“sometimes just the sky” that’s something that patti smith says in the middle of giving advice to ‘young people’. my friend matt gave me advice tonight. he told me ‘amber, if you just write ‘i dropped acid and then…’ and then say all the things you usually say, people will take it more seriously’.
i dropped acid for the first time the other night. all at once i began to feel that everything was one, as in, truly one. i thought of all the people i love and the people i can’t love, and knew we were all one. i looked at the trees, and every leaf of the trees and at the moon and at the night clouds and at the single stars and the whole constellationary twirling sky of stars, and looked at the memories of rivers and streams in my mind, and looked at the homelands of my youth and thought of all the large and small animals everywhere and all the people of all time who speak every other language under the sun, and knew we were all one, as in, REALLY ONE. then i went running, just running forwards, to my favourite tree lined street and i had to stop in the middle of the street even though people looked at me from their cars, gently but strangely (they were all one two) and i was stopped still in the street – almost still – because my arms rose up in the air, and my body began to fill with crystal energy from the trees, as i watched finally, for the first time, a new thing they were doing. each of the trees was colouring itself with a million colours, and then each of the trees were letting little parts of sunlight through their canopy, to dapple on another with the sunlight. they were painting themselves and each other, and i brought to mind being by the river with lucy painting the trees, but now i knew “we don’t have the paint the trees, the trees paint themselves!”
a little while later, who can say if it was minutes or days or hours, for this trip was very strong, i sat in my backyard holding small leaf by small leaf. the gums had dropped these little pieces of themselves down, and inside many of the leaves, beings had come to live. the beings puffed up the leaves, drilled tiny holes in and each of the tiny holes on some leaves were perfectly spaced in relation to one another. and at some points the tiny holes split open and out spilled the still, frozen guts of the beings that had come to live there, beautiful like beans or intestines, each part of the spilling being round and red and so miniature. i nearly cried. i always nearly cry. crying is the tears spilling out in perfect drops, our body making ocean water from rain water, river water.
on thursday ariel pink played in our town. my friend nick played before them. he seemed happier, so the voice of god in my head was less insistent. usually god is so loud in my head when he plays, trying to get the message through that ‘you are loved, you are infinite’, but something has happened in nick that he believes the message now. so god and i just stood back and listened.
ariel and his whole band were wonderful. three or four songs in it became fully what it would keep being for the rest of the night – magical. what can i say? the songs are incredible. everyone in the band is a true musician. and ariel turned it all on. i watched their sound man dancing as the songs played. i watched their true fans mouthing the words – my favourite true fan was a small man next to me, clutching a record to be signed in hope, wearing a polo shirt and normal but not norm core jeans, all obsessed without being tied in through clothing or lifestyle to this LA artist and band.
after the show joe introduced me to the main pink man, and he was so nice to me, saying my name many times “amber” at the beginning and end of sentences, like people do when they are trying to acknowledge you in a nice way. they came to our house for some reasons, and don and i sat at the table, listening to van der graaf generator who i’d never heard before and couldn’t understand straight away but tried to take in. don told me this drummer was his favourite drummer ever and explained why, and ariel stood by the table saying ‘and this!’ and making and digging on various drum fills, like my other friends do who are truly, truly obsessed only and only in the world of music.
the first time i heard ariel pink’s music was on a hauntology mixtape that a friend made who presented at General Knowledge Club in the upstairs loungeroom of my house, all about these genres i had never heard of. that night we also learned about Old Leatherman, 1829-1889, who would walk the entire state of connecticut every year, round and round, hudson river to connecticut river. i miss General Knowledge Club. that night my friend bec made a great orange cake too, with juices flowing down the sides and into the big plate to be carved up to all the members in our own circle.
that night my friend matt who is the biggest fan of ariel pink was at our house, but so tired he fell asleep on the couch, instead of taking the moment to quiz into the life and mind of all these players who’s notes he’d listened to and integrated into his waking life the past five years…
the next day my brazilian housemate was discussing art with tim, the bass player, and getting along like cousins at a sports game, sharing hot dogs and coke in big slurpy cups and realising how much they had in common more than vague strands of gooey dna. i played football out in the yard with my other housemate and the tour guide and shags, with shags’ long beautiful big legs reminding me of thoroughbreds and my friend emlyn, and shags’ constant advice and encouragement making me wish i’d played sport as a tiny girl and had some long-legged man like this to carve out a dream for me that i might actually reach. my kicks became stronger, flatter, less of the loping balls into the air, and more of a direct path to the waiting chests across the field.
and then some of us went down to the ocean, and later ate in tension and sunset up on high stools in the fish cave, jorge explaining his rainbox ayurvedic diet to me but perhaps finding it too strange when i asked whether plants talk to him ever.
umm… so yeah, i didn’t take any acid. but i saw patterns. i got better at footy. i thought about Old Leatherman and what it takes to be really good at something – so good that people know you for it. you just have to care about it and do it a lot ……………… round and round
(image by Ben Macdonald)