In the conference room, where I have lunch each day with two of my favorite people in the world (I am very lucky), I found myself tapping my fingers in constant rhythm against the long, veneered table. Why was I doing this?
I received a voicemail from Eileen on Friday night, which said something like: "You missed my phone call again, and I’m here with Sean and Omar and Allison and Justin and Lauren and Scott and Cheryn, and we’re all waiting for you, and you’re lame."
I just want to sit here and be alone and think of her and drink Brooklyn Lager and listen to music and feel the cool new autumn wind blow through my open windowas soft and as right as her hand pressing mineand forgive me, please friends, forgive me, but I’m tired and I’m happy and is there anything so wrong with that really?
The AZ9345 is on right now. And it sounds pretty damn good to me. I’m listening to Smog’s latest album, A River Ain’t Too Much to Love, and god, I love it. I love it. I don’t even know exactly what it is. I keep wondering, “What is it? What’s so great about this album?”
The music we made in Genie Boom was not unlike the music made by the pumps and steam lines and reactors of Firmenich. Michelle drummed on garbage cans, a red school bell, a gas tank, whatever banged. Todd pressed buttons on his Casio synthesizer and Roland drum machine. I plugged five cheap guitars—old Silvertones and Kays, before they became popular—into whatever amps I could find, turned the knobs on my effects pedals all the way up, and screamed the lines from my poems into the guitars’ pick-ups.
Throughout college, Michelle and I—along with our very good friend, Todd—played in a performance art/noise rock band called Genie Boom. We took the name from the sky-blue steel beast that you sometimes see at construction sites, or on highways, or—here in New York City—even on Madison Avenue; the same sky-blue steel beast that I once used to propel myself a hundred feet into the air to install all sorts of I-don’t-know-what along the tanks and pumps and whatever else that make up Firmenich, the chemical plant where I worked at the time. They make flavors and fragrances; much of what you taste and smell everyday comes from Firmenich. I spent four summers there, painting curbs and railings “emergency yellow,” watching flaming bits of iron fall from the welders’ gloved hands, finding beauty in how smooth a beveled pipe could be.