It's the end of August in Georgia and late in the evening. The valves on the front cylinder of my Harley are clicking a little bit and I'm squatted down in the pavement right outside the roll up shop door adjusting the slack out of the push rods. In walk this couple, pretty well lit by the way they were carrying on. The girl was especially brash and had a cool swagger about her. I wasn't paying either one of them any attention though 'cause i was busy turning a wrench on that bike so I could get a good test ride in before dark.
The girl comes over directly and asks me "what are you doing?" Starts pointing and putting her hands in my way leaning over my shoulder all in my business, like "what's this? What's that?" This mother fucker has just come in the shop with her boyfriend and is all in my shit right off the bat. She's like "take me for a ride! c'mon take me for a ride" with out any discretion or hesitation at all. About the time I'm getting good and irritated she leans over my shoulder again, long blonde hair all in my face smelling like Chanel on nice sheets and says "Oh, hey I'm Harkey". I give in a little and stand up to get a good look at her. There she stands 5'11" hands on her hips lean and fine as hell with this irresistible menacing smile on her face. Harkey is trouble from the get go.
Of course we go for the motorcycle ride. I take us down to this long straight flat in the road by the river bottom and turn the throttle on that scoot wide ass open. The bike runs hard and right. Harkey and I ride that mother fucker like we stole it. We blaze on a few miles out of town and pull off the highway by this big farm. We're standing there next to that motorcycle on the side of the highway with this great big orange moon rising in the dark sky the smell of wet grass and Harkey drifts in the cool night air. I'm like "let's just disappear". Harkey's down and we leave out for the country with out telling anybody where or what we're doing. There's not anything about that girl I don't like.
That was it, we were together for more than 2 years from that evening on. Harkey was a whole fascinating world of joy pain laughter cunning and physical expression. She was in her last year of collage getting a degree in horticulture. I liked to watch her tend the plants around the house. She inspected cut trimmed and planted with effincey and purpose. In our bedroom Harkey had a 20gallon fish tank with a gold fish in it. The sound the filtration system made was extroidinary. To this day the sound of a fish tank turns me on.
We were wild and debaucherous together. We were devoted to each other. We had different cycles and periods of ease and of strife. Towards the end of our relationship there was a particular night that changed things. Harkey was haunted by her past like many of us are. On this night we were in bed and she began behaving in a way i'd never seen. She would initiate intimacy and then rebuke it strongly. Over and over and over. I knew her well and she was acting out some stuff. You know this kind of thing is all about trust. Anyways, i acted out this episode with her. It was intense and crazy and traumatic. We were both freaked out by it. Mostly me. This night along with other things that had caught up to us and were taking their toll on us added up to a melt down.
I decided we'd go to California. I got tickets and we left two days later. We landed in Los Angeles with no plan at all. We got a car and drove to the coast from LAX found a little hotel in Venice Beach. The small details are what I remember the most. Right when we got to the room Harkey went to draw a bath. There was no stopper for the tub so she got a glass and put it over the drain hole in the tub. Water poured out of the faucet into the glass and then boiled out into the tub. It was amazing. Another detail: i had a fresh tattoo my friend Sandra had flown down from Boston to Georgia and given me four days earlier. Harkey and I were in the parking lot of the hotel in Venice and she touched the tattoo and got some neosporine on her arm. The way she wiped it back on me was so fucking erotic and dirty. Slow and totally aware of people watching us in the parking lot.
We hung in LA for a while, saw Rev. Horton Heat at The Whiskey, some more debauchery, and then went north. Ended up in Santa Barbara for a little while. There I met Freddy Negrete for the first time. He put an incredible tattoo on my left arm. I'm still in love with that tattoo. Then we went to San Fransisco and back down to LA.
I don't remember exactly how we ended it but it was basically over when we left California. We had a great time but there was nothing left to keep us together in Georgia. I've been trying to get back to Los Angeles ever since. Always some reason or justification why it wasn't the right time kept me from it. Thankfully i ran out of excuses and did get here after all.
From Harkey I learned a slow relaxed way of sensuality. She adored me 'cause i didn't care what people thought about me. Her approval gave me the confidence to follow my path. She had great spiritual integrity and powers of obversation and humility. She was wonderful.
I battled my demons alone for a while. There was one girl though not among "the four" that I dated for a short time. I'd gone into this strip club and gotten real tight. I knew they'd throw me out if they saw how tight i was. So I found a corner and passed out under this table. Well, this dancer wakes me up and takes me home with her. I stayed with her for 6 or 9 months. She was cool. The closest thing we ever had to an argument was one day(i'll open all the kitchen cabinet doors looking for something and leave'em that way)she said "Boo can't you close the cabinet doors?" That was it, the closest thing to cross words we ever had.
So I was at the stripper's place sitting there with my jeans on and no shirt, this chic comes over (friend of a friend) and she's just this bombshell. She was wearing some kick ass platforms and she's like 5'10" barefoot and she had a bad ass attitude and a rockin' body. I was like "hey girl, i like your kicks". She thought that was funny.
A couple days go by and I see her out somewhere and we go carousing. It was a warm late summer night and the street lights looked like stars. We get to know each other a little exchanging child hood trauma stories and declerations of wierdo dorkdom. She has a great accent and sexy voice. Her Laugh is loud and hardy and makes me laugh. So we'd set out to caberet around walking from one joint to the next and kissing in the street under the lights. We were kind of pushing each other around and I pinned her against a brick wall and kissed her on the mouth and she pulled my hair. She's Polish, in vet school, georgous, just a screamin' blast to be with, and the sexiest goddamned kisser. Oh! This girl is fuckin' cool. I mean that shit out in the street, playing around and carrying on and all like that, was a complete dream.
So we make it to our next destination laughing histericly the whole way- walk inside and get a table. She sits down and I go to get drinks. I finally come back with drinks, so as I put the drinks on the table and sit down I slip and pull the whole table down launching the drinks into the air and landing on my back with the table on top of me. It takes a minute to climb from beneath the wreckedge and when I pop back up expecting to see my new platform wearing polish vixen laughing... she's gone. She actually left me there. There's not anything about that girl I don't like.
We wound up staying together for more than 2 years. I called her Juice. We had BullDogs together. It took a lot of research but I finaly found the exact blood line of American Bulldog that I was looking for. Johnson Bulldogs. I had one and my brother has one still. Juice discovered that a lot of bulldogs end up at the pound and make the best rescue dogs around. These kind of dogs are so laid back. They're great athletes too, like Boxers but not as high maintenance. Just wonderful animals. Completely sensual but self possessed and not needy. Bulldogs have this cool arrogance about them. They've actually got a sense of humor. I swear to God i'm not puttin' you on. These mother fuckers are funny. My brothers Bulldog "Judge" will get a damned rock off the bottom of a swimming pool. No shit. I don't know... it was a big part of what we did together, I loved it. She loved it. It was so cool to see her walking down the street wearing her stacks and jeans with a t-shirt and a pair of Ray-Bans, and these badass Bulldogs wearing spiked collars in tow. Dammit Man! I mean these mother fuckers were so well behaved they'd piss on command. They'd do anything we asked'em to. Juice was great with them. They fuckin' worshiped that girl.
Juice and I listened to great music together. Thinn Lizzy, Tom Waits, Chaka Kahn, The Neville Brothers, AC/DC, NWA, Tupac, Nina Simone. Not only that she was a child prodigy concert pianist. I mean she could play shit like Debussy and Tchaikovsky up to tempo. We got way into music together. I actually quit playing for a while. Juice says i still played but...
Anyways we read a ton of books together and watched movies all the time. Shit like Harry Crews, Ann Rice, Aynn Rand, Scott Fitzjerald, Faulkner. Movies like "Water for Chocolate", "Eyes Wide Shut", "Being John Malkovich","Cool Hand Luke" and "Run Lola Run".
One time Juice and I fell out with each other pretty bad. We did shit like, she'd get out of the car, you know like "fuck you i'm goddammned walkin'!" But this time was worse than the usual coffee mug flung at my head or some such gesture. This time she got quiet and cold about it. I knew it was bad. So the next day i'm a ways up north on Hwy 85 and I see this concrete statue wholesaler. You know stuff like Sambo holding a slice of watermelon, frogs as big as wash tubs, deer, of course Bulldogs(we are in Georgia), mushrooms, bird baths, and all such kind of other concrete lawn art. So i buy an entire long bed truck load of these concrete lawn statues and head for home. Juice had this nice little house with a small front lawn. I sneak up to make sure nobody's home, no one is, and i place the entire load of statues on her front lawn. I mean you could hardly walk through there it was so full of these 75lb. concrete lawn statues. Absurd? Yes. Effective? you bet your sweet ass. Juice was floored by my trashy yet substantial gesture and so moved that she took me back by the end of that day.
Juice is from New York. We'd go up to her parents place up the Hudson River Valley and visit and spend time in The City too. Seems like every time we were there Elvin Jones was playing at The Blue Note and we'd go see him. Really, like 4 different times just by chance. We always stayed at Gramercy Park Hotel. I like that place, hadn't stayed there since it's been renovated. Anyways, we had great times in New York. I love that city.
One New Years we were there... I had a broken left femur. I'd been hit by a car while riding my old '47 Knuckle Head back down south. Juice was there the night it happened. She was great. Man, that fucked me up. I mean the pain and looking down to see my leg all twisted up and going this way and that. Fuck! Juice was cooler than hell though. Just dealt with it. What're you gonna do.
I used to go watch her do large animal surgeries when she was on call. You know, her beeper would go off in the middle of the night and she'd head to the hospital. If it was a good surgery Juice called me and I went down and watched while they had a horse up on the table for a colic surgery or something.There was a great big viewing window 'cause it was a teaching hospital.
The reason I bring up New Years in NYC that year is that i had that broken leg and some how we missed our cab after a show and it was fuckin' freezing and I was in so much pain i kinda lost my shit a little. I was fuckin' pissed and i was an ass about it. Juice didn't mean to have me out in the cold in that shape. What're ya gonna do.
Yeah, that whole broken femur deal had an impact on our relationship. Juice was in a high pressure situation finishing vet school and i was pretty stressed myself and that was before the broken femur. If that hadn't of happened... who knows...
Check this out... After Juice graduated Vet school she went off to do an internship. Time and distance did their thing and sadly we lost touch. We didn't speak for years... So I'm down in Alabama doing a little time and I get this note sized card addressed to me at the correctional facility. My name and the address written in the same pen. I open the parcel and the note says "Hey Boo, heard you were back in Bama and thought I'd drop you a line while i know where you are. That girl is so fuckin' cool. We've been writing and talking ever since. Juice came out to Los Angeles last spring and it was so great to see her. I'm crazy about that girl.
After Juice left for her internship I got busy running away from myself. Hauling horses selling furniture and antique heart pine lumber. I stayed on the road a lot. It was lonley escapism. Some time went by i was doing fine and there was this girl Jael a couple of my buddies kept telling me i had to meet. Finally i'm like "ok, i gotta meet this chic." So i'm over at an oil & canvas painter/ sculpter friend of mine's place and this tall black haired girl drives up an gets out, just like "how 'bout that fellas". She's so outrageous i refuse to pay any attention to her. I can't. This mother fucker scared me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't let on like she scared me. But i was sure as hell playing close to my vest.
Of course since I was all preoccupied and distant she had to have me. This girl was like "look mother fucker i get what i want and you better goddamned like it". Hey, with a pitch like that and the body she had who was i to be objectionable. So we embark on a relationship which for me had some definate boundaries. Jael was completely fucking wild. She was a professional dressage rider. Great athlete, long and strong and lean. Her area of expertise and inteligence was kinetic and social. Jael could talk somebody into eating dirt and likeing it. She was flashy. Her physical presence was so strong.
Like i said, i kept some healthy boundaries and it was cool with me like that. For her though she didn't like the way my detachment or separation felt. Jael was patient. Her physical intelligence was incredible. Really, she's a fuckin' genius. Jael was goddamned crazy about me too. I mean this mother fucker lived and breathed me. So after 6 or 8 months of this I start to get a little soft spot in my heart for this girl. One day, and she'd been on her best behavior leading up to this day, she tells me she's unhappy. "What's wrong?" I ask. Jael says she needs a commitment out of me... "and that would make everything ok?" I ask. "Yep, that'd do it baby" and she smiles kinda psycho scary like. So we get engaged. Jael wears my Great Grand Mother's platinum ring. I actually knew my GG Mother. Her name was Easy and she had a grandfather clock that struck 13 times. Anyways Jael's happy as a clam. I'm happy too. In hind sight though the whole thing did have a peculiar twist to it some how. Subconsciously I don't think i was waiting for the other shoe to drop... i was waiting for men in white coats to come and take one or both of us away.
Really though, Jael was extraordinary. She came from old Bayou blood and had an ancient sense of intuition. She was tortured as hell and dark but stared with determination straight into the light of the spirit. There was all kinds of wierd abstract skill she had, flash bartending, incredible club dancer, DJ, a hellacious hustler, print add and runway model, educated nutritionist... great traveler, shot pool like a mother fucker... and a full time professional dressage rider... There's not anything about that girl i don't like.
Jael and I were infamous. It was like a fuckin' movie the life we lived together. It was subtle and sophisticated, soulful and mysterious, tender and violent. It was "Snatch", "Eyes Wide Shut" and "On The Water Front". The break up was traumatic painful and tragic. Oh my god... it was so bad. It made me sick. Even before we crashed and burned I saw it coming and was helplessly compelled to live it out scene by scene. Jael had a delayed reaction and called me from the hospital three months later hooked up to an iv in the midst of a full on nervous breakdown. There was nothing i could do for her. I'd gotten healthy again and was doing allright. I wanted to reach out to her but i couldn't. I had been spending time with some one new and it would've hurt her badly if I went to Jaels aid.
It took some time for the dust to settle once Jael and I were done. For me it was survey the wreckage, walk away and fade to black. Jael tried to rock on through but it all caught up with her by the time she called me from the hospital. I wrote and recorded at least half of my last record just before, during and after our engagement and break up. Jael listened to a lot of DJ music, Chemical Bros, Crystal Method, Paul Okenfeld. We used to hang in Atlanta where she knew a lot of DJs. That's how i got started playing guitars on that stuff in Atlanta. She introduced me to DJ Chrisis who became a good friend and an important player to me. Jael turned me on to the fashion designers in Atlanta too. I started wearing some different kinds of threads. Particularly cloths made by Wayne Van Nuygen.
Anyways, I moved on and got alright.
Like i said, i'd met some one new, Petra. I might have been a little skittish and wounded but Petra was so beautiful and interesting that I was willing to take another chance. She spoke three languages, she was a great athlete, a good Catholic girl, quick witted and laughed with shameless abandon. Petra had an incredible sex appeal. I couldn't keep my hands off of her. She was 5'7" and very fit. Her legs were perfect and, well, the rest of her too. I got way into Petra. Every day she would reveal a new piece of herself to me, requiring that i acknowledge it. Being with Petra was a spiritual experience. Like Ender's Petra from Orson Scott Card's book she helped me develop my skills and battle the buggers. She had me. There's not anything about that girl i don't like.
Petra turned me onto musicals and cabaret. She always had a finger on the pulse of hot R&B and dance music too. I was crazy for this girl. I really tried to be the best person I could for her. We even started going to Mass together. It was my idea. She made me want to be better. I love the life we lived together. She looked so good in cloths and had the greatest style. Petra was outspoken and humble she was considerate and cruel. She had vision and scope. Petra lived on the edge.
It was with Petra that I finished that record. She was such a huge influence on the way i was writing and playing. All the songs got real clear, I was playing the hell out of my guitars, and these big ass drum beats emerged out of the music. I love the way it happened. I wrote "Rollin' By" for Pettra. It was so soulful and funny and sounded great. Petra is the one that introduced me to rapper Big Earl. I wrote "B Ok" for Petra too. I love all that music that came from her. "Horses & Gold" came from that time too, it was like my blues song of being with her. You know, "I'll trade you 2 good hearts for all your horses and gold". That was my desperation to be with her, to stay with her to provide what we needed to survive. That record sounds like Petra to me. And I love the way that record sounds.
Petra was unexpected like a thousand foot vertical drop. She was unpredictable like a wave in the Pacific. Petra was mysterious like the light of the sun reflecting off the moon illuminating the ink black night. She's haiku and epic. Petra is somewhere helping a child she's lost and found and wild...
If I don't have another love in my life i lack nothing. I have loved and been loved completely. I've seen beyond the veil and heard the whisper of a woman's soul before the dawn. I can still smell her sleeping. I can feel her finger nails on my skin. I can see the light in her eyes when she is glad to see me. There's not anything about that girl I don't like.