Coyote Rainbow

Coyote Rainbow

Getting a haircut is simple. But in my mind, it carries weight like the new era hurricanes spiraling beyond our control. If you search on google you can find just about anything you’re looking for in the world of hair. I searched “modern mullet thick hair flat tops” or “modern rat tails.” Or my personal favorite, “hipster modern mullet flat top thick hair.”

The truth is I tend to see hair through the lens of a woman. I’m always drawn to how a style looks so much better on a girl. And somehow I think I can pull off just about anything. So when I sit in Kat’s chair to get faded up, all the obsessive tendencies boil up to my mouth. Of course, this leads me to leaving the salon recently with a fairly straight forward haircut, and a huge rat-tail. Easily fixable of course, and its gone now. But the mindset going through the pros and cons of keeping the tail, has depth to it. Yes, I just said the rat-tail on my head had a deeper meaning.

I’m turning thirty-seven this February. I can trace most of these thoughts back to that nugget. The roads I have to cross right now (in my head) carry buckets of new directions, folding and shifting through the haze and blunders beneath my eye of reality. The center still holding, but everywhere a maddening exercise of being slowing nudged to the edge of losing everything I know to be foundational.

Hair, style, the whole upkeep of our appearance is important. I went in to get my haircut believing that if I lost the sense of youth, and cutoff the mohawk mullet I’ve had for seven months, then I had to lay down everything else as well, including my quasi radical leftist political bend. I’m exploring getting my real estate license. Another piece of this pie which tells me my youth is dead, and I have to stop being cool forever. All this from a rat-tail??  Yeah, pretty much.

The hair is a symbol of identity. Hell, in many cultures it determines spirituality, or religion. Sets a tone for discipline, politics, and basically how you fit into a category of societies stereotypes. I wanted to be the first  rat tailed real estate agent in my zip code, maybe even the whole city. I walk to show a house wearing my tight pants, self cut V- necked inside out T-shirt, my favorite sport jacket, and those beautiful black boots that go passed my ankle and sit below the thick paint leg roll. I haven’t even got to the hair appointment yet, and I’m so far down the road in my head, thinking about what this haircut will say about me. I don’t want a rat-tail, but I must keep it to prove I’m not getting old, and I’m bold enough not to let expectations of the general day-to-day win, ever.

I want to run wild with nature, let my body fly in the open air as my uniquely hairy self becomes one with its true habitat. This isn’t possible if I don’t have a rat-tail, and the proper blend of modern hipster, co-mingling with bohemian life, and just a pinch of stinky hippie. I want that tight wrapped rat-tail to hang beaded on my body, while some armpit haired goddess wraps my lightning in a teepee somewhere we can’t hear cars, or cheap wind chimes. This tail has its own life, its like a parrot on my shoulder. It’s so loud and clear it could have driven home when I walked out of the salon.

The drive, a familiar one. I’ve lived in Knoxville for a while, so in part, it’s a boring as watching someone else literally watch paint dry. Familiarity is cool, but it’ll turn your edge into a low energy baboon. But if you do it wearing a giant rat-tail who whispers sweet young ideals in your ear, its can be glorious for a moment.

Like a seduction expert, the tail, thick, wavy and curly, wrapped far enough over my left shoulder, I could almost put it in my mouth. Quietly it says…

“Don’t be afraid of me, you look wonderful with me on you, look at us driving this old black Subaru Forrester down broadway. The new Washed Out album is on, the windows are down, your kids car seats behind us, reminding us of our real life, yet here I am, your rat-tail, your new guardian of the real self within. You should call me something cool. You should give me a name like “Coyote Rainbow,”  or how about Bob, the rat-tail? It should be something as cool as us. By the way, don’t slow down under the bridge where all the homeless are sleeping and congregating. I’m afraid of the homeless. I’ve lived homeless several times, and it’s not pretty. I was never meant to poop in buckets, or masturbate in cardboard boxes. I might look like those things would fit in my stereotype, but they don’t, please tell me you believe me.

I come to, and turn down Central Street, the gust of cross wind from the turn picks up the rat-tail, as if it’s actually a rat holding on to the back of my head. I catch its sway in the rear view mirror. The embarrassment is damaging, my heart is racing. I look at my face, deep in my eyes and ask myself “why the fuck are you wearing a rat-tail??” I can hear the playful laughter from my homeboys back home. I can hear the word “GUY!!” be yelled from across the room. I am also laughing with them. Outside of my body, looking at myself roll around in a mind twirl over a piece of hair I’ve already named on the drive home.

I killed Bob about twenty minutes later. There I was, almost thirty-seven, letting my distant wife use kitchen scissors to kill Coyote Rainbow. Oddly, cutting this piece of hair was the closest we’d been in weeks. My youngest child crying at my feet, the long nails of my oldest dog tapping the wood floors as a reminder that I would have to say goodbye soon, and I wasn’t really that cool anymore. The dog knew me better than anyone. Her existence a symbol that I could be loyal and take care of anything for a long period of time, but not necessarily from love, but routine, and safety. The corners of your house, real or in your head, keep us consistent. The routines of life keep us balanced while slowing killing the likes of Bob, and the pink hues all around us.

The image of me on the train belonging to no one or nothing is looking at me now. I look at his face too. In the sun he stares out into the open pastures of middle America. A small handmade bag, beat up guitar, and his journal rest behind him. He bites an apple, sips his canteen. The world is wide open. The goodbye whispering in the ether, beyond the clouds. He is half of me, and I am half of him. The certain finality in both of us, simultaneously giving our stories life. I will see him again when the earth collapses us into its purpose and we become simple flowers ignored.

I turn up Harvey street and ascend the giant hill and back down it on the other side. Passing by the old duplex I rented on Churchwell. I’ve lived in 37917 for over a decade. I’ve driven down this hill time and time again. I pass the street and see myself standing on the corner with my first guitar some ten years earlier. The all white acoustic, gifted to me from my mom, who too received it as a gift from her brother years before.

That night it was cold, really cold. I remember strumming and singing in the dark. You could see my breath in the air, my fingers practically frozen, stiff, but still eager to move. I was new to Knoxville but confused like now. My cousin was about to ride down the big hill on Harvey street with his long board, as I strummed G and C, howling in the evening air. A car at the bottom approached. I watched from the corner of Harvey and Churchwell, the sounds of the small skate wheels echoing through the valley, the engine of the old car mixing in as it got closer to him. In seconds he would be at the bottom. heart beats get faster, sweat beads drizzle over the temples underneath the winter beanie I was wearing, the air still, and all the noise is gone, even while I’m playing. We’ve entered a ritual, we’ve approached death, and it was as obvious as the road was hard.

In a vision I see a large crash, I saw him smash head first into the car. He was going at a speed that would have killed anyone. He was blown up like mashed potatoes being smashed with hands, oozing between the fingers. I didn’t yell, or say anything. I just kept playing. A different car turns from the other direction, and I come back to real-time, they slow down to avoid me on the corner. A young girl in the passenger looking up at me, smiles. I see her clearly from the street light above my head. I shoot her a casual grin, and keep playing. I was proud that she was witness to me, and I to her. We collectively shared a moment together, almost a sense of pride was revealed about out neighborhood that long ago. Now a memory stuck to the old tree, and branches. I never forget the expressions, the small gifts of nature in humanity, and as simple as a chemical reaction telling muscles to move. The meaning in a smile uplifts the universe, shakes it all up for us to start again, by the seconds. I appreciate it.

I come to and turn back toward the hill, my cousin is halfway toward the car, and it’s really happening this time, no more visions of the future, or my mind predicting an outcome. The girls smile brought me back to reality, I see the tail lights of her car pulling away. I turn and look toward my cousin racing toward his death, the seconds are ticking away. Tick, tock, its about to happen, the predictable outcome is razor thin. Watching from 100 yards away in the farthest colored dusk, the pace faster and faster, my guitar and voice felt lifted by the wind, the stirring night mantra, the build, the build, the orchestral tones from nature, he was gonna die, I knew it, I was watching it. I’m wanting to scream but in a trance of pure mind and body. I was frozen but the world was thrusting and thrashing, the moment lit like an animal feasting on its pray. So long Cousin, its been real. The lion roars with thunder as it leaps toward the gazelle, the earth hand slams down the shock of stillness, as if the whole existence ended again and the elemental fury choked us all to dust.

He was able to swerve his long board just in time before the impact. But like a game of Russian roulette it wasn’t him swerving in control, it simply worked out to be the moment when the board needed to go right, because it just went left, and he just happened to start from the top in the right way. Chaos, unpredictability, instinct, pure luck, one can never really know the science or religion with these things. But he lived, it wasn’t his moment and it was a careless gamble, but as youthful and intense as you could imagine

I was far away, but to guess the gap between his knees and the bumper, I’d say it was three feet. The scene was beautiful, even with the chances of death. The street lights lit his long board and silhouette as he raced down the hill, the sounds, the temperature, the life indeed living in the moment.

A collective “hell yeah!!!” belted through the air and around the giant hill on Harvey St. Tragedy avoided, intensity and rush exemplified on a chilly Tuesday evening in the south some ten years ago. My cousin walking up the hill coming closer to me says “you wanna give it a go Ryan?” Quickly I reply, “nope, I’m good man, that’s all you.” 

 

 

 

 

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Weirdo Coma Blues

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We drown out life mechanisms with just about anything; booze, drugs, herbal remedies to help us sleep, or over sleep in my case these last weeks. Why am I writing if there’s nothing to say? What is within the meaning of my lack of thoughts, or is the truth in what too many thoughts have become? Mostly, I’ve stunned my brain to the point of a tideless water. Theres a ripple, an undercurrent of energy forcing bubbles to the top, but nothings clear. I see the outlines of a shell in front of some transference. The zig-zag daydreams high as ever before. A Liquid recurring arm wiggling in the air, it’s a dance of roots and motion.

The boy was told not to touch the fence protecting those horses, so he grabbed it anyway. He yelled out a scream, a shock, he fell back knowing it was he who caused it. He was 12 years old. The leisure lost in a new world finding himself grabbing an electrical current in the middle of a farm, close to his new home he was forced into. The sun was shining behind the tall weeds and grass, the time of day where you see whats in the air you’re breathing, and you get a clear view of nature doing its work. In every direction, the lush green buttressed tightly to the dirt roads of an older time, the bumps of which he could hear in the form of a pickup truck, shaking as it drove to and from his new world. The greatest hits tapes of Steve Miller Band swirling the ether like the invisible faces that form from clouds. He like now, was alone with his thoughts, a beautiful freedom protected him from expectation on his walks. Who was he and did it matter? The sense of needing to stay busy, but knowing it was just an excuse not to feel who he really was. A boy in the country about to change his whole direction in life. He would throw down forced habits from his old upbringing. But it would be a journey with no intention, just life, just moving and becoming through experiences. And he was fat, and in his new reality, there was no place for the pitiful lard asses of the world. Get off the couch and move around the apples that have naturally fallen, and are now rotting on the ground, or go hunting for birds and almost kill your brother, but don’t be fat you fucking fatty with little man boobs, your chin line looks like the thighs of a truck driver. Deep Breath…

Feel this pain or happiness, understand the destruction, roll around in the filth of the weak voice telling you to run away from it, be a pig. The only faith I have is that the longer I touch this wire the closer to transcendence I will find. It’s not a mistake if you mean it, it just might kill you. The belief is firm in the visions of transcendence. Will you hate and love for the betterment of you and them? In a relationship you can see the escape routes in between you and your friends, or your lovers. If you’ve went beyond yourself at all, you know how to blow up your scene pretty quickly. The reasons behind this are important. Socially they give us the guidelines of how to act with each other. There are certain tendencies in all of us, you can see them clear in mannerisms, tonality of voice, the way your eyes look down and your left shoulder turns to the right (just slightly) and you reveal a little “tell” within the uncomfortable dogmas you put forth in a persona. This is as real as anyone can be in a day, most of the time. Even those of us who profess an honesty to the world about ourselves have a deeper point, the depth of which is almost out of reach. There’s no map to it, and when you get there through expression you’ll most likely be dead or too dismantled in exhaustion from your own weathered trip.

We pulled up to the house around 11pm. It was a big birthday bash our crew was throwing for me. I was in my early 20s. My cousin (RIP) lived in the student ghetto on Normal Ct. It was a narrow dead-end street lined up with old houses, its symbols stark to me now. During the day we’d chill out chain-smoking cigarettes, joints, sipping cans of scwill, while we doodle in the mind for a plan to party, or an adventure riding thin lines of safety. We yearned for any decent idea to be absent from elapsing time. Grab the youth and mash that shit like you’ll never eat again. We didn’t know it, but this would (in a sense) be the last big moment for us, not this party, but this area, this epoch of togetherness was on it way to division. We don’t talk anymore, and some are dead.

As soon as I got out of the car, the smell of smoke, porch laughter, and music engulfed my body. A sensory tingle, the invisible lizard came out of his shelter and crawled up the back of my neck; that orgasmic feeling which props up your follicles for a second. It binges and blossoms as it slithers over spine and vibrates the blood. Autonomous sensory meridian response . We were there earlier to set up the party, and then went record shopping up about an hour away. I don’t recall who was with me, but I’m sure it was another cousin of mine, they were everywhere. When you get to a party you’re throwing, playing, or simply attending, the first thing you do is head for the DJ booth. For one, you want to see how the party feels, walk through it inviting the eyes on you, hearing the sounds bounce off the walls and the organs gathering inches apart. You wanna inhale all of it, focus in on the beams bouncing, heads angling while the mouths churn. The energy is endless and the settings have to fit the moment, they have to be close to the right spot for everyone, or it’s a shitty party.

The placement of the DJ, speakers, seating areas, dance floor, lighting, etc, are all strategic, or should be in order to garner the most effective response. Attendees might not speak of it all that much, but their experience is a manifestation of someone else’s before this one. The whole scope of this moment is tied to another, and that one to another. The kinetic mapping is not an accident, it’s a coming of age synthesis, that s seasoned, sculpted, and swallowed for the masses to transcend into another version of itself. It’s about as close to “GOD” as I’ve been (aside from watching birth), and not because of the drugs (although they’re really fun), but its evolution in a product made by man, from the raw fruits of natures gift in emotions.  All the operations moving like machines to expel a sensory in the visions of nature. Your body moves and twists with an endless delivery of meaning, you can’t catch it the whole time, but the seconds are similar to ASMR. The only requirement is let yourself become it, to let yourself transcend the restrictions that aren’t real, they’re just a smoke to blind you off the true traverses of your life. Next time you walk in any room, throw your mind above your head and look down at how you move amongst all the sounds. You can do this anywhere because music is existence.

We have fallen into the place where everything is music” ~ Rumi (translations from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks).

We weren’t drug dealers or gangsters, but it felt like that. When I walked into the house, I can’t recall how many people handed me gifts, gave me hugs, or stopped to chat. The girls were a plenty, even old hook ups that were in town, and wanted to reopen old wounds. As soon as I got down to the basement, one was in my ear immediately. The soft whisper tucked razor-thin amongst the heavy house music, I couldn’t hear anything but “lets fuck again”. Which was a definite possibility but I had to mingle, and play a few records. So like a brush of dust, off a table, I kept walking, letting the party sway me into the center part of it as I kissed her cheek and said “get at you in a minute sweetie”. Our history spinning in my head, how she seduced me into sex when I was her man’s close friend, all played like gears on a VHS tape. Her breasts were in my top 5 of all time, no doubt. But I wasn’t sold on going back there. Plus, my girlfriend (RIP) was upstairs so there was a logistical dynamic involved. All of this wrapped my brain in a time frame of about 30 seconds. Then I was passed her and I forgot about it all, aside from a few moments of making eye contact, and debating the fling once boredom and drunkenness set in hours later. The music was loud, and the heat warming just beyond comfortable.

This was an old school party. The Michigan rave scene ain’t shit unless it’s in an environment that’s unfinished, with a cross between “I’m on drugs and happy, but whose that weird motherfucker throwing eyes my way”. For me at least, it was always pay attention but indulge, in aura of color atoms splitting with demons, all of it falling from the space above you at a pace unmeasurable by time. What else would you expect from a large gathering of people fucked up and wanting to escape the normalcy that life was trying to shackle them with? Take a room filled with horny youths, not giving a damn about much, mix that with misunderstanding, burnt bridges, and a few broken hearts, and you got a recipe for something expired. So it can’t last long, but in the beginning its communal, and beautiful. And we held it long enough before the whole thing blew up and spun out into another suckers orbit.

All these memories recently popped up like a blown transponder in the armpits of a vacant lot. I’m on the porch here in Tennessee, and the Fall is just on the outskirts knocking on summers wet pussy. What’s next is unimportant. I’m armed with my own history and the weirdo coma blues has its hand firmly fixed in the blood cells, it too will fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silent Hush

Silent Hush

The moment you think you’re an asshole, it’s probably true. I’ve buried more bad moments in my life than I can recall. But they’re still there; In the deep abyss of my true self, just below the persona I wear like a winter jacket. Its cozy when its cold, but the authenticity gap irritates the skin, similar to those wool sweaters my parents gave me when I was a little boy. My head is always spinning a constant replay, a mixture bath of faces, expressions, and the twirling glimmer of dark flash points.  Is your mind close enough to your body so they didn’t notice you were somewhere else?

I’m walking up the street now, my physical self is yours for the moment. My other feet are on the ground, my heart is beating with each step as I proceed to a place that is nowhere. The freedom stirring my body heat, my face stone, the color palette rich, but foggy as my mind. You’re sitting across from me, the person I wear in public, but I’m four blocks into nakedness. The air is cooler where I am, there’s no one, it’s just me, but the physical structures, city grid, and sounds of life are ever-present. Why am I walking in the city? Why did I go here and not some wonderful meadow or ocean view? I don’t like people, so why walk in a metropolis? I keep walking then turn the corner, there’s a railing leading down the subway, the lights flickering in its depths. I pass it, there’s honking but no one, there’s chatter, crackling of plastic, water droplets, shouting from down jet black alleys ways, but they look like drawn squares. I scream but my face is not mine, mouth closed, I’m there, but I can’t see myself. Why not the meadow or the ocean view, why not serenity for the inner self? I run, but I’m walking, I chew gum without teeth, the wind picks up sharply, then music begins to play. The scene zooms past me, the mix is happening. The green is coming, the birds, the yellow flowers. I don’t see anything, I don’t hear anything. But I’m there, I know I’m there. Where am I when you’re around me? Why can’t I be present when I’m physically here? I love the idea of people. But seldom do I truly enjoy them. I see no one, I see nothing, I feel everything, I feel everyone. I don’t like myself but I hope I find the me who does.

I shed friends like bad habits, I’m not addicted to anyone or anything but thinking about it. There’s a voice that doesn’t allow me to let the center piece of annoyance go. I’m willing to turn my head from a lot of nuanced bullshit. I’m willing to listen to your myopic telling of some television show, or how you bought new pants at Target. I sponge the boring for the sake of sanity. I sponge insanity because you’re boring. But deep down I see our death, collectively, and wonder, why are we doing these rituals of negligence?

The carts are moving, we are pushing them. They are shuffling, stocking, buying, and contributed to our every second. The pillars of Monday cannot hide these realities, but they seek to steal our fire for feeling, in the moment we truly feel it. The mind is a daydream of graffiti, fruiting like sex spawning the fawn. The paradox of you dresses and walks, exists, talks and sends signals. The occurring evolution in us all is the throwback of our original animal language. The body a physical expressions, the silent hush in lavish matter. We no longer speak truth, but we yell in the quiet loud. Are you fragile enough to lie but honest enough to feel?

Like the western world, I am positioned in the luxury of bought guarantee. My home, my kin, my wife, we’re all secure. The bordering fences, the lavish gardens, the thick dead bolts, incessantly checked after the drinking of sleepy time teas. We are all too covered up in our own ideas of safety. Whether inherit threats or those that rest in the “what ifs” of our minds, or a false sense of time, we cannot control anything. The tethers of speed limits, and red lights give us a sense of an entity out there to save us from ourselves. The rules are the truth about people. The laws tell us who we are without them, who we’ve been in the past.  Yes, theres love, culture, and reasons to be happy. I overdose on all of them daily. I fight time to create, I fight time to touch the shock cord of emotion.

 

 

Feathers And Open Channel

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This brand new piece has an interesting back story. Recorded two years ago, the song was originally slated to be released on my new bands (Open Channel) first album. After time went on, it was obvious the music was in the realm of Nomadic Firs. It was decided to mark it “feat” to introduce O.C. before their material started coming out.

Notable: The vocal was recorded using iphone headphones as a microphone, through a laptop, in an empty conference room (lights off) in Downtown Knoxville. The lyrics are an improvisation, recorded in one take. All the sounds are original, coming from months of diggin’ dollar bins to establish an authentic tonality. Along with the keyboard played basslines, the sample stabs, and slick Open Channel beat, it makes for one hell of fun time.

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“Open Channel is a new project from Chicago producer Adam Stolz and Ryan Boos, of Nomadic Firs. The two have been close friends for almost twenty years, coming up together in a vein of underground music by way of Michigan’s I-94 corridor, with heavy roots in Kalamazoo. The vibrant history down that long stretch of road, from Detroit to Chicago, has helped sculpt each of their musical influences.”

Feathers – lyrics

Livin it up for the city risen, I’ve been here wondering and watching. All the way you’ve seen the risen, I’ve been here watch the thing droppin. On and on you’ve seen the lovesick, we can hide from the granted. I can see your silhouettes…. and river side park we dancin.

You were here before the snowman, you should run with those FEATHERS. I heard you scream so softly, echoing my name in lovely. Before you cast the judgements, see the stars above your apartment. You should run with those FEATHERS.