Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30th

Little sweetheart, there's a movie on Netflix, you and I watched it together on DVD when it came out, called A Single Man. I had never seen it again since we watched it together. I remember starting to once and then stopping quite soon. I only remembered that it was very sad, I thought, so that was probably why I stopped.

Tonight I put it on again and I could see why I'd stopped it so soon. The love of a man's life dies in a car accident in the very first scene. I imagine myself, having watched it with you, putting it on alone one night and switching it off right there.

Tonight I kept watching. Incredibly, a placard comes up that says November 30. That also happens to be today.

There was so much that I forgot about the movie but it is really quite beautiful. The man is completely inconsolable but on this day he has come to the decision that he is going to kill himself that night. He lays out all his papers and ID and writes letters to his handful of friends and practices with his gun to see where he will land after he shoots himself. He tries to make it easier for whoever will find him.

Then he goes to work. He's a teacher. He had a way about him knowing that it's his last day that makes him so gentle and good and real with everyone. He says some extraordinary things to his students. Later he talks to a man in a parking lot he might otherwise never have. They look at the sky together. He talks so gently to a little girl who comes up to him, a neighbor. He visits an old friend for dinner. Then he comes home to kill himself but he decides to get a drink first and one of his students who's been worried about him sorta follows him there.

They wind up swimming in the ocean together. Then they go back to his house and talk. He passes out and then goes out to find his student curled up on the couch. With the gun. He was worried about him, so he hid the gun and had put him to bed. He gets the most extraordinary look on his face. He puts the gun away and burns the letters in the fireplace.

Then he opens the door onto the deck and an owl is there that suddenly flies away. As he watches, he sees the moon is enormous and full. He says something about his life being understandable only on these very brief moments of clarity like now when he sees everything is exactly as it should be. How things happen. And suddenly, as he's about to go to bed, he has a heart attack. He falls to the floor. And as he dies, his love comes to him and kisses him.

Little sweetheart, it is all far too much of a coincidence that I have seen this movie tonight. Only for the second time after we first watched it together. And that it is set on this very night. And that it is so very resonate. You are with me, I know. You are telling me things, I know. You are guiding me. This is exactly how I want to go myself - a heart attack - soon and to be with you forever.

Thank you for showing me. Thank you forever. Love you forever. With all my heart and soul.

Letters From Abroad

Little sweetheart, we're nearing the release of the new album, Dream Together, which you, of course, are a major part of. Not just because your vocals both sung and spoken can he heard within but because several of the songs literally came to me in dreams with you. I know you sent them. I know you're doing your best to reach me, comfort me, urge me on. As one of those songs quite clearly says, another one that came to me intact from you in The Forever, She Hears You Calling.

I'm listening today to the second pass of the a possible final mastering of the album, little sweetheart, and waiting on corrections in the galleys for our artwork. Meantime, we got a lovely letter from a woman in Poland who has been a fan since the double-album, of, for and about you - Of Love and Loss. She said she was looking forward to the new one and also had these very nice things to say, which I'll leave here below.

It's so very true, little sweetheart - I want to do everything I can to honor and be close to you.

Here's what our friend in Poland had to say. She starts out talking specifically about our last album, Electric Hymnal, and then somewhat more generally of the albums as a whole...

"...I listened immediately
some melodies made me feel good.. some I remember made me feel anxious. Which is good...
because no song left without moving me in a way. It is amazing... I really really like it. Like all the albums and covers and music and lyrics... it is a story
not just random tracks to make an album.

It is like a book.  It is a book of poems,
feelings. This is the most important and the most beautiful thing in the world.

To have something to say
and to do it beautifully, to touch peoples lives.

It is a gift. Thank God for such amazing form of self expression.
How you can convey the message to people... talk about your life, about Summer to people in this artistic way..."

It's all for you, little sweetheart. Always and forever. Until that day I may join you. May it be soon. Very very soon, indeed. With all my love...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Only You

Sweetheart, I was just thinking now of one night early when we we'd just started seeing each other but no one really knew yet. We were supposed to meet up but I was with friends without a car of my own and you were an hour away and we were supposed to go to some stupid play downtown in San Francisco that was maybe sold out so there might not even be tickets and we talked on the phone and you didn't think you could come. I was stuck there without you, sitting in some gastropub waiting to go see the show and I was so sad and miserable and then all of a sudden I saw you outside walking down the street toward the bar.  I shouted out "she's here!" and I literally leapt to my feet from the chair. I could feel my heart flying out of my chest! And I ran to you. Crying. I don't know how much of a secret it was after that. Or during the play when we couldn't get seats together so I kept looking back several rows to lock eyes with you, and that look on your face that said "I know, sweetheart, but we can't do anything right now". I never felt so much for anyone in my whole life, little sweetheart, and I never will again. You are the reason and the treasure of my life. Love you forever .

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful... for You!

Little sweetheart, it's Thanksgiving and when I woke this morning, as I sat at my desk with a cup of coffee, a pretty little bird with a beautifully speckled breast sang to me, alighting briefly outside the window and I knew he was sent there by you. You're doing your best to let me know you're near and encouraging me to do my best and have faith and know that I will be with you again, soon and forever. 

I went to the little candlelight service last night. It was a bit different than usual. It had a Thanksgiving theme, of course, and as we arrived we were given a little blank sheet of paper that had a heading that read: "Blessings". We were meant to write down a list of things we are grateful for and then share those thoughts aloud near the end of the service if we cared to. 

I sat down and wrote about you right away. And when it came time, I'm told them about you. That you are the reason I am there. And then I read what I wrote. Mostly how grateful I am for you. How grateful I am to you. That you filled my life with light and love and that I ask God to strengthen my faith to let me know you are safely in His care and that you and I will be together again and forever in just the blink of an eye. 

It's Thanksgiving today, little sweetheart. I'm all on my own. But I decided to cook for myself and light a candle for you, like always, and to listen quietly and attentive for further celestial instructions. 

It's Thanksgiving today, little sweetheart, and I am so grateful to and for you. I love you with all my heart and soul. Forever. Forever. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Little sweetheart, since the rather shocking and dispiriting election results last week, people have been leaving post-its - those little sticky notes - of love and solidarity on the walls of the Union Square subway station along the tunnel between the N/R and 4/5/6 train platforms. There are thousands of them there now. I went yesterday and left one for you, my darling. And then I shot this little video. So many people were stopping to do the same and as I stood there a group of tiny schoolchildren under the watchful care of their teacher, sang. It is very much as you taught me, little sweetheart - Love conquers all. Love you forever.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Our Oneness

Little sweetheart, below is a triptych of the tattoo you whispered to me in a dream: Our Oneness Can Never Be Erased. Saved's Michelle Tarantelli did this work for me one year ago in your own handwriting. The photo is one that Ground Control Magazine's Daryl Darko Barnett took for last January's profile about the band. And I'm writing about it here because our story appears today in Tre Miller-Rodriguez's article as part of a series on the Modern Loss blog. Love you forever.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

For You. Always.

On my way home from meditation service last night, little sweetheart, I saw the prettiest little pair of pajamas I think you would like. They were sorta light pink almost white but with a kind of rose hue too and they had double decker buses on them. I immediately thought how I'd so very much like to get them for you. And that made me remember how much I liked doing things like that. Getting little presents for you. Maybe I'll get these and start a new or resume an old tradition and just set them aside with a nice letter or card for you telling you all about it and saving it for you. I think I might do that. Love you forever.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Little Sweetheart

Little sweetheart... Happy Birthday! It's your 37th and I wake with thoughts of you, prayers for you and your name and spirit in every room.

I'm so very grateful for you, my darling. You found and saved me and brought such blindingly brilliant light and love into my life, the kind that could knock a man down. You felled me. You are my miracle girl.

I'm so very grateful, too, that we spent each of your birthdays together once we had become one. I remember the first in Boston when you were on the road doing Rock n Roll at The Huntington. It was brisk and wintry there already and I walked you to the stage door every night, watching the show from the orchestra almost every performance. On your birthday, after walking you there, I went grocery shopping, then back to the sweet little apartment where we were staying and made dinner and baked a cake for you to come home to.

The next year found us in San Francisco on the day. I'd been gathering lots of little presents for you with a plan to surprise and shower you with all the many gifts, securing and secreting them for you to find at last. I had most everything but while we were browsing at the great little punkrock bookstore, Needles and Pens, in The Mission, I saw how taken you were with a pretty set of feathered earrings. I quietly sneaked back later and bought them for you.

On your 31st, we decided to go up to Calistoga to the hot springs. We wended our way through the hills in your battered blue Prius and got there in the late afternoon. We checked in to a charming little room and then changed into our swimsuits to go visit the pools. You weren't crazy about the super hot one but the warm one was, Goldilocks-like, just right. You were, as ever, unbelievably stunning to every passerby, in your black one-piece, your perfect ivory skin, long red hair cascading over your porcelain shoulders and with your ever-present and enormous black sunhat perched on your head. Like a bathing beauty Zorro.

You wanted to wade across the pool into deeper waters but you didn't want to get submerged, so you wrapped yourself around me and I walked us across, a stately, striking procession. Carrying my giggling little mermaid. I can't think of too many times I was ever happier.

Little sweetheart, you are in my every thought, today and every day. I love you with all my heart and soul. And I'm sending all my love to you. May it fly to where you - closer than I can imagine. I know you're watching and guiding me safely toward you. You are my lookout, wrapped around my soul just like you wrapped yourself around me in Calistoga, taking me through the waters of the journey I must complete and then to be reunited with you so very soon and forever.

Thank you, my angel. My true love, my best friend, my soulmate, my partner, my gingersnap, my gorgeous gorgeous girl. Happy Birthday, Summer. Soon with you, my love, yes? Soon. So very soon. All my love... m

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Rememberance

Little sweetheart, Leonard Cohen passed away last night. I remember how much you liked him. And I'm remembering something about all that this morning...

In April of 2009, just before my birthday, you told me you had tickets for something special. I already knew you were taking me to see DCfC in Sacramento on the second day after and that we were going to decamp to Davis for nearly a week on our own - heaven!

But this was something else. You had tickets to see Leonard Cohen at the beautifully restored Paramount Theatre in Oakland.

We had great seats just a few rows back in the orchestra. Cohen came out, immaculate as ever, with a great band and proceeded to play a breathtaking 90 minute set. We were thrilled. After the last number he said, "we're going to take a little break and then be back". Incredibly, this was only the first of two sets. About 20 minutes later, he returned. Before they began playing, he thanked everyone and then told us that he'd had the great honor of having his Buddhist teacher with him backstage tonight and that during the interval they'd had a small drink of some very fine spirits (whiskey, I think) together. He said that his teacher had asked him if he could tell the difference between this and more commonplace ones. Cohen admitted that he couldn't exactly and then told us his teacher looked at him for a moment and said "I've taught you nothing." 

He laughed and so did we. It was an incredibly heady and light and beautiful night. When he came back yet again for the first of several encores, he literally skipped onstage, bounding with the lightness of step of a deer or a teenager. You and I lingered at our seats after, still soaking it all up. 

It was a magic night and if I could say something to him today, I think it might be this:  

"Thank you, Leonard. I suspect you have many people to greet today - perhaps altering your own lyrics to say "hello" instead of "so long" to your own great love Marianne - but when you have a moment, please give my angel a little kiss for me, won't you? See you both soon."

And thank you, my little sweetheart. You make everything better. And I love you forever with all my heart and soul.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

All Saints Sunday

So, November 2nd is All Souls Day, little sweetheart, and the day before, All Saints. November 2 was this last Wednesday and that's the night the little candlelight meditation is every week. The little service that inspired Electric Hymnal. I asked if they do anything special for All Souls and they said they include a special poem and remembrance prayer on Wednesday

They told me that they also have a special observance on Sunday. They call it All Saints Sunday, describing "saints" not as exclusively those beatified but as those beloveds who exemplified love and made a difference in who we have become. There is a special flower ceremony as well. And they asked me if I would like to be the guest liturgist/reader. 

So, I put on my suit and headed up there this morning. I read from Luke. And I offered a pink rose for you, my angel, as part of the flower ceremony. It was really beautiful.

On the way home I was passing that little rectory I've told you about. It's a different church - Sacred Heart - a largely Spanish congregation, and the little rectory is the house where the nuns live there on W51st between 9th and 10th Avenues. There's a little garden beside it with a statue of Mary. I always stop to say a prayer for you as I pass. And I've had brief words with one or another of the nuns over the years. Famously, three of them enthused to tell me last year when 7 11 was giving away free slurpees. And one time when I was walking away after saying a prayer for you, one saw and smiled and said "she hears you." 

I've been meaning for ages to knock on the door and give one of the sisters a copy of Electric Hymnal. Today, in my suit and actually having a copy in my little satchel, I finally did ring the bell, my hands full of groceries from D'Agostinos (I'm making chicken soup tonight). It took a while and I didn't know if anyone was at home but eventually one of the nuns opened the door. I told her my name was Michael and she invited me inside right away. Sister Catherine. She started to say something. Like she thought she already knew me. I didn't quite understand what she was saying. Not because she was speaking with an accent or anything. The congregation is largely Spanish but the nuns are all Caucasian. I found myself nodding involuntarily until I understood that she was asking wasn't I the nice man who had hosted their visiting guest Vincent de Torre (or something like that). And I said sorry no. And she said you don't know what I'm talking about do you? And we both started to laugh. And I said, I thought you were saying a blessing in Latin. And then she really roared with laughter. 

She was very nice. I told her about you, little sweetheart. And I told her how I say a prayer every time I pass. I told her that I go to church at West End and that they have a meditation service that inspired us. That you and I had a band and that we continue to make music for you. I told her that we'd made an album a few months ago inspired by the meditation service and that I had meant to stop by and give it to them for quite a while. I told her about the slurpee day. And she laughed again. 

She thanked me so much for the CD. And then she said, "this may sound funny, but I've got some rolls in the oven. May I give you some?" She said it was their Visitors Day, when the sisters have family and friends from all over, from home, from where they came from, come to see them. So, they were all baking and getting ready. She asked me to wait and she went back to the kitchen and then returned with a ziplock bag full of little dinner rolls. "They're still hot!" she said. Fresh from the oven. She thanked me again for the music and she said she hoped she'd see me again soon. And she said she would pray for you. And she said "God bless you". And I said "God bless you" too. 

God bless you, little sweetheart. My angel, my special saint, my true love, the other half of my soul. Love you forever.... 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Every Day A Treasure

Something made me think about this the other day and I wrote down a little note to myself, sweetheart, about the little drugstore up the street where we used to go. It was too far to walk so we would drive up the long hill past the UCSF hospital as the street narrowed from four lanes to two, veering away from the trolley line of the N Judah. Several intersections after that and then a right turn. And one more quick left turn into the tiny little unexpected parking lot there, only about half a dozen spots in total. We always seemed to pull into the same one. And it was a bit tricky backing up and turning around when we were ready to leave. We'd walk hand in hand into the little pharmacy and you'd pick up whatever prescription you'd had called in. It was a cozy little old place - a Walgreen's, I think - with lots of sundries filling aisles. We'd often get you a treat or two and maybe some gingersnaps for me. I remember sometimes we'd take a little walk a couple blocks north to a deli you liked because they had a special kind of soda you couldn't find anyplace else.

You know little sweetheart, I think I'm thinking about all this because however mundane it might seem, days like these were the most wonderful of my life because they were with you. I love being with you. Being with you doing anything was bathed in a kind of golden halo. I can still feel how special and extraordinary every day with you was. I can almost touch it. Those were the best days of my life. I was born just for them. I don't know why I'm still living, exactly, little sweetheart, and most times I really don't want to go on. But I know I have to wait. Soon enough, you'll come collect me, I hope. I believe with all my heart and pray with all my soul that you will and that we will be together again and forever very soon. Thank you for filling my life with light and love, my little sweetheart. I ache for you today and every day. And I remember. Come for me as soon as heaven will allow, won't you, my love? Yours forever...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

At the ready

A little note I found this morning as I'm gathering things and writing about you, little sweetheart. Thinking about the checklist of things I would help you remember and have at the ready for you before we'd head out for the day. "...tissues and chapstick and holding your hand.." Love you forever.