia. Often, through the honesty and perspective of such souls living on the periphery of society, we learn the most about ourselves and our world.
The contributing authors of Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction walk these same streets beside the struggling, lost, disenfranchised and tormented in stories that explore the dark, often to stumble upon a sliver of light.
As the official release date for this anthology comes to a close, take a walk over to Amazon.com and check out Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction. Share it with your friends; add it to your collection. Read some really great stories by some very talented new writers.
“It has to be pretty. Everything should be pretty.”
— Lee Geum-ja in Park Chan-Wook’s Lady Vengeance
You’ll sleep before I can try to answer and I’ll do that silent time travel bit on the floor, in the corner with the light from an afterthought television on my arms.
I’ll drift past the clubs and stages where I once leaned and stood, the songs and voices humming through years with the tube glow feedback of hope and doubt, not quite enough blood on the finish. The exile of numb silence broken only by an occasional wind noise mistaken for the scrape of a pick across steel strings.
I’ll remember Vegas. I came back with nearly the same amount of money but a stronger addiction to neon. The street card flickers and English cocktail waitress live forever in my missing time daydreams. The laryngitis dancer sings me to sleep every night.
There was Highway One, on the edge of the Pacific. It smelled like freedom for a day with its Laguna Beach paradise tease and the promise of a world invisible beyond a water horizon. Nothing is everything never known.
And the other Highway One, along the South China Sea. The blue and green fishing boats, the bays and bridges in a bus window at dusk where images of a trip inland to Cu Chi can float. Cu Chi, where the woods are gone but bomb craters and my father’s ghost remain.
What about the hospital room? The one where I watched my mother leave with a wince and single tear after days of morphine sleep.
Then there are the stagnant rooms, the dusty moments when I learned of another friend lost. Then another. And another. The Season of Goodbye has been a long one.
Where did I stay?
“Never mind,” I’ll say when you lean out of your dream and ask “What?”
Let’s not talk. Let’s drink cinnamon whiskey, then kiss long kisses while Sebadoh drones, beautifully drones like electric monks in a paper cone pagoda named Hôm Qua.
Here’s a video adaptation of the last poem I posted. Sometimes a moment stays with us forever, fading as slightly as a well-kept photograph.