Sunday, July 27, 2008


zig, joanie (dear friend) and i munching on falafel and chips when approached a man, blitzed. beer oozed from pores as he sat outside with us at our table. his words were savagely slurred by booze. save a few hostile exceptions, our time playing down at pioneer square has yielded kind and comfortable interactions, mutual respect.

this man made us all a little uncomfortable.

i played chords as the man (nameless) spoke of his troubles. the attached song "thinking about drinking" resulted. he spoke, stooped over a plate of falafel zig had passed across the table.

"thinking about drinking because of you" & "can you see me now" were two reoccurring phrases. we played, sang, the man made a couple of lewd comments directed towards joanie about a tongue bath, then he left to collect the things he had left on the side of the street.

"hard to see someone at that stage of alcoholism" zig said later as we walked to the pergola. too true.


i think we've been fortunate that the vast majority of our interactions with people at pioneer square have been good ones. there is a lot of pain, a lot of drinking, and a certain lawlessness in the occidental park area. we've heard that the police don't even bother to patrol the park after dark.

.methamphetamines, liquor, cocaine.

our friends in the area encourage us to stay the hell out of occidental park after 10pm. "it's dangerous, you don't want to go out there now," surf-naked dean advised. true true. people get hurt.

sometimes i wonder if we truly take this work seriously, paying the people enough respect. can we (two white men with well paying jobs and undergraduate degrees) empathize with some of these people who have had far harder, far darker histories? i think our working understanding of our time at pioneer square at this time is we relate through the great equalizer - music.

we write songs, we collaborate on songs, we're honest with those that we work with. we don't steal, we appropriate, we ask permission, we're respectful. we don't want to be fakes, we don't want to carry on the tradition of the privileged harvesting the soul from the undeserved.

but we are cannibalizing - " thinking about drinkin' " arose from the slurpage of someone's pain not my own. i've had trouble drinking, or have trouble not drinking. i've been to meetings, collected coins, and read with a sponsor from the big book, but i've dove to to the level of the nameless man. it makes me wonder what drags a body so low.

~ and then, how can we help?
~ and then, where comes the urge to help?

is this sincere?