IRON AND WINE – Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat

So, I know it has been a while – both for me and a music review. But, you know, life happens. And lately, life has been crazy. New, old, unstable, unrelenting, busy life. I’ve been more stressed in the past few months than I have for the entire year.

And so, with all that anxiety in worrying about the past and future, I decided to pick a song that, I believe, is all about focusing on now.  “Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat” from Around the Well, is one of my favorites from Iron and Wine. Sam Beam is the man behind the name and has one of the most calming voices I have ever heard. One that I, frankly, cannot get enough of.

The acoustics in this song are simple and beautiful, repeating this flowing melody with sharper upper tones and a ghostly echo. Like so many Iron and Wine songs, there is an earthiness to the sound and an easiness that is both relaxing and familiar. There are no drums, no bass, and nothing fancy – just Sam’s voice, the guitar, and a woman’s voice backing vocals to enhance the wonder.

Sam starts in with the first set of verses and answers:

Talk of yesterday and she will show her
brothers photographed in calloused clothes.
Say tomorrow and she’ll say come find me,
on a beach and there will be no moon.

But say
today
and she will
kiss your face
and maybe
forgive.

Looking at this, many meanings can come forward from the lyrics dependent on a person’s history and life experiences. For me, right now, it is about today. The woman Sam talks about goes off on a sad nostalgia (photographed, calloused clothes) when asked about the past and when it comes to the future, it is dark and unknown (no moon). However, when you ask about the present and what is happening now, she is delighted.

The second verse continues this:

Talk of yesterday like bargain shoestring,
she will kick the car and find her friends.
Say tomorrow and then she’ll describe some
old communion cups and someone’s coat.

But say
today
and she may
look your way
and lead you
home.

When the past is mentioned, the woman is angered and begins to look for her friends.  To me that is a reaction to find comfort now in the people that surround you. When the tomorrow comes about, she diverges and reminisces on details that are not important in life. As if to say, why focus on things to come and not enjoy right now? I love how when today is the topic, she pays attention to the speaker and leads them home. She is so delighted to be in the moment with another person that she will share her home.

This song is a reminder to me to stop worrying about what happened yesterday, quit analyzing the probabilities of my futures, and just enjoy the now. Be present in the moment and live life.

Please take a listen to the song here .  I encourage you to then keep exploring Iron and Wine and bathe in Sam’s heart-wrenching sound.

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THIS MORNING

Was it truly just
this morning
that I ran through the forest?

Over the peak
and
into the gulch,
light’s growing glow,
my cadence
slow.

Trees whisper,
cool winds linger,
my body,
like a feather,
swiftly carving
through the air.

But my mind,
like a dream,
wonders
about the adventure
and the beauty
that is continually
there.

PAIGE ANDERS CHRONICLES – 6

So there you have it. That’s how I met Janet and with a few good months and long conversations spent swallowed by the couch and gallons of ice cream, we became friends. She encouraged me to drop the dealing – which wasn’t too easy. Buster had got a little dependent on me being his top seller and all. But things worked out in the end. I needed a real, new job then. So Janet got me started at the diner.Tommy was always such an easy pushover that we both knew it be a good start for me. He was so giddy that some one else showed even the slightest interest in his business that he hired me on the spot. Not even a background check.

And now we circle back to today, where I had to force the poor guy to even let me go. I mean, I was terrible at my job, possibly even giving his diner a bad rep. But still….

Like I had said before, it was perfect timing. Even planned, some could say. Now it was time to plan out the easy stuff. The murder, right? You’re still waiting on the name. The one who I’ve been waiting to snap like a twig.

Maybe you think it’s Rodney? With all his corruption and dire need to see myself dead. But no, he’s still in jail and will be there for many years to come. Likely his heart will go before he even gets close to parole.

Tommy, maybe? True that I”m not a fan of hipsters, but I’m not that cruel.

Buster? Well, honestly he’s not much of a threat. Remember, I said it all worked out in the end.

Trevor, of course, is who you’ve got in mind now. He seems the easy pick. All the anger and downward spiral started with him. My ability to trust ended with him. My life was torn apart because of him. Sure, he seems like an obvious motive. One very good reason. But honestly, I don’t even know the guy’s real name. And in the end, wasn’t he just doing his job? Is the jeopardy of my life worth ending his?

No.

Let me help you out a little more.

I told you I made a lot of money for Rodney. A lot of money. I also told you I couldn’t spend it. I looked for a good launderer time to time, but no one really ever gave me the right feeling. Launderers are necessarily known for having clean hands. So most of that cash was just spent on the everyday things. Groceries, gas, clothes, etc. All the necessities of life.

Rodney couldn’t spend a lot of his amount either, so he entrusted it to me. To “take care of it.” In other words – hide it. When the Feds busted in that day, there was good amount of cash in the safe – hell – probably even laying out on the tables with the product right beside it. But that was by no means all of it. No, that half a million they looted was just a small percent. The rest of it had been carefully placed in a remote location for safe keeping, just as Rodney had asked of me. Even Trevor didn’t learn that secret.

They grilled me so many times about the rest of the cash. But poor, doe eyed me just placed it off to my distraught mother’s erratic spending and “I don’t know where he kept it – why don’t you just ask him?” Him being Rodney, of course. And the irony is even Rodney never knew the final location of the money since I had a habit of moving it every two weeks or so. He would always say I was the one who knew and I would say it was him. Neither of us put up a good case to believe, but it was enough to hold them off.

But you see? Being that the Feds never got the final answer,  they knew that it would still be out there somewhere. And I knew that they would continue to watch me in hopes that one day I would lead them right to it. Desperation is a driving force that will make people do a lot of crazy things.

And they’re right.

I am becoming desperate. Real life is hard. Even harder when you know your future could be so easy if only you could get your hands on even a quarter of what you have stashed.

Are you on to me now?

I’m the one that’s going to be axed. I need to disappear and my death seems like it’s the only way to give me the best options.

And imagine…a life started with a clean slate? A completely new me.

ASHES

When I die,
don’t bury my body deep
with no living thing to see.

Take my ashes
and scatter them wide
across the mountaintops
and canyons
of the Divide.

Where I found my peace
in the solemn beauty
amidst the pines
and roaring creeks
of nature’s glory.

JOY

Something strange happened to me the other day.

I was in the airport bathroom en route to Phoenix when two Latino ladies approached me. One was older with lines of age marking her face and hints of grey about her forehead. She was dressed in some heavy clothing for August and had a work apron on top of it all.

The other was younger, her wide black eyes more pronounced by the smoothness of her skin. A loose patterned sweatshirt hung about her over black leggings.

They spoke quickly in Spanish to one another as they approached me with some hesitation. The young woman said, “She would like for you to leave a comment.”

I scrunched my brow, unsure of what she meant. “You want what?” I asked.

“Senora, Senora, ” the older one said. She raced back over to a janitorial cart and brought back a stack of napkins. On one of them, someone had written some words in Spanish in a lovely, cursive font.

“See, see.” The woman pushed the napkin closer to me, keeping an expectant gaze. I stood dumbfounded, unable to read it. My one year of language class was not paying off.

“She wants you to write a comment,” the younger one spoke again, “of this place.” She held out her hands. “Of her work.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, finally grasping the meaning. The older woman laid down a new napkin eagerly, placing the previous one close by for an example.

“Olga,” she said, pointing to herself. Her smile brightened as I uncapped the pen and started to write.

When I handed it back, she thanked me repeatedly and then went right back to work, wiping all the counters down even though they were already clean.

I’ve thought back on this interaction in several passing moments now. And what I always circle back to is the woman’s sheer joy for the comment. She had no idea whether I would write something good or bad. But yet she seeked it all the same – language barrier or not.

And I could see her dedication to the job, too. Cleaning bathrooms is not a pleasant job – and the ones at the airport are nowhere near the top of the easy list. But here she was, so motivated and happy. Utterly happy.

And then I think about my own job and how a day with an emotion like that is nonexistent. I would never ask for a comment card for the fear of making the day that much worse. But why is it like that? Why shouldn’t I seek the same joy?

 

 

 

 

REST EASY

The hammock groans
in my ear.
Each rope tightly woven
into place.
Fabric of opaque
diamonds pressed on my skin,
where the blood runs thin.

The chains clink along
with the leaves scratching
the patio floor.
They flip
and flutter,
swirling trails of yellow
and orange.

The dogs run free
around the fading green.
Following scents
made up
of mysteries.

The sun is setting
even though
the day has been
warm
and slow.

In the comfort
of familiar,
a lethargy sways with me.
I rest easy,
knowing nothing
about tomorrow
and focusing
on simply just
breathing.