Monday, January 21, 2008


In Alexandria, Virginia, a paved bike path connected the Stratford Landing subdivision to Fort Hunt Elementary school. Beginning behind a cul-de-sac of homes, the path led for probably 300 meters through thick dark pine and oak trees before reaching a clearing where a wooden bridge carried grade school kids over a creek choked with cattails, dropping them at the foot of the school playground.

In the denser part of the wood, at a time long before I discovered the path as a firstgrader, trees were removed and veins of dirt trails were worn in the steppes for dirtbiking. A few of the trails completed circles through the low ground of trees and honeysuckle, but most of them started at the top of cliffs and ended abruptly with dirt ramps of varying grades.

After school my brother Mike and I would get our bikes and head to the trails where I'd work out enough energy to be able to go home and focus on Super Friends. All the other kids had Mongoose bikes and they made fun of me and Mike because we had matching Huffys. (But it was Ronny who's handlebars cracked after his jump and sent him home crying with a bloddy nose.)

There would always be a point in my trailblazing when the excitement filled me with energy too ticklish and aggravated to contain in my Toughskins and I would sing my song - it is the first song I can remember writing:

Motherfuckin tittie suckin two-balled bitch
everytime I see you my tittie balls itch!

Then I'd scream "Big Balls!"* and throw myself over the cliff and into the rush of unknown danger and previously unattained velocity.

Occasionally my battlecry would get the attention of the Mongoosers. They'd look over from their pack and scream "Huffy Fag!" But I rarely heard them. My pulse had quickened to a point where my ears were shut off to outside ambience. Every atom in my brain was responding to the gnarled branches and rain divots in the trail. I was using all faculties at my disposal to gain as much speed as possible before hitting my mark on the ramp. If I caught good wind, this would only be the beginning, and I'd aim my vessel for the void in the trees that led deeper into the woods.


This blog is a toast to last night's recording session at Kevin's which was one of only two times I've tried to record songs I've written over the years. Following in the spirit of "Huffy Cry, 1978" the songs that resounded most strongly during the session were the ones that started from a flood that could not be contained, an energy strong enough at the time to make me forget that I didn't really "know how to play" guitar/piano, etc. But more than the songs (which may or may not suck) it is the willingness to jump again for the first time into the void that I am humbly grateful for. I don't think it would have been nearly the evening it became had I not had the earlier opportunity to read for an absent actor performing in Julian Sheppard's play. Thanks to Adam and the cast for the opportunity, and thanks to Kevin for the great night that followed.

* followed by a wickid guitar riff.

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