Thursday, December 31, 2015

On New Years Eve Day

Visited the angel (where I know you alight to comfort me, you're everywhere but do alight when I visit, I know) to bring flowers and say a prayer and read and lay down on the stone and talk to you, today, my little sweetheart. After, I let myself into the house with the key around my neck, to pick up the mail and water the garden and I sat and wrote in my notebook while sitting on your bed, everything, the treasure of my life so familiar and around me, I could almost touch it- our lost life. And then I saw these. How did I never notice before a pride (a "dazzle?" a "flock", a "rainbow"?) of unicorns on the ledge of the side window above your nightstand? It's New Years Eve Day and I listen for you. Let it all come. Let it all come to be, my angel.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Sunday After Christmas

Little sweetheart, for the last three years your mom and I have had something of a tradition. We drive down to San Francisco on the Sunday after Christmas, have brunch at The Top of the Mark and then walk across California Street to Grace Cathedral.

The first two years, I think I told you, that amazing art installation, "Graced by Light - The Ribbon Project", by Anne Patterson was there. Last year there was also a really neat Christmas tree that was decorated with white paper that had been folded into little birds and when you got up close you could see that they had people's prayers written on them. I wrote one for you and put it in the branches myself.

This year none of those things were going on but we walked around quietly and looked at the big frescoes painted there. Taken together, they sorta tell the story of California and San Francisco and the church itself. It goes around the entire massive walls on either side. And I'd looked at all of it before but I today I noticed the face of a little girl in a crowd of painted figures. She reminded me so much of you, my little sweetheart, and I felt the tears begin to come.

Later, we sat down near the front. The organist was practicing for the service later that night. He seemed to be working on the tricky bits, starting a phrase and then stopping, the great reverberations echoing throughout the place, bouncing off the high arched ceilings. I recognized one of the works. It was a Christmas song I quite like. It always begins the 9 Lessons and Carols service that the BBC broadcasts each Christmas Eve from Kings College Cambridge. It was Once in Royal David City.

I kinda know the words or at least I kinda think I do kinda. I picked up a hymnal and I noticed they didn't have any titles. But they're all sorted by occasion. Like Easter or Advent or All Soul's. I found the section that was for Christmas and looked through that until I found the song. There's several verses and a couple of them I'm pretty sure are rarely if ever sung. One verse, the fourth, really caught my eye. Remember, little sweetheart, how I told you about that short meditation I was asked to write for Good Friday? It very much reminded me of that:

Verse 4
For He is our lifelong pattern
Daily, when on earth he grew
He was tempted, scorned, rejected
Tears and smiles, like us, He knew
Thus He feels for all our sadness
And He shares in all our gladness

We stayed for a while after. A brass quartet arrived and the organist went through the music with them. We listened to all of the rehearsal, walking up quietly and slipping into the choir stalls. It was really wonderful.

I feel awfully lonely for you, my little sweetheart. Sometimes I really don't think I can bear it. But little moments like this help. When I hear nice music or read something so resonant - I'm glad I began going to those Taize candlelight services back home in NYC - or I see something like that figure in the mural that calls to me and lets me know you're somehow near. Thank you, my little sweetheart. Please, always be with me. With love forever...

Friday, December 25, 2015

On Christmas Day

My little sweetheart, my darling girl, it's Christmas Day and I'm with your parents. In a moment, we're packing up all the gifts under the tree and getting Gidget into your father's arms and driving over to see your brother and Michelle and the kids and have dinner and watch the endless games of Christmas Day NBA basketball and maybe by the end assemble on the lawn and gaze up into the sky to see the first full moon at Christmas in 38 years, mindful that you are, however unseen, so very near, far more near than can even be imagined.

But before all that, I just want to set down here the words that you wrote to me along with the beautiful scarf you knitted, for our first Christmas, some years ago, that I know by heart, that I recited at the end of my speech to and for you at your memorial (held incredibly on my birthday that year), that I think of and often speak aloud not only on this day, but many many days, to feel you near me. But as it is Christmas Day, let it today be foremost.

Thank you, my love, for finding and loving and helping me, even now from the remove of The Forever. Thank you for these words I hold so close and dear to my heart and soul:

My Dearest Michael,

I’ve been working on this in the green room and backstage since we came to Boston. I’d drape it around my neck to keep warm while knitting in the dark of the freezing wings. The cast is decisively in favor of the striped color combination.

It’s Christmas day, and I’m wearing my pajamas. I’m in my P.J.’s even if you’re reading this when the sun has set. Ryan is making another bourbon and coke even if you’re reading this as the sun rises. My Dad is reading aloud shocking statistics about religion or politics, my Mom is spraying perfume on the dog, and me...? I am missing you. Maybe one day we’ll spend Christmas together.

Coy says “You are where you’re meant to be”, and while I like that idea, I know, far too well, what it feels like to be in a world where everything feels wrong – where everything is wrong. You have also been to that place. And as the world spins on its own axis, people are lost in their own needs and trials. We falter blindly, and strive endlessly. But no matter where you are, whether you should be there or not, and no matter who is present... know that you are a treasure in your own right. If the chest is buried, the key is lost, or the map stolen, it doesn’t matter; it doesn’t change the fact that it’s inside you. I just see what’s there. You carry it with you. What’s hidden can always be found.

I love you.
Your Gingersnap,

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Two For Tuesday

Little sweetheart, we were on the radio twice yesterday on two different shows. First on Liz Berg's great noon-3pm slot on WFMU. She opened her show with our soundscape shoegaze version of In the Bleak Midwinter. Then WFMU's legendary Irene Trudel opened her penultimate set of the evening with our dreamcore version of Silent Night - the one that has all that neat spoken word stuff of yours - in her 9pm-midnight program. It marked our 11th and 12th times on the station this year and 2nd and 7th times on Liz and Irene's shows, respectively, little sweetheart. Both tunes are from our holiday album, BPXmas which is turning out to be the best selling album in our catalog on iTunes. Sweetheart, you're on the radio! At Christmas! Love you forever.

Monday, December 21, 2015

In a little while...

I'm packed and ready to go to the airport, little sweetheart. I'm flying tonight to be in NorCal for Christmas with your parents. Your mom is picking me up when my flight gets into SMF, quite late, well after midnight.

I love being with your folks, my sweetheart. But it's still always so terribly sad somehow flying because I remember how I used to to come see you.

How excited you would be! I always took an early flight to SFO, at six or seven in the morning Eastern Time to get to you before noon. And you would often text or call me to say that you were too excited even to sleep. No one ever loved me, as you, my darling. No one ever blurted out such unguarded pure things. No one ever, from the very start, so touched my soul and healed my heart as unselfishly as you.

When I was doing the play last month, I went into my castmate, Gina's, room one day to read my memorial speech for you. She listened quietly, we both were in tears by the end, and she said, "what a loss!" as she hugged me.

My little, sweetheart, life is so very lonely without you. I'm trying to do my best but I just long so to be with you again and forever. May it be soon, my love. Will you come collect me, just as you did when I would take a cross-continental flight like I am tonight? May I wake to find myself in some new, bright land, stepping out into the Beautiful Light and seeing you turn the corner in your Blue Prius, pulling to the curb of the Kiss and Ride, your beaming angelic face now seen through the windscreen as you park, jumping out of the driver's side and leaping into my arms? May it be soon? In just a little while?

It's nearly Christmas, my little sweetheart and I long to be there, where you are. With all my love...

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cupcakes and Cocktails (complete)

Cupcakes & Cocktails

The first time I was with you outside of rehearsal, little sweetheart, was the night you invited the entire cast and company over to your place after for a “cupcakes & cocktails” party. It was a beautiful, generous, lovely and, as I was to learn, typical Summerlove gesture. In advance, you’d gone out and bought a set of gorgeous vintage cocktail glasses – highballs and those iconic parfait-style ones – and spent hours baking and frosting the detailed and delicious cupcakes yourself.

That night, after rehearsal finished up, you gave everyone printed directions to your apartment in the Inner Sunset. It was dark when we left the theatre and as I actually had use of a car lent me for the week, we walked across the parking lot and you directed me to follow you in your famously battered blue Prius from the Marina to your home. I dutifully tailed you down Marina Boulevard to Old Mason, past Chrissy Field until we were eventually tooling along the 101 and approaching the Golden Gate. I got confused. Didn’t you say you lived in the city? Where were we headed, Marin? A sign to the right alerted “Last Exit Before Bridge” and I watched as you abruptly made a 180 and descended into the twists and turns of the road that cuts through the Presidio.

After a few minutes of meandering through the heavy old-growth forest there at a stately pace, you finally pulled onto the shoulder, hitting your hazard lights, coming to a stop. Wondering where the hell we were and what on earth was going on, I pulled up behind you, got out and walked over to the driver’s side of your car. When you rolled down the window you were doubled over in delirious, infectious, wonderful gales of laughter. “I’m lost!” you managed to choke out between giggles. I couldn’t help laughing now, myself. I couldn’t help falling a little in love with you in that very moment – still pre-desire, a more brotherly love than a romantic one, I didn’t get it yet entirely, I simply adored you, felt something ancient and connected, felt I was somehow home just being in your presence. “Whaddya mean you’re lost?” I said. “Don’t you live here?” Another roar of giddy Summer laughter and, nearly hyperventilating, you reached for the GPS device you had stashed in the glovebox. Firing it up, a British woman’s robot voice came on (you’d customized the settings – you liked her voice better than the standard American robot default) and we got our bearings and set off again, this time in the right direction.

As we neared your neighborhood, I saw for the first time all the sights that would be become so familiar and now altogether lost – the Beautiful Life, that I was about to begin and even now feel I can nearly touch, with you. Through the heart of the city and then east toward the Sunset.  That little fork in the road, the Haight to the left, the park to the right. Past the ballfields and playgrounds, the green, rolling, gorgeous expanse of Golden Gate Park. The left turn off Lincoln onto 7th Avenue, nearing your home. UCSF and the hospital to the left, crossing the trolley tracks of the N-Judah. The little coffee place and Crepevine and all the charming spots we’d come to spend time in together there to the right, just blocks from your house. Sutro Tower and the hilly road toward the Mission rising in the distance ahead. Fog enveloping everything, cool and iconic and like stepping into a dream. Quite right.

I followed your car until it came to a stop at the right curb just shy of Kirkwood. I saw a garage door open as you got out and directed me, like one of those guys on the tarmac leading a 747 into its proper gate, to the narrow parking space reserved for your car in that tiny eight-car garage underneath your building.

There was something oddly timeless and inexplicably familiar about walking through the garage to the sidedoor leading out of the now sudden darkness of the basement, its illumination clicking off on a timer, and climbing the creaky wooden back stairs to your apartment on the third floor. Coming back in to the main stairwell from another sidedoor and onto the pale pink-tinted-off-white carpeted floor, the big mirror below in the foyer, the wide steps and tactile texture of the white stucco walls – it all seemed like I’d somehow been here before. I had the strongest sense of deju vu, my little sweetheart. Did I ever tell you that? And then reaching your door at the top of the steps and the end of the hall. The frosted glass and dark wood there customized, decorated with little decals and icons of your love and life – a red Routemaster double-decker London bus, a big pink and white heart bearing the slogan “Make Love, Not War”. We’re home.

Like all good parties, or maybe just the ones that I go to, we wound up in the kitchen. I loved how perfectly cozy it was. The little breakfast nook table along one wall, a couple of high spinner stools tucked underneath. All the sweet little touches of sundries decorating the periphery – your black and white Kit Kat Clock, eyes and tail synchronized in a tick-tock ticking, the vintage pin-up calendar by the refrigerator door, pretty curtains over the floor to ceiling shelf unit holding all your little “treats”. I liked the color of the room. The walls an inviting sun-bleached shade of yellow. And the absolutely exquisite and intricate tiling everywhere from floor to counter to sink and the window overlooking the Sunset itself, the Spanish mission-style roof of a lovely church in the near distance, the ocean visible from afar. I came to know that these warm and lovely touches were largely the work of your mother. And you spoke so proudly, so lovingly about her and your father. It was terribly effecting, my sweetheart, how clearly and unabashedly you loved your parents. I’d encountered the oddest phenomenon in the years before I met you – it was almost a point of pride in other people how quickly they would disavow their folks, keen to tell you how estranged they were, as if that were requisite to being independent or hip, some curious badge of honor. Refreshingly, that was not you. You loved your parents. They were accomplished and thoughtful, devoted to you and breathtakingly kind and generous to everyone you brought into your circle. It’s a bit shocking that that should be so extraordinary – that you would stand out as someone who didn’t routinely have to run-down your parents to assert your own validity somehow - but there it is. Thank god for them. And thank god for you.

I wasn’t drinking in those days. I’m not now, again. Although there was a time after your passing - “if not now, when?” I used to say, disconsolate, wishing only to perish – for a couple of years where I tried drowning myself in alcohol. I’m sober again, my sweetheart, as I was in those days with you. And that night, knowing that I didn’t drink you asked if I’d like a glass of milk. Of milk! Who would think of such a thing? Well, you would. You even joined me. You didn’t have a problem with drinking. Indeed, you didn’t believe that I did once you got to know me. “You’re not a alcoholic”, you said, eventually and more than once. “You should be able to drink with my family at Christmas or even just when you’re with me. You should be able to drink on those occasions – when you’re happy. When we’re together. Just don’t drink when you’re sad”. And like most everything, my darling, you are doubtless right. It’s just that now without you here, it’s not a good idea for me to. I’m often terribly sad. Maybe always now. I need to be careful. Have my wits about me. Listen carefully to intuit your invisible presence. I’ll be happy again, though. I’ll happy when I find you, as I know, as I so deeply feel and have faith that I will and forever.

But that first night, we drank milk, didn’t we sweetheart? We drank milk and ate a cupcake or two and listened to the Beatles because you knew we both liked them, what little you knew of me, what you’d learned, you employed because you wanted to make me comfortable and at ease and happy. No one ever went to such lengths for me from the very start, from the very very start. And we sat together now on one of the little couches in your living room, the rest of the party going on around us and we talked and talked.

There’s a poem by Mary Oliver, my sweetheart, called “Wild Geese”. “Tell me about despair”, she says, “Yours, and I will tell you mine.”. We did that night, my love. In just the year before, I had lost my mentor and friend, Curt and you had inexplicably, tragically lost your beloved big brother, Jesse, who had passed away without warning in his sleep. I think there may have been something a bit unmoored about us both, perhaps loss had left us both a bit adrift and floating among the shiny, noisy, unaware around us, we came to find each other. Don’t you think, my love?

Huddled there together that night in your living room, I think of it as our beginning. Nearly none of the cast turned up. And one of your neighbors, one you’d not even really known before you told me later, stayed on for sometime a bit beyond protocol and asked if she could take a few of the cupcakes with her to give to friends. I think that might’ve been around the time we took the cue to walk together downstairs, the back way, the secret staircase, to the little garage and outside.

We didn’t have our first kiss that night. It came a bit later. I can’t wait to tell that great story, my little sweetheart. But we didn’t kiss this night as we stood there with the door open on to the warm, clear beautiful San Franciscan late-winter night. You hugged me and we looked into each other’s eyes taking each other in unafraid and full of wonder. You helped air-traffic-control direct me out of the tight little parking space and you handed me your Garmen device and punched in all the info so I wouldn’t get lost trying to find my way home. I didn’t know it yet, exactly, but I had, my love. I had indeed finally finally found my way home. You had found me and here I was. Home.

Don’t you know that will always be the way of things, my gorgeous girl? No matter how much longer I may have to stagger on in this life without you, it is only for the home that is your bright spirit, I long. It is for you that my heart aches and my soul pines. You are my True Love and my True North. May your magnetic invisible presence guide me the rest of the way through this journey and take me to The Forever where you are.

On that February night that I think of as our beginning, your voice and kindness set me on my way safely back to the little room across the city from you in Bernal Heights. The little room you would come to visit soon and we would tell each other so much more and where we would truly come to fall and to fly, to fly, my love, as I long to fly to you now. I let myself in and settled down on the inch-thin futon on the floor there, thinking about the lovely evening and, you, my lovely new friend - a bit mysterious, so very kindhearted, deliciously witty, mindful and serious, too and impossibly beautiful. A bit more than a friend, it might seem. And so suddenly deeply dear to my heart. So very very dear, indeed.

And just then a text came through. And another in quick succession. Your first messages to me. “I forgot to send cupcakes home with you!” the first exclaimed. And the second, “I made the chocolate ones for you.” I replied quickly to thank you and say it was alright, you certainly didn’t have to do that, although it was terribly thoughtful. And you sent a reply, words that strike my heart even now with their breathtaking kindness, bringing tears to my eyes, my perfect love, my true one, my gorgeous girl, my little sweetheart. “Accept the things”, you wrote, “given with love”. Yes, my darling. Forever, yes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


4 months ago as I was leaving my grief counselor's office, I saw a little discarded green cutting in the wastebasket. I retrieved and carried it home, putting it carefully into a water glass where I've been nursing it ever since. Roots began to spring forth and finally, today, I cautiously planted it in a little pot, with pebbles at the bottom, gently packing potting soil around it, slightly untangling the knot of roots and finally watering with a steady mist from a spray can. I've never done anything like this before, little sweetheart. But I hope in all these years of Monday afternoons, weeping and speaking of you in that little room, that bringing this small leaf stem back to life brings me closer to you and where you are. Lets me feel your hand in all this from the closer-than-I-can-imagine Forever. With all my love...

Friday, December 11, 2015

"It's Christmas, Sweetheart" video

Little sweetheart, there's a new band video, our 10th. It went live last night. It's for the song "It's Christmas, Sweetheart" - the opening track on our holiday record BPXmas. When Daryl Darko Barnett interviewed us in Ground Control I told him about writing it - that I had the guitar part and was working on the lyric, singing "It's Christmas" over and over, when suddenly I heard the word "sweetheart" finish the line. I didn't think about it, it just came out of me like a transmission I was receiving, like my heart was a pair of rabbit ears antennae. And I burst into tears because I knew that was you helping me, chiming in from The Forever, chiming in from so much closer than I can imagine, to comfort and help and join me. Thank you, my love. It's Christmas, Sweetheart...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Great Heart

I'm so full of love and longing for you today, my little sweetheart. And I'm just thinking of your Great Heart. How grateful I am that you found me. How unselfishly you loved me. You are the kindest and most courageous person I have ever know or ever will. My sweetheart. My soulmate. My best friend. My hero. My angel. I love you, my gorgeous girl. Forever. Forever.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


It’s my second to last day in NorCal, little sweetheart. I go back to NYC tomorrow night on an overnight flight that will get me to JFK at 6:30am. Gah! I’ve not been home much since September - first the play out of town and then this trip. Yesterday was a great day. Beautiful, sunny and warm here and I drove down to SF to meet Greer Sinclair - a woman our producer wanted me to talk to - from the SF Art Institute who the band may collaborate with for the alt-theatre adaptation of Of Love and Loss. She is studying film and may do projections for us. She really liked the music and script and our idea and those videos (remember, sweetheart, I made a series of music videos - 9 in all - for songs from Of Love and from Angels from last July?) and she showed me some of her own work which uses a lot of atmospheric and silent movie type public domain footage. I think you'd really like it, my love. It’s very beautiful and kind of perfect. And I really liked her. I think she’s very sympatico. I think we’re on the same page. We’ll see how it goes, but possibly our next step with this will to be do something out here either in SF or LA.

Anyway, I drove down in the rental car to meet her in North Beach but I parked over by the Marina - where we first met, my darling - so I could look at a performance/gallery space over there. I looked around for a little while. I went up to where the theatre was and the stairs where you and I sat one afternoon between shows and shared a chicken pot pie I'd brought from home and warmed up in the microwave backstage. I walked all around and looked at the water and the boats going by and then climbed the long steep stairs into the park and beyond and began walking the hilly route over to meet Greer at this neat little cafe. I forget how beautiful and heartbreaking a place SF is, my darling. Just gorgeous.  My heart was so full. My thoughts filled with you.

The cafe was on Vallejo near Columbus. I was a bit early so I kinda settled in. Soon, Greer arrived and we talked and showed each other video, like I said, on our phones. After, still talking excitedly about you and how we might go forward, we went for a walk around North Beach, past City Lights Bookstore and some neat bars and a beautiful church at the edge of Washington Square and finally wound up at the Art Institute. That place is brilliant. You'd love it, my little sweetheart. An exhibit/reception was going on so we walked around there and then Greer took me up on the roof where there is a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. The building looks like the mission - a bell tower and a Spanish courtyard with a fountain. It was amazing.

Finally, I walked back to the marina and wandered through the rest of the Fort Mason Center, thinking about us, sitting on some steps and remembering the first time we kissed there in the parking lot. I wandered over to the farthest corner building - the "Festival" one that's seemingly an old airplane hangar - and there was an event going on. It was full of Christmas trees. There must've been a thousand. And little stalls to buy ornaments or snacks and drinks. Loads of people were wandering around with their kids and dogs and holiday music was playing. I took a turn through there, taking in all the sights and sounds and the strong, cozy scent of pine. Then I walked over to the newest space, Gallery 308, where that amazing sound installation by Janet Cardiff  - the performance of Thomas Tallis's "40 Part Motet" I told you about and saw last year up at The Cloisters - is now going on. It was wonderful. Very moving. I kinda couldn't bring myself to leave. Finally around 8pm, I started the drive back north.

I’ve been listening to “Pet Sounds” on repeat and it’s inspiring me to start work on two new albums for the band, sweetheart. One will be dreampop arrangements of Taize music (those little chants that are a French monastic tradition and that I discovered going to that little church on the Upper West Side, I've told you about) and the other, six ambient drone pieces I’m composing for the series of photos Jacs Fishburne took of me in our studio, superimposing images of you and text you wrote, both handwriting and typed, over top. What do you think about calling it Double Exposures? That's what I've been thinking we might title it.

As I got close to home, closer to your folks's house, I decided to make a stop in Davis, little sweetheart, at The Nugget Market where you always used to take me. I got a nice blue scented candle in a little glass and took it out to the angel to sit with you there and talk a bit. It was hard leaving there, too. I got back in the car once and then turned it off and got back out and stayed a while longer, laying down on the stone and talking to you. The candlelight lit up both the stone and the angel's face - a stream of its golden light illuminating her sweet face. And I knew that's why you called me back. You wanted to make sure I saw that.

I feel lonely today, little sweetheart, as I often do. Sometimes it's so overwhelming and I don't know what to do with myself or why I'm here. But yesterday was nice, my darling. A good day. And I need to remember that. I know you're doing your best to comfort and point me in the right direction. Please help me quiet myself and listen for you. Listen to you. Hear. And please, my dearest dearest, Summer, take me to you as soon as heaven will allow. I love you with all my heart and soul...

Your Koala,