1. “Supernatural Superserious” – R.E.M.

It starts like this: the immediate slash and burn of guitar. And a voice reminding us that there was once a time in our lives when we were ghosts, so supernatural/superserious in the face of this occasionally cruel world. Pasts we can hide from, pasts we can ignore, rediscover, reinvent, or simply embrace and accept as they are. As we are.

 

2. “Screenwriters Blues” – Soul Coughing

Cruising these late-night LA streets, we’re forever young and beautiful. Upshift. Downshift. Red lights lead to green lights lead to exits. Out. Of. Town. Twisting freeways of deep-groove beats. Puppy love gone savage automatic weapon. Blinking neon. Bristling phone lines. Wheels humming insomnomaniacal mantras into road.  It’s all a crazed and untamed energy, like electricity going through puberty.

 

3. I Love Livin’ In The City” – Fear

We love living in this city, where every day is Dreamsday. Where every day we can stand strong in our own skins, or so easily escape into the Underworld of eternally jeweled skies, mirrors, and makeovers. People escaping old lives. Exchanging old lives for new lives. New old lives. Slip into those lives. Feel what it’s like—even for a moment—to wear another person’s name, face, wounds, and white, white teeth.

 

 

4 & 5. Could You Be The One” – Hüsker Dü / “Divine Hammer” – The Breeders

We drive faster. I crank the stereo. It’s that music of you: the mix tape I hear whenever I see your face. Raging beat and razor guitars tear the veins of joy wide open. I gladly bleed that music of you. The ecstatic, soul-pneumatic music that transcends all boundaries—AM, FM, skip wave static attack. Mixed in with that music are the words of those tattooed neon love goddesses calling out from late-night Hollywood Hills: “Could you be the one? That one divine hammer. The one I can bang all day.”

 

6. Hljomalind” – Sigur Ros

Not so much at the mercy of gravity, but more because I now find myself an adoring planet drawn into your orbit, I lean into you. Spin around you. Become you. Share the same blood type as your obstacles and angels. I tell you that if I were a Venus gun and its one and only good bullet in the chamber, I’d be all over you in a bad way.

For tonight, we are life everlasting. The rest is flesh, blood, bone, and sweat.

 

 

7. “The Cross” – NaS

Over the airwaves, under the skin, God is a beat machine. For him, for you, I carry the cross.

 

8. Machine Gun” – Portishead

This music: the dark, honey-slow music I hear whenever I see your face. It drifts through me like a morphine drip. Before I go under for the last time, I do my best to memorize what the air feels like when you move through it.

 

9 & 10. Kids” – MGMT / “High and Dry” – Radiohead

This music: the glittery, heartstring-bending music I hear whenever I see your face. It drifts through me. Drifts out of me and through the open windows of your eyes. Lingers inside you for a moment, tunes your darkest chaos frequency to shimmer, then floats effortlessly up into this bejeweled LA night sky. Becomes one of its many diamonds.

 

11 & 12: Wah-Wah” – George Harrison / “Goodnight Rose” – Ryan Adams

This late-night LA sky: awash with wah-wah guitar and bodhisattva bliss. It’s an effigy to everything and absolute emptiness. In this world of everything and emptiness, we keep driving. The music of you keeps playing.

Its sweetly aching final words: “Goodnight rose. Goodnight rose.”

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RICH FERGUSON has performed nationally, and has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, Exene Cervenka, T.C. Boyle, Jerry Stahl, Bob Holman, Loudon Wainwright, Ozomatli, and many other esteemed poets and musicians. He has performed on The Tonight Show, at the Redcat Theater in Disney Hall, the New York City International Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, South by Southwest, the Santa Cruz Poetry Festival, Stephen Elliott’s Rumpus, and with UK-based poetry collective One Taste. He is also a featured performer in the film, What About Me? (the sequel to the double Grammy-nominated film 1 Giant Leap), featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, k.d. lang, Krishna Das, and others. He has been published in the LA TIMES, Opium Magazine, has been widely anthologized, spotlighted on PBS (Egg: The Art Show), and was a winner in Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match, LA. His spoken word/music videos have been featured at poetry film festivals throughout the world. Ferguson is a Pushcart-nominated poet, and a poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown. His poetry collection 8th & Agony has been published by L.A.’s Punk Hostage Press.

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