Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rain and the Gifts of Great Friends

As you know, I have amazing friends. I talk about them often in this blog, as they are a significant part of my life. I am continually amazed by the people that I surround myself with: Musicians, Writers, Graphic Designers, Photographers, Chefs…you name a creative endeavor, and I probably have a friend that does it. Most of us are still rocking 9 to 5’s or 7 to 6’s (as has been the case for me lately) but we do not give up on our passion or our art. I just couldn’t image it any other way.

Recently my friend Vinnie who is an amazing producer and performer, asked me to do some spoken word for a track he had been working on with Alpha Static. I jumped at the chance, no hesitation.

Poetry is really my core. So, I am always thrilled when I get to do something that involves spoken word. This specific piece was a little unique in that Vinnie had an idea of what he wanted the subject matter to be, which meant I had to actually write something specific for the recording. I have done this in the past, but I am such a muse chaser that it doesn’t always result in my best work. I am pretty happy with the results of this, however. He picked a subject that I am pretty intimate with, and its fingers found their way into other areas of my life which don’t get talked about much.

The best part, for me, was the collaboration. I went over to Vinnie’s studio on Friday to lay down the vocal, and we ended up working the song from 7 to midnight. I was able to see Bill Smith, the other member of Alpha Static, and Vinnie work. It was so interesting to see how producers think about tracks, to see how they develop the piece. And, I loved that I was able to contribute some ideas, like adding an additional stanza after the bridge, moving the theme from remembering to dreaming, past to future. I wrote the last lines on the spot, and stole a piece from Martin Luther King Jr.’s great “I Have a Dream” speech.

So, here is the finished project. Please give it is good listen, and let us know what you think. Also, the words are below.

Rain by alphastatic

I remember when the Desert first caught fire
When we drew the line in the sand and they crossed it
My 17 year old hand
Fueled by an ideological mind
Signed dotted line
After convincing my mother to do the same
Remember the feeling of aloneness
While sleeping in a crowded berthing
The sense of fear when unexplained blips
Illuminated beneath a 15 second sweeps
The kinship I felt with my father and grandfather
Who had been in that moment
I remember the constant coverage
That would not allow me to escape
I remember when I realized I was living a lie
When pride was replaced by routine
When my right mind was silenced by my left heart
I remember when it all started again
When my right mind screamed at kamikazes
Pounded fist
Wanted revenge
And then I learned my best friend had signed the dotted line

I remember when rain was pure
Before it was linked to the city beneath the sea
And failed government response
White gloves
In white offices
In White House
With white shirts
Dragging pencils though red tape lava
As blue collars and street tappers swam for safety

I remember when dreams were my mind transferring
Memories from hippocampus to long term storage
Using fissures and synapses like super highway and stop lights
Now my mind transfers your memories
And you are faceless-formless
Incessant stream of bright lights bleeps and bloops
Seven point three second sound bites
Repeated relentlessly to remind me of how fucked up I am
But you are a hypocrite
Your Clockwork Orange society threatens our freedom
But instead of spilling blood
You spill Texas Tea
Great underwater flume
Followed by a steady stream of dedicated spins
Reminding us of how much you care
My stomach sours when I see yellow and green.

I remember when my child mind smiled at simple pleasures
Chose sunshine over clacking keys
Rain over microwave media
Snow over four wall entrapment
And with the last letter
I power down
Step outside
Breathe deep
Release what you want me to remember
And embrace those moments that are authentically mine

And now my memories are replaced by dreams
And I dream the completion of Martin’s Dream
My four little children living in a world
Where they are not judged by the color of their skin
But by the content of their character

Where my picket fence is not soiled by senseless slander
Where I sleep beneath the breath of an Angel
Whose head rises and falls
With the pitch of my belly
And we are no longer afraid of white noise…


  1. i like the song and great story

  2. Thanks was a great collaboration, and I am sure there will be more to come from this.