Feb 25, 2016

Dogs Pt. II

I finally ran out of money on the jukebox and went back to the counter. The bartender had disappeared off somewhere, and I sat humming along to Chet Baker, watching the street. Thinking, the faces here are so different.  

Nice people, at least the one's I've met, but they look so different, and I don't just meant the lack of Mexicans. I mean the people carry differently, they walk differently. Small things that make me miss home. The yard. The family. Notes that burst. A snare cracked down my consciousness. Buried in the slinky bass lines. The loss. And wishing I could be there. Thinking of Lucy buried in the yard. 

"Hey Jesus," I hear called out from down the bar. A big voice from a big man. 

I don't answer. And drink again. 

"Hey Jesus!" he yells a little louder.

I'm not going to answer. Trying not to show that I'm laughing a little cause Abe is the one who is usually called Jesus. Some guy thinks he's being hilarious, gonna try and yell out to me cause I have a beard and longer, dark hair. And even if he doesn't mean anything malicious, though they usually do, it is so annoying. Best to wait it out.

But he stands up. Grabs his pint and starts walking my way, stuttering a "Hey, hey, hey," with every step he gets closer. Until he puts his big hand, palm down on the bar next to my drink. And his hands a rough, and his rings are dirty gold, and his knuckles flat as Nebraska. "Hey Jesus."

And he's breathing now. Hard. He's got a wheeze, that sends a shiver down my spine. And I'm looking at his fingers. The dirt under his short cracked nails. Jesus.

"I don't think I know you..."

"Probably not," I answered calmly. He said nothing, "I'm just passing,"



"Well Jesus," he put a hand on my back and smiled, "You've got good taste." He threw his head back towards the jukebox. "Love Baker... Let me buy you one?"

"I really need to head back,"

"Come on Jesus."

"Nah, nah thanks but I," my mind stopped I had no excuse. "Gonna go." I put down a 20, and went out towards the street. The evening was late. And the air was cool. I took a breath and started walking back to the bus.


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Feb 19, 2016

Lucy, Dogs and Canada

death of Lucy

"You shouldn't go," she laughed, "what is there for you out there?" She had an accent, a deep French-Canadian seriousness, that made everything she said feel like I'm back in high school talking to a teacher.

"I don't know."

"No, stay for another," she said already filling another tumbler with ice, "I wanna know about you."

"I," instinctively I went to grab my phone before remembering it was back on the bus, with the battery taken out, the way I usually travel when I cross the border. But that also means I don't have a clock and I have no idea how much time is left until the show, "alright," I conceded. 

The sun was still out... I should still have time.

She set the drink in front of me, put her elbows on the counter around it and leaned in. Settling closer to talk. 

That was when I noticed how long her fore-arms are. I mean she was tall. And big, so maybe it stood out more to me, but I remember her arms looked like two of my arms. Still everything about her seemed gentle and friendly. 

"Do you want to see my baby?" she asked as I was mid-drink.

And before I could answer she was scrolling through her phone showing me pictures of a small dog. I'm not one for knowing breeds, but it had that grey-short curled hair all over it, small face. She had a photo of the dog tucked in between her arm and all I could see was the end of his little face. 

"Do you?" she asked.

"My wife does. She's more the animal one," I answered.

She raised those pencil thin sculpted eyebrows with a look like, 'Well?'

"Ah, yeah, no photos on me. She has... I forget what its called."

The bartender made a stern face.

"The breed I mean. Looks like a little jumpy fox. Jack."

"A Sheltie?"

"Sounds right," and it does, I think Jack is a Sheltie, "The other was a hound dog, Lucy, she passed away, not too long ago."

"Oh," she sighed and looked like she was genuinely hurt by the news.

She reached behind the counter and pulled out a ten. I know cause it's the purple one. "Make some choices," she pointed to the jukebox, "Music man."

I hate this game. I was never good at choosing music for other people. But I agreed and smiled took the bill and began searching for anything 50's. Elvis, The Imperials, Everly's, The Champs, trying to burn through this. 

And I was picking the songs, I cracked the knuckles on my left hand, tucking my thumb right underneath my wedding ring. Right where my hand has a callous from wearing the ring and playing bass.

But a few weeks before I left on this tour my whole hand was busted. When Lucy passed we buried her in the yard, but everything in South Texas is hard Limestone.

The shovels, the long metal pick, just strike after strike of cutting the rock back. Little pieces falling off at a time. Taking the earth out in handfuls. I don't know why we didn't have gloves. 

Soon my hands were filling up with blisters, and that metallic sting just kept spreading along my hands as we carved out a spot for Lucy. 

Oh Lucy. "Got to make sure it's deep enough, she's a pretty big girl..." my father in law said.

"... and the width. Do you think it's too narrow?"

I stepped across the hole. "Looks pretty good. Maybe a couple more inches down."

And we went back to it. My Father in-law, was talking stories of Lucy and when they got her, and how crazy she was, and how sweet she was, and how she loved to lay on her belly, and how she would squeal as if she was telling you how good she felt. All as we kept pulling out more and more rocks.

"Music man?" the bartender called me.


"Did you pick?"

"Just a few more." I took another drink feeling the glass against my hand. "Almost done."


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Feb 11, 2016

I'm Fighting Myself. Time.

I'm fighting myself. All the time. The things that I want to do and the things I can do.
rene villanueva. writer.
When I was younger I never cared much for my time. I had a fantasy of dying by 26 when I was teenager. But that mark has passed, and I'm happier for it. Not in an existence way. Just what did I know about time at 14? I also had fantasies of being a great poet, or novelist. But who knows why the way those things turn. 


Now I have so much. And every second seems precious. 

Every day I try to create. To move forward. To see things differently. To grow myself. Every moment a chance I will only get once. And how inspiring and how terrifying. 

Time is delicate that way. And impenetrable. 

I'm trying hard to be present. To take these moments in. And I'm still full of ideas. I'm writing the third script for The Weekend Playlist and I'll be recording those and editing them tonight. But there's more. I want to go to the movies. I want to sleep. I want to eat a good meal. 

Something funny hit me this morning.

I was on my morning walk going to the studios. 

A little more than three years ago I took the walk on my own. Headphones. Sunlight. The birds and the air. Then somewhere during there and now, I got companion. 

And my morning walk changed.

At first I carried him. He rested against my chest. So light and easy to hold. He could nap laying across my forearm. Watching the trees pass over him and the across his face. And the music I could sing to him. And we could share the mornings.

Then he got bigger and he was a two arm hold. And we made a ruckus. Singing on the walk. Naming everything as we went. Mailbox. Tree. Grass. Dog. Bird. Octagon. We could listen to music on my phone and he plays drums on my head. And we laugh. And yell. And bark.

Then today he wanted to walk on his own. He wanted to stop and explore a patch of grass looking for ants. He didn't care to get to the studio. He wanted to sing his own songs. He wanted me to listen.  He wanted to turn. And run. And stop. He wanted to find a squirrel as it raced over head on a power line. 

Then after the first street he got tired, and I carried him again in my arms the rest of the way. And again we named things. The neighbors bamboo. The cars. And the colors. The stopped and watched the chickens.

But there was a moment. It means everything. It means change. It was the future. And I saw so many great and terrifying things. What do I know of Time?


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Feb 4, 2016

Savage II - Lost on the Idyll Green

What does Idyll Green mean?

It's an unusual name, but I am anything but usual. And to understand it you have to go back to just after the release of our single Savage (see previous post here).

I had been walking around New York feeling a little depressed, even though we had recently hit the highest mark of our success yet, though I should've been at my happiest.

For a moment, I got the feeling the road had disappeared from under me. 

As if I was falling. 

As if I was disappearing in the crowds. 

As if I had forgotten why I came here in the first place and New York ate away the last of me.Those thoughts for me come all the time, and it's a terrible spiral to fall into.

I came to a small square. Not much more than 10 ft by 10 ft. And a bench with a couple. Older than me but sweet. 

They sat close together. She had her arm around her girl. Coffee at their feet. Talking as the cars, and noise, swam around them. 

I walked past moaning my own thoughts in my head. Feeling the weight of my obsessiveness bury into my chest. Bad thoughts breed bad thoughts. But sometimes they give me a poem for my trouble.

I turned the corner around them. And I entered a small patch of sunlight. A brief patch of warmth that rushed across my face.

And noticed, very briefly, the soft movement of flowers. 

A bouquet. Yellow petals surrounded by lush green leaves, and something gentle mixed in their like babies-breath, though I'm not a botanist I make no promises, wrapped together in brown paper and yarn, they danced against each other in her lap.  

And from there my eyes drew up to her face. Small heart shaped. Framed by her dark black bob and bangs. I saw the smudged makeup. The tracks of tears she had been crying early. And in that moment, I heard these words.

Hope you like it.

Savage II - Lost on the Idyll Green
Never has my truth
been so hard
like then
when I saw
between the mirror and window, no difference
I went to the great city
        who hung gold-like pride down their necks
        who lashed strapped studded collars
        who pierced amber flesh with smiles
        who wore diamond eyes of ambition around heavy fingers
        who tried holding everything, and had nothing

I wanted more, over broken bus and city shouts, than the driving song of death
Never has my truth
felt so obscured
like then
when I walked it every day
drank it
ate it
and didn't know the taste
I went to a small park
        the draped vines
        the lush veil
        the soft-set bed of June
        the wide field
        the cradling valley

And heard a heavenly noise, of heavenly things
Never has my truth
been so clear
like then
when a birth right
of an open mind
planted and grew
lost on the Idyll Green
I went to her, as she welcomes everyone
       the grace in her step
       the truth in her turn
       the singing indescribable
       the numbered dew-drops
       the silver and gold like humility she wore
       and knew there was nothing more than everything about her


check out more including a free song here: youtube.com/c/idyllgreen

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