Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 13...

Today is Summer’s birthday. She would be 34.

I’ve been writing all day. Even logged into dumbass Facebook for a post. But I don’t have a definitive word. Maybe that’s a good thing. More records, more plays, more chapters of the work-in-progress memoir.

I was so blessed to spend every birthday of hers, once I knew her, with her. The first in Boston, when she was doing Stoppard’s Rock n Roll. She loved that job and the cast and the (double) role. There was snow and Obama had just won. I cooked dinner and baked a cake and kept things warm in the oven (on low) in the cozy little apartment The Huntington had settled her into. I saw the show that night for like the 9th time. We’d sneaked into a dressing room (not hers!) earlier, made out and then had a nap (!) Cheeky. She grabbed my first iPhone out of my hands and put herself in as the inaugural contact simply under that name “Cheeky”. She signed off most emails with that, “Your Redhead” or simply “Always”. That girl. That irrepressible, irreplaceable girl…

Meanwhile, yeah - Boston 2008. We came home to the hissing radiators, warmed up. I gave her dinner and her present and we watched some Colbert (her fav) on my old (then new) MacBook. We made love and she curled up asleep with me, her sweet little head on my chest, one hand in mine, the other clutching, um, other stuff, her pretty little feet curled around my ankles.

To find her (she always said that she found me!) was the miracle of my life. It changed me. Her loss - from fatal traumatic brain injury after an accidental fall - has changed me, too.
I went to a Choral Evensong tonight in midtown at St Thomas. If you go early, you see the choir wander in for a quick spot-rehearsal. I got there early. So early that I saw an etching in the stone there that I had never been close enough to witness. I posted this a minute ago. It read “Grief is the price we pay for Love”. The attribution is Queen Elizabeth II. Fuck… Yeah. I guess, that couldn’t be too much more damn resonant.

There’s a fuckload more to say. But that’s just my job. That’s my life without Summer. To bear witness. I’ll be posting a link again to the double-record because that’s what I got just now.
Meantime, my little sweetheart, my best friend, my true love, my little gingersnap, my treasure, my love, my life, my everything - Happy Birthday. I love you forever. And I will see you on the Other Side in the Beautiful New Place very soon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Always be with me...

I feel like hell. Woke up feeling flu-ish and cold with the changing seasons. And something’s fucked up with my neck. Can’t turn my head fully without pain. Went looking for some tiger balm but couldn’t find it, so settled in at my desk with the first cup of coffee. A half an hour later when I went back to the kitchen for a second cup, this little red heart was on the counter. I have no earthly idea where it came from. I live alone now, Summer’s things and hundreds of pictures of her covering every space of wall. This heart just appeared. I have no earthly idea because its appearance is ethereal. Hi, sweetheart.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

In dreams (cont'd)...

Dreamt last night that I was in Summer's old apartment and cleaning in a frenzy because she was on her way home after being away (I don't know where) all this while. Looked up at the clock and figured I had just enough time to either take a quick shower or run down to the corner and buy her a dozen roses. I headed out for the flowers. And then woke up...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Endless Summer, indeed...

Summer, even tho’ a Cali girl, wasn’t particularly a fan of the Beach Boys. Part of it is a generational thing, of course, but she did love plenty of 60’s music (an early gift when we had just met and were in rehearsals for “Tir na nOg”, was her handing off the entire DVD set of The Beatles Anthology to me in a Safeway bag because I’d made some obscure Harrison reference) and there are pictures of her as a teenager in the 90’s totally kitted out in hippie gear with her girlfriends. Summer’s tastes (and mine) ran to DCFC and Bon Iver and The National and Low and Goldfrapp and Radiohead and Fever Ray and Beach House - the people who influenced our own music. No, what cemented the Beach Boys for me in thinking of Summer was firstly, her doing the first major production outside B’way & London of Stoppard’s play “Rock n Roll”. It was a long gig and hugely successful, a co-production between SF’s ACT and Boston’s Huntington, she was brilliant and grateful and I saw it a dozen times and they used some Brian Wilson in the show. Further, I was always trekking back n forth to see her on Virgin America and they had those great early tracks on their mp3 player (why doesn’t any other airline do this? It’s brilliant). Finally, a confirmed, dyed in the wool New Yorker, I had my chest blown open by the unadulterated, ten billion kilowatt LOVE that emanated from Summer’s very being. She put a thousand thousand G’s of California in my soul. I need her. I am broken. But that is an unimpeachable fact. And that is why even if it hurts like murder, it seems the right thing to do - listening to this when it came upon me tonight and over and over and weeping (“we could be married/and then we’d be happy” ) - because I know little sweetheart, that you are with me, however ethereal, and that I will be with you again forever and soon. To paraphrase a spoken word friend of mine “never be ashamed to cry for that girl”. Love you forever, little sweetie, little best friend… xo-m

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Down on the road...

Having an unbearably sad day and finally made myself go for a long walk. 30 blocks outta my way to get a pound of coffee at Fairway. The guy there asked me about my sharpie tattoo. It happens. I told him the story and he asked if he could take a picture of it, much to the bemusement of the couple sidling up for a half pound of Italian. When I got home, as I iced the rehabbing heel, I thought to have a look at something- this clip of Joe Strummer on David Letterman.

This and the show I went to at Irving Plaza were his final appearances in NYC before his sudden, untimely death (of an undiagnosed "congenital heart defect") just before Xmas in 2002. I was flying to London on an overnight and got the news after landing when DJ Krispy met me at Heathrow. Later we went down to Ladbrooke Grove tube station and watched his funeral cortege pass with hundreds of other fans in the rain.

The first time I found this clip on YouTube, I immediately sent it to Summer and we were both in tears. It's one of the most soulful, moving, ethereal performances I've ever seen. I hadn't watched it in a while. Maybe not since The Worst Thing Ever...

"Let the Summer time sun fall on the apple.
Fall on the apple...
Lord, here comes a Buick '49
Black sheep of the angels
Riding down the line
We think there is a soul (we don't know...)
That soul is hard to find down on the road.
Down on the road
We know every road..."

My angel knows. Can't wait to be with you. So very lonely waiting here down on the road, down on the road...

Monday, July 8, 2013


Every day I wake is one I don't want. Going to bed now and all I want is to find myself back with Summer. This life without her is empty.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some Holy Ghost...

Amazing, soulful, moving, perfect Low show last night in Brooklyn with Jason and Renee. After, we waited on the sidewalk until most everyone had gone and they were turning out the lights. Alan came out carrying his amp and I walked up and quietly spoke with him for a few moments to tell him how much their music has meant to Summer and I and all of us. He fucking hugged me. What a lovely man. God bless him and Mimi. Some music, that was "our" music, is just too painful to listen to anymore. But I will never stop going to Low shows. I know you were there, sweetheart. I could feel you. And we spoke your name like prayer...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I get so very sad, my sweetheart, so very sad and miss you with all my heart and soul. I'm going out tonight with Jason & Renee to see Low play in Brooklyn and I remember how you and I had tickets to see them on my birthday that year but instead I found myself speaking at your memorial. I get so sad, my little sweetheart, and I miss you with all my heart and soul. I pray for us every day - that you are safe in The Beautiful New Place and that my time will come soon and I can be with you again and forever. I get so sad, sweetheart, and miss you with all my heart and soul. Please guide me and speak to me and come to me in dreams. Help me do the right thing. And please come and take me home to you soon. I get so sad, my little sweetheart, and I miss you with all my heart and soul...

Monday, May 20, 2013

More, my little sweetheart!

Ground Control adds a feature about us, again with wonderful words about you, my love! Excerpt here:  

"...the story of how (Of Love and Loss) came to life, where the band has been, who they are, what they have done, and specifically, what this new album represents - a bridge of memory from life and love in the real and present world into a tribute to memorialize their tragically lost friend, band member Summer Serafin, well, it’s sound is now something that has gotten under my skin. Michael and Summer were soul-mates. They met each other as cast members of a play and became inseparable. Summer joined the band and is present singing inside many of the tracks, but then she is also a presence inside the CD. Seemingly inconsequential captures of the giggling of a mermaid or the humming of an angel, bits of dialogue caught in the studio, even a phone message she left Michael capture her spirit in an almost haunting way. You have to listen to it to see what I mean..."

All for you, my little sweetheart!



Talking about my sweetheart...

Oh, little sweetie. Such a nice review of our record and almost all about you! Love that! Ground Control Magazine gives Of Love and Loss big ups calling it: "taut, emotional, urgent and altogether haunting. A testament of love". But best of all, this quote about you (from my interview with them) my love:

"“We just wanted to be together all the time and I just wanted to write for her. And she was so fucking magic intuitive. I mean, you can hear it on the tracks. Especially the one that closes Disc two, the second version of “Moulding,” which is essentially a rehearsal with me playing through my practice amp and the both of us singing a new song and the whole thing recorded just for reference on my iPhone. For reference. Thank god I have it. Not just because I fucking miss her, but – and this is why it’s on the album and this is why it closes the album – she follows everything I do with the most incredible sensitivity. Her harmony is unusual and perfect – this is why I say Low and X, she’s like Exene or Mimi – and she goes from loud or quiet, light head voice to deep chest voice not just when she hears me go but in the exact instant that I do. It’s not a moment later, it’s right fucking on it. Like telepathy. She knows where I’m going before I do, even. And all of her stuff on the record is like that. And we did those parts in one four-hour session because we didn’t ever imagine that we wouldn’t be back to do more. And that’s also why there’s so much outtake spoken word stuff of hers – like "talkback" – on the record. If Summer was here, there wouldn’t be any need for it – and she’d never allow it, probably – but I just wanted people to get the most visceral sense they possibly could of what a delight it was to be in a room with her. And another thing, it wasn’t just me bringing her along. She turned me on to some amazing music that I frankly did not even fucking know about. Goldfrapp for one. And you can hear Allison in Summer’s vocals – “No Answer,” especially, which we wrote
sitting on my futon in New York. I wish... I wish like hell she was here. Not only because she was the love of my life and my best friend and my partner but because she made this band amazing and I wanted to make records with her forever.”


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Yoga with the cosmos...

About a month ago, at the onset of this heel injury, I looked for some online yoga classes that one can watch and practice along with from a laptop.  I bookmarked the homepage for a site called Do Yoga With Me, which offers dozens (if not hundreds) of pre-recorded classes at all levels. Later, I came back and bookmarked a specific one called "From Burnout to Bliss", that looked about right - a little over an hour in duration for beginner/intermediate. Finally, I actually started doing the workout last weekend and have been continuing each day since. I think it's helping.

I liked the instructor, a very soft-spoken young woman who sometimes would lightly giggle, a bit self-conscious being filmed, but lovely and very competent. I noticed after, during the credits, that it said it had been filmed at a yoga studio "in beautiful Victoria, BC." So... there was the first "oh, wow" moment.

A day or so later, I thought I'd go back to the search page on Do Yoga With Me and see if, later, when I'm ready for a challenge, there are any advanced classes offered by the same woman. Her name is Nicky C. Jones. I clicked on something and it took me away from the Do Yoga site  to her personal yoga/healing  site. Here's what I first found:

"Before I say anything else, I want to acknowledge that you are probably here because you lost some one you loved. I’m very sorry for your loss. I recognize how hard it must be for you, and I praise you for being here and taking a step towards using your loss as a catalyst for personal transformation."
I didn't have any idea what she was talking about at first. I just came over from another yoga site but she was talking about loss. So, I clicked on her "About Me" page. Here's an (rather long) excerpt:

"I originally discovered yoga 13 years ago as a cure for ‘dis-ease’. During difficult times, Yoga became a necessary therapy to bring balance back into my life. Grief has very much been a part of my personal journey, and because of this I feel called to help others move through their own transformative process...

That’s the formal bio.  But here’s the real deal. I know that grief is an extremely personal journey and since you are trusting me with your heart. It’s only fair that I give you a piece of mine…
In my 33 years on this planet, I have journeyed  through the losses of fifteen loved ones.  For now, I’ll tell you about the two most significant ones.When I was 24 I was living the life of most ‘twenty-somthings’.  I worked as a server while attending the University of Victoria and saved any extra to finance my ever-increasing travel bug.  I was fun-loving, adventurous, and also slightly self sabotaging in my ‘party girl’ ways. On Christmas Eve, my boyfriend (and love of my life) was diagnosed with Liver Cancer.  That January, I dropped out of school to become his primary caregiver (along with his beautiful mother).  After six months of doctors, hospitals, surgeries, and alternative therapies, he lost his battle…And I felt like I lost mine.

That was the same year that my mother (who growing up was the text-book definition of ‘soccer-mom’) was thrown into a Costa Rican Jail for overstaying her visa and having an expired passport. I travelled to Costa Rica two times in a desperate attempt that there was something that I could do.  She was later deported.  A few months after she returned home, she took her own life.

My grief was overwhelming.  I felt like I was sinking and I knew in my heart that if I was going to get through this, I had to swim.  Hard. So, having done late-night research on every type of alternative therapy imaginable in hopes of saving my boyfriend’s life, I started using what I learned to save my own.  And what I found was that I resonated most with those therapies that had a basis in energy and ‘whole-person wellness’ and those therapists who were the most down-to-earth.

I found a Yoga Teacher, a Reiki Master, and Intuitive Healer and a Thai Massage Teacher all of who embodied this quality and who I love and am so grateful for.  I returned to the University of Victoria and finished my Bachelor’s of Education.  I even taught for a year at the BC International School in Cairo, Egypt.
I believe that Love is the most important thing there is. And that letting go into Love is the only thing we truly need. I’m a crier. I mean, I cry. A lot! Once I even cried while watching the movie ‘Dodge Ball’.  Sometimes I’m still hard on myself for this as it often feels like a weakness.  But, deep down I know that it is really a sign of great strength. I also use swear words. Like a trucker at times. I’ve been working on changing this for years.  One day I may need to accept that I come from a family of loggers and sometimes they just slip out. I was once told that ‘kind’ is my word.  I believe that all beings are kind underneath all of their ‘stuff’.  Straight-up kindness without expectation is very important to me.

 The “C” in my name stands for Crystal.  It snowed the day I was born and later when the sun was shining it looked like millions of tiny crystals.  My Mom named me after the snow.  I like this because it shows that she, like me, also had a lil’ hippy in her heart. My work is my passion. It is an extension of my heart.  I truly believe that if I can do it. So can you! "

There's more but you get the gist. And maybe see why I was so "mind-blown" with the discoveries as they unfolded. The Victoria connection, first. Then just the entire thing: I randomly (is anything truly "random"?, I'm beginning to ask myself) hit upon a yoga site and then randomly select a class from its myriad offerings. I wind up with an instructor born the same year as Summer and who exactly like myself lost both her mother and the Love of her Life in the same year - out of that making it her mission to teach (free!) yoga and try to help others. Who believes in love (sound like anyone we know?) and values above all kindness.

Summer, who was always off to a yoga class in a minute, and often dressed for one (when she wasn't dolled up or in her pj's with her hair up), in cute, comfy yoga pants and usually an even cuter t-shirt, I know is, as ever, guiding my better actions. "Why don't you do some yoga, sweetheart? I think it'd be good for you.". Yes, my love. Right, as always. Thank you, my little gingersnap. Love you forever.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Every place, every song, everything...

My mom, I remember, really loved the song "Leaving on a Jet Plane". The Peter, Paul and Mary version. She had the 45. For the last several hours, I've had the lines-

"Every place I go, I'll think of you
Every song I sing, I'll sing for you"
(to say nothing of the next...
"When I come back, I'll wear your wedding ring")

-in my head. And even just writing those words now, I'm weeping. And I think that is kind of what my life is - two years constantly on the verge of tears- and that is entirely as it should be. Because- stay with me here- that makes me think of a wonderful line from Karen Trott's great monologue, "The Spring Hill Mine Singing Disaster" where she's talking about riding in the backseat of the family station wagon and hearing something on the radio about President Kennedy shortly after the assassination and starting to sob and her dad turns around to see if she's okay and she says "I'm sorry" and he replies "Don't you ever be ashamed to cry for that man". And that is exactly how I feel. All for you little sweetheart. All for you and always will be...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cali in the soul...

Mr. Punkrock is watching a doc on the making of the meant-to-be-hated Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours", partly because it was the first music Summer's best girlfriend, Danya, wanted to hear in the days after her tragic passing and also because I know this is the way, however, searing to live - as an New Yorker with your heart cleft in twain by California. You need both - the tough as fuck NYC shit and the soul, all sunshine, all ready to be hurt so badly you might never be able again to draw breath. This is where I live. And I make so many mistakes, my little sweetheart. So many mistakes. But just, to love. To love. Even Joey Ramone knows that much... xo-m

Monday, March 25, 2013

"She Hears You"

So, I have another little story for you. I realize most of you don’t have a lot of truck in this praying business and to he honest, I’m not exactly sure where it’s coming from (aside from deep inside me) but I could certainly be doing worse things with my time (and have). It’s been a while (mostly because of the play taking up all my time) but I have liked going to the Choral Evensong at St Thomas on 5th Ave & 53rd. It’s a magnificent cathedral in the middle of midtown and was at first my attempt at replicating the even more ancient and awesome experience I had frequenting St Paul’s evensong in London. But I haven’t been in a while, probably since Christmas. This is Holy Week, tho’ and so they’ll be pulling out all the stops, reaching for every high note, lighting every candle, and I’m gonna hit it Wed, Fri and Saturday. Meantime, and this is actually what I wanted to tell you, there is a far far more modest little church on 51st street just around the corner from my apartment. It’s mostly an Hispanic congregation, I think. And across the street is a little rectory where the nuns live. There’s a sweet little garden next door, beautiful flowers abound and a statue of The Virgin Mary is at its center. I can’t remember exactly when I started doing this but every time I pass, I stop and say the same little prayer- for Summer, to keep her safe in The Beautiful New Place and for our reunion there forever and soon. I go by there a lot. It’s the way to and back from the theatre. It’s the way to and back from my run. It’s the way to and back from D’Agostino’s. I stop every time, both ways, close my eyes, gripping the black iron grating, and say my little prayer. Tonight on my way to Dags, I stopped, as always. The snow was turning to rain. Just as I finished, one of the young nuns came out of the door with a couple of garbage bags on a hand truck. As I turned to go, I saw her beaming at me. “She hears you”, she said. My heart leapt. “Thank you, ” I replied. “Happy Holy Week”. “God bless you, ” she said. She hears you. I think she meant Mary but I’ll take it all in all...

Monday, March 18, 2013


My Love. My Light. My gingersnap. My little sweetheart. My conscience. My protector. My soulmate. My treasure. My true one. My critic. My holy collaborator. My trusted confident. My partner. My only one. My truth. My best friend. My everything... At that hour in which she passed from this life to the Beautiful New Place, two years ago tonight and we stumbled into the night weeping, we looked up at the sky and the clouds parted to reveal a celestial event known as the perigee-syzygy "Supermoon", when the moon, earth and sun align, the moon passing in its closest orbit to the earth - a phenomenon that occurs once every 17-20 years. Once in a generation. Yup. Once in a lifetime. Love you forever, my gorgeous girl. Until that day. Until that day...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Last Night...

Two years ago tonight for the last time I laid down beside my little sweetheart and fell asleep with her head on my shoulder, her little hand in mine, her sweet little feet curled around my ankles. And in the morning I woke with her in my arms and kissed her, so grateful, and told her I loved her and even though we had to go to rehearsal, we didn't get outta bed right away. And it was so lovely. And we couldn't know that it would be the very last time. For now, my sweetheart. Until I can be with you again and forever. Until that day. Until that day.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Just heard that Summer's mom is flying all the way across the country to see closing night of the play. It is such an unbelievably kind and hugely generous thing for her to do that I am in tears. I realise that I am often in tears but still. So grateful and excited. Doubtless relatedly, yesterday after I wept and wept and wept at my shrink session and then, when it was over, fell to the floor in the waiting room and wept some more, I walked back across the park, past the Met, through a tunnel where the usual sax dude was blowing some jazzy number as I passed and he suddenly broke into "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". And yet again I understood that not only is Summer around and full of love and concern for me, for us, but she also retains her wonderful sense of humour and her intense concentration: "Michael. Sweetheart. I'm here. Please get it." Yes, my love. A thousand times, yes...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another day...

Just back from grabbing another (entirely ill-advised) six pack of delicious NoCal (Petaluma) beer, Lagunitas IPA. Show in the homestretch. NPR "Studio 360" re-broadcast today shortly before I head to theatre. Tonight, as often, just drained from what I pull out of myself to do this, because however incongruous or inappropriate, I only do anything that touches my soul to honour and name and leave my bloody stain for my Miracle Girl. I waste a couple hours watching a basketball game I don't care about and then, as I say, venture out for more takeout brew I don't at all need. Some guy is shouting somewhere. People are disturbed and rush by. I spot him as I return. He's homeless and alone and leaning against a wall. I hand him five bucks and say "take care of yourself, brother" because the kindest, most wonderful girl who ever walked the earth once loved me. He examines the bill and, I think, thanks me. I can't be sure because his words are indecipherable. But the Miracle Girl plucks a chord in my soul. Do the right thing. Someday, someday so soon. Together forever. No more pain...xxoo

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lovely lovely Summer and lovely lovely George Martin...

My sweetheart, soon after I met her, the second week of rehearsal, I think, after one of our first conversations, once she knew I liked the Beatles, brought me the entire Beatles Anthology (in a plastic Andronico's carrier bag, I believe) the next day on indefinite lend. If you only saw The Anthology on US TV, you have not seen it at all. In the same way that Capitol fucked up their first 5 records by editing and re-sequencing them, ABC cut, edited and jammed it all into 3 "episodes". The Anthology, as conceived and created by George, Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Neil Aspinall, is a series of 8 perfect hourish-long short films covering a specific period of the band's career. The first time I saw it in my modest Magic Theatre-subsidized basement apartment in Bernal Heights it was a revelation.

So, anyway... last week I decided to splurge and buy myself a copy. It arrived yesterday and I'm watching the first disc again now. It reminds me so much of Summer and our earliest days together, falling in love. It's all great. But a moment passed just now that I had to write about. It's at the end of Part 2. The band is in Paris for the first time. The gigs are not going over well. They stump back to the hotel, decamping grumpily to the bar. Then news comes via telegram that "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" has just topped the charts in the US. The film cuts back and forth between people's memories of that moment. They come to lovely, lovely George Martin and he says:

" ... And Brian rang me about half-past one in the morning. He said "I know you won't mind being woken up". I said, well I wasn't asleep, anyway. He said, Well, we've just heard from America... we're number one!" (leaning back in his studio chair, huge intake of breath, the guileless smile of an 8 year old child coming over the face of a kindly 70 year old man, remembering) Fantastic! He said, "Do you want to come round?". Not 'alf! So, I came round and we had a great... drink up. It was lovely. Super. We never went to bed that night..." 

Thank you lovely, George Martin. Thank you, lovely lovely Summer sweetheart.