Backwater (Philly memoir reblog)

Peter Schmid - 1565 - source Wikimedia Commons

Peter Schmid – 1565 – source Wikimedia Commons

I am surrounded by dots, to connect. One analogy is a sky full of stars with constellations and stories, how they got there. Another, drops of rain falling on a lake, how they ripple in circles and random patterns dissolving into each other. How it seems we all really need to connect with someone. Like the photo of the writer on the back of my book looking down, who’s with me now in spirit, connected.

February is the punk rock song of months, all business: 28 days in and out, under two minutes.

I’m unemployed and surrounded by time, for the first time, and yet it goes by so fast in my den, the clock is my metronome. Going through every Brian Eno record one by one, and I have a good 15.

But if you study the logistics and heuristics of the mystics
you will find that their minds rarely move in a line

So it’s much more realistic to abandon such ballistics
and resign to be trapped on a leaf in a vine

I write in spurts and go back to find the thread, keep looping, knitting. There are drafts and walks to the lake to work up ideas and sometimes nothing but a blank look out the window. How we can appear empty to others when we’re searching like this, because we have to leave ourselves to look inside.

I start writing about our time in Philadelphia and realize I already wrote about it here. (Thanks to Mike, Elyse and Michelle for reading the original.)

Eno quote from “Backwater,” 1977’s  Before and After Science.


backwater (ˈbækˌwɔːtə)
1. (Physical Geography) a body of stagnant water connected to a river
2. water held or driven back, as by a dam, flood, or tide
3. (Physical Geography) an isolated, backward, or intellectually stagnant place or condition

via backwater – definition of backwater by The Free Dictionary.


Categories: writing

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13 replies

  1. Wow. I feel like I’m staring up at this one watching the fireworks go off.

    I find that metronome seems to be speeding up as I get older.


    • Nothing like the fireworks coming off Katy Perry last night. Whoo-yuh.

      Seems the metronome starts off slow, speeds up, and slows down again for those waiting for the Reaper. But mine is not a B.O.C. song nor one by the Priest.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Last weekend I pulled out Another Green World for old time’s sake. Then I read this. What are the odds? More importantly, can you tell me where I left that stupid bong? You know…the black ceramic one in the same of a human skull?


    • *shape* for same. Bloody auto-correct.


    • Yesterday I pulled out Another Green World for old time’s sake, is where the problem began. Speaking of human skull-shaped/samed bongs, I just pulled out Bowery Electric’s 1996 “Beat” this morning, which defies categorization according to Wikipedia. Same year Infinite Jest was released, February 1 (which was just a couple days ago). What are the odds? Look to the window if you want to see yourself, man. Heavy.


  3. Besides Another Green World, give me an Eno to live for/to die for.


    • To answer you straight-out, I’d say “Before And After Science.” But more fun to make you a Dropbox mix, which I’ll do.

      I just realized I can blog on LinkedIn and composed a post to ~1,100,000 extended readers through my network about why I left, to redefine myself, and gladly rethought it and walked away. Gulp.


  4. Oh wow, that was amazing. See, you may have written about it before, but it was new to me. And it felt as magical as your dope smoking Puerto Rican must have felt. It would have been interesting to read what you came up with this time. I do that all the time, by the way. I write about things now and assume I wrote it about it on a now defunct blog, which feels safe, like I’m not exactly repeating myself. But if I already wrote about it on my present blog, well, hopefully no one will notice, which would say a lot about my writing. Interesting how certain stories pop back up, like we have to look at them again, retell them from another angle, possibly. Or just re-share them for a new audience. Thank you for doing that.


    • Yeah, you’re on to something there. I have rewritten things like this and will continue to iterate on them, because…well that’s maybe how you get to the good stuff. I read recently that Bob Dylan did like 70 takes of Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. But then there’s the band Talk Talk, whose “Spirit of Eden” record took like a year, and I think their eyes had melted back into their heads by the time they finally emerged (blame that on the drugs maybe).

      I love the gray hair! It’s beautiful. I think I’ve finally convinced my wife to do the same, and you’re right…for nothing else, you’ll save a shit-ton of money. But better to be you, I think. Every time you grace my blog it’s like I’ve seen a ladybug and need to make a wish (corny, but some truth to it). Thanks for stopping by, Friend of Low. And thanks for clicking down into my past, I appreciate it.


      • More like a stinkbug, but ladybug is the nicest comparison I’ve heard in a long while. Friend of Low is easily the coolest handle I’ll ever know.

        Your wife should go for it. It helps to have a cool, supportive husband. My husband’s been super sweet about my gray. He’s pretty gray too so we might start getting senior citizen discounts at the diner and movies, which would be even sweeter.


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