That afternoon, I’d sprung a musician friend out of the Jabba-the-Hutt-looking hospital across the street which I’d always feared, but never been in.

            Ten days later, eight inches of colon removed,  I pick him up. 

            Push the wheelchair. 

            Drive, at his bidding, six city blocks on the rim of his Jeep to the gas station at Oakley and Grand where I filled the fucker with air to appease him, another zombie spinning out on Oxy, even as the tire was so shredded wind kicked me in the face as I worked.

            My grandfather taught my brother to read a tire gauge.  I had watched them.

            Well, know I know how to do it myself.

             Shower, hair, makeup, outfit, (Bill needs drugs from the pharmacy by six), Mitch stuck in traffic, (Bill is calling), (Colin can’t do it), okay, running out-of-house, black boots, heels, fishnets, choker, “Mitch, do me this favor. Let’s spin around to Randall Pharmacy and get him his drugs.”

            Mitch sighs.  I put on Ekhart Tolle.  He says, “This makes me want to kill myself.” 

            Friendly faces, hospital time, pharmacy world, aging and sickness, reality slow, slow.  Bureaucracy.  No one escapes the Real World. 

            “Thank you for helping us.”

            We’re at Augusta and Western, and “the beast” is happy again.

            “It’s your gig, if you want to be late, fine.”


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            Under the umbrella of Fearless Radio, inches from the Hollywood film for which someone’s snarling up Michigan Avenue we arrive.

            On time. 

            We’ve handed off pills and cruised the Kennedy, Mitch soothing, in a way only bassists know.           

            Load in.  Set up.  

            Ah, the stage has holes. Built from slabs of wood with wide mouths where planks don’t match exactly, vaginal slits wait to suck me in. 


            Despite taking note, I’ll stick my heel in again and again, the same groove over and over, throughout the show, so that by the end the divot will be a known friend – or an enemy? – a slightly annoying but entirely manageable inconvenience I must contend with.

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            But first…spectacle.

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            Color crushed women boasting hubcap tits.  Bryan Sperry the artist sporting silver pants, silver shoes, his amour, Melanie, in a silver sequenced dress.

            “Is she his muse?” people whisper near “Diamond,” the silver mirror woman whose ass I photograph, only because it frames in its hearts a picture of me. 

            Why yes.

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            Isn’t that a better story?

            Phenomena-ing the dream.  We’re inside the mind at night; wild black place; half-asleep, colorful, cascading, faces turning into tongues that wrap around brains; fright pockmarked Middle Ages monks and birds as men, black with heavy oil paint; long room-sized swaths of geometric shapes.

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            And the women.

            The women: everywhere.

            Are they even women?  Or machines?

            Is the body mine, or plastic it will be?

            Am I a robot or a sentient being?

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            Women possessions, mannequins to toy with, to dress up, to own and play with, whose stories we invent for our own use.  Will you one day come alive to take us back?

            Beautiful hourglass machine women, wearing automobiles.

            Huge space, white tiles and walls, and rail-less stairway, the sense of freedom.  

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            The people balconies, surveying the room.

            Space, idea, color, shape, creativity.  Speaking from the center of your mind.  Not for products or sales or advertisement or corporations, but for yourself.

            In yourself.

            For the good of humanity.

            For the god of humanity.

            Or some such shit.

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            Bassist-by-trade, tonight Mitch is playing keys.

            A schoolboy to my right, he looks up from time to time.

            “Is it good?  Is it okay?  Are we having fun?”

            We are having fun.  Pure, body-sick, magical, other worldly fun.

            In a room we barely know to strangers.

            For Mitch, the fright and joy of toying with an instrument you know and love, but which is your second hand.

            Is it okay to have fun doing this?

            Is it okay to make mistakes?

            Is it okay to not be perfect?

            Yes yes yes yes, a resounding Yes.


            Suzanne Weaver like Arachne spins the event at Motor Row Gallery, unassuming, quiet, stable, strong, a piercing gaze web of wisdom and sense.

            Patrick sets everyone at ease, his love radiant and kindness brimming over his cheeks like light, then falling around to occupy his surrounding place.

            Kris, our hippy mother, off the shoulder in blue, ruffles and flowers, a beauty and sweetness that sets the hue.  That kind of femininity once possessed, but since been lost, painted over, by a hard masculine jaw, a survivor’s song, the admission that a chivalric code has been lost and you’re prey, damn it, better act accordingly.

            To see this live through, and perhaps only because of, the embracing charms of Patrick and Kris, this duo keeping alive independent music in Chicago, near their beautiful spectacular loft at 23rd street and Michigan, cozy with their beloved Jaco; a sun-drenched studio on the third floor; quiet, open, huge; space to breathe, to play, to be with music; to talk, to feel, to share; to be respected; a place where independence and creativity and the striving to connect and share uniqueness is not just respected but finally given the wide prairie place that matches its humble charms, its garden soul, its desperate need for breathing space.

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            Steve arrives from Milwaukee with roses wearing his black t-shirt with white cursive message: "To err is human, to forgive divine."  

            There is Roman Sobus, posing in a curvaceous slink only known to the photo soldiers who’ve spent years in dark rooms; bracing heavy cameras in dark venues stable against frenzy dancing shoulders; peering from a square aware of chemicals and shutters and lights, all of its spinning into the crystal of his sight: perspective, composition, light, mood, moment, snap.


            At the end of the night, Bruce Bilek of the tongue tornado says, “Everyone loves that one.  It isn’t even well-executed.”

            His army green jacket with strange admiral patches.  His self-defeat.

            “The songs I love the most are always just for me,” I say.  “What people love is never what I love the most.  But the ones I love lead the way for the others, so I love them anyway.”
            He wears Lennon glasses and looks at me curious.


            We walk into the cold, we disperse.

            For a few hours at least, we painted a dream.

            Moving through marvels of sound and vision, touch and remedy, we felt at one and at once that we were in each other’s dream.

            Aren’t we?


  © Rebecca F. 2017