August 2006


Here’s a beautiful poem inspired by 9/11. Maybe inspired isn’t the right word. Well, what infamy is to fame, is the word I’m looking for-inspired in the sense of being moved by a dark emotion. Hard to believe it’s been five years. I’m sure for those who lost a loved one it feels like yesterday. My son’s pre-school was maybe 4 or 5 blocks from there. Fortunately, he was gone from there at the time. I pictured myself running the 16 or so blocks from home that morning. After the 1993 bombing I was never comfortable at the World Trade Towers. I used to read books to my son at Barnes & Noble there, always with one eye & ear looking & listening for anything out of the ordinary.

Pompeii
by John Brehm

Standing on the subway, exhausted, dispirited,
glancing over the exhausted, dispirited faces
of my fellow passengers, I read posters
for a new movie about Pompeii.
“How can you breathe when the air is on fire?”
“How can you escape a boiling mudslide?”
“How can you outrun an eruption
faster than this train?” they ask.
Obviously the ad writer has never been
on ‘this’ train, because this is a Q train,
and anybody who can’t outrun a Q train
must be on death’s doorstep anyway
and will soon be overtaken by time itself,
if not a boiling mudslide, though sometimes
that’s what time feels like, thick
and burning, pushing you on and pulling
you back. And now we rise creaking
over the Manhattan Bridge, where
one can see through scratchy windows
the city skyline and the buildings that are
not there, where thousands tried
to breathe air on fire and failed,
tried to flee an avalanche of concrete
and falling bodies and failed.
If only they’d been asked to outrun something
as slow as this slow train that takes us home-
how easily they might have done it.
But that is not what they were asked to do.

“We all know that art is not truth.
Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”
Pablo Picasso

Usually I’m pining away about not being in New York, but when the 100 degree - 99 % humidity hits the city, I’m glad to not be there. It’s been a beautiful summer in Los Angeles. Even in the 100 degree heat here, living by the ocean there was almost always a nice breeze. Played a show in the Silverlake/Los Feliz neighborhood here on Sunday night. That’s the bohemian ‘hood’ about 20 something miles from the coast. Rather than take the freeway I drove down Sunset Blvd. the whole way, just for the sightseeing/people watching. Thru Brentwood, Bel-Air & Beverly Hills on to ‘The Strip.” Lot’s of girls out in summer dresses. Bands loading in to their gig at The Whiskey. All the outdoor tables full on Sunset Plaza and then from the House of Blues to The Chateau Marmont, a lot of tourist foot traffic. Then thru a little bit of funk over to Franklin, where there’s a happening block of restaurants and other activity across from The Scientology Center. Didn’t happen to see Tom Cruise with his new wife and baby hanging out.
The club is called Tangiers. What a cool vibe. Dark back room that feels like Morocco, nice big stage and great lights & sound. Played with my regular standup bass player, David Schwartz. We played:

1. Sidewalks of Summer
2. Nobody’s Girl
3. Buddy Holly
4. Thru with the Circus
5. Everything Comes Easy to Me, with a tag of My Funny Valentine.
(That’s my tribute to Chet Baker, or at least one of the handful of songs inspired by him.
I want to put them all together as a suite one of these days.)
6. Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love
7. My Brother Mike

Nice small crowd. This was a Shilah production, of Sin City infamy, along with my friend Ryan Hedgecock, Phil Parlapiano, & Red Rock West. Ryan is a roots rocker who does this cool thing of revitalizing old folk songs. I don’t mean Bob Dylan stuff, I mean “My Darling Clementine”, etc. You’ll never think of those songs in the same light again, after hearing his renditions.