Monthly Archives: June 2004

“ghosts from the past” from anna :)

Dear Cheryl,
I don’t know if you remember me – I’m Brian’s old friend, Anna. We met a very long time ago, but over the years I’ve kept up with what you’ve been doing both through Brian and through your website and journal. I don’t know why I never contacted you before now, maybe shyness?
Anyway, last night I was reading my friend Aleta’s journal, and there was a picture of you! What a coincidence that you are friends with her as well. I took it as a sign that I’m supposed to say hello finally. 🙂
You know what’s funny? Last September I went out to CA for Inland Invasion, and I saw you there…outside, picking up passes…we were right next to each other. I knew it was you, but I was so shy and so fearful that you wouldn’t know who I was that I didn’t say anything. I just looked at you and wished that I could scream out CHERYL! and have you not think I was insane. You are the kind of person that doesn’t leave my memory. All my best to you…I wish you much happiness. Love Anna

{wowowowowow! ya mean, people actually READ this stuff i write here? lol! hee hee~ sososo… if any of you, my precious and welcome ghosts from the past are reading this, i want to hear from you! write me, yayaya! 🙂 ~cheryl}

after an evening of partying i find myself back at the summer solstice festival that i’m on staff for. my eyes are involuntarily closing… i round a pond and lay down in grass with others gathered for a string concert. so peaceful here. once here, i’m glad i volunteered but tearing away from editing and satiating my tired eyes with something called Sleep, was painful. now i turn back to these happy musicians. i lingered like a ghost at the back of lisa lynn’s harp workshop again today. she was using loreena mckennitt’s music to teach to. after i learn the hammered dolcimer, i will conquer the harp!

more awake now… i live in my toe-tapping, listening to a song called ‘goddess’ about wings of fire and crying like rain. i live in the wind through my hair and the heat of the sun smoothes out all my goosebumps caused by a late afternoon breeze.

“what time is it?” a woman asks me in between songs. apologetically i tell her that i never carry a watch. “ah, another like me…” “yes,” i tell her, “it’s never good to be chained to time.” we smile and she nods at me and walks on. the two sisters on the stage singing in harmony are causing heart eruptions. i like how they chide each other between songs and i like the stories behind their songs. most of all i love their music in the afternoon sunlight.

children hold corn husks and a little girl in a sunflower dress twirls. as the wind picks up the first layer she loses her balance laughing. swans in the lake, tents, bare feet, a clustered group of harpists plucking their strings til twilight.

this weekend is coming to an end, so says the coming sunset and everyone has gathered at the main stage to hear the best of the bands. they’re raffling off dulcimers and harps and i’m salivating… me some! me some! but no, staffers are not allowed to do raffle…ratza fratza… musicians with long hair and various black cases strapped to their backs walk in the distance. a band called ‘nightingale’ from vermont plays on… piano, violin, guitar, french vocals. their percussion is their feet. they begin a song about cabbage but it is so beautiful, i don’t understand why they would call it such a thing. guitar strums, accordian, and a gentle violin now.

the wind makes me instinctively hug my arms close. the music makes me set my palms firmly on earth behind me, projecting heart out, bare toes extended and pointed skyward. music like this makes me happy to be alive. the breeze calms and love inside makes me feel drunk despite distance and the unknowing.

floating thru a music festival, the breeze lifts my hair. i just took two hammer dolcimer workshops and am in love with the instrument. i talked to a girl with amethyst eyes about lisa gerrard and dead can dance before we pounded our strings in sync smiling.

today i drove the 101 highway by myself…and i didn’t die. i saw theresa at the entrance and i ran into blake who threw a great pool party a few weeks ago.

ancient strings surround me. my thoughts are of cory and my film. my two current passions… he is now heading up to mount shasta for the rainbow gathering for a week. i will use this time to complete my film. i’ve sunk into soft plush grass, legs open, heart surging, music all around me, happy fiddles, contra dances, harps in the distance.

cory and i are having so much fun together. every day together is endless adventure, comfort, connection and happiness. last night we drove to calabasas to the hotel that they are putting me up at for this summer solstice festival. cory and i took full advantage of the amnemities. it’s a wonder we didn’t get thrown out of the place. the pool, the hot tub, the sauna… every place is our playground.

a letter from brian sent to my childhood home (i didn’t think to check the mailbox when i was there…so dad forwarded it to me in l.a.)

dear cheryl,
one last letter for you at high ridge road. i’m glad to say our friendship has lasted this long…over ten years. yeah there were some bumps along the way, but we started out as friends, and we still are. at the moment i am sitting on city hall park in manhattan. this morning i’m going to buy the avid video editing software. who knew after all these years you would buy a video camera and pro-editing system and the same year i would be editing? from SMPTE timecode to dutch angle of an SVA hallway, we’ve come a long way. one day i do plan on coming out to california for a visit… hollywood…
please say hello to the duke and diana. your days of catching lightening bugs and suntanning with your sisters in the backyard on high ridge road have come to an end. most likely this will be the last time you wake up to far-off opera music that your neighbors play. ten years ago you became an aunt, this year i will become an uncle. what this city has offerred me in ten years i cannot put into words. thank you for opening it up to me. one day we may run into swei kwok again. i’ll tell him you said hi. later this week you will take your last bus down the 1/9 and stop off in howell in front of the taco bell. it may be years before you return to that neighborhood. soak it in, walk down that path with your sister, take that last walk around the block. knock on that neighbors door you haven’t talked to in ten years, but have been meaning to.
as you hold cardboard and packing tape cheryl, say goodbye to your childhood home.
yours,
brian

this morning i awoke with diana beside me in my father’s bed in his new house. i had a moment of confusion before i realized where i was. i lifted myself slowly out of bed so as not to wake her and crept like a mouse around this new place in early morning light, amazed how dad managed to fit most of the furniture from our five-bedroom house into this condo. boxes and scattered photographs rest on table. it will probably be weeks until he digs himself out. my task of the morning was to get my boxes of journals and childhood memories to los angeles. firstly by a friend’s free shipping at his work and the rest by UPS, all before danny comes to pick me up in 2 hours for an Adventure. i had misplaced my company’s UPS account account number so i called my roommate to get it from my computer back in LA only to discover that cory had stayed the night. i got the info i needed and it was a race against time. diana showered and helped me load 6 boxes into the jeep and filled out UPS forms. they couldn’t package up my antique writing desk and offerred no solution short of a $400 freight job so we shipped the boxes and loaded the desk back into the jeep for me to deal with at another time. diana and i ate breakfast at the colonial diner and then danny called that he was 10 minutes away. we met him back at the old house.

and then the goodbye to high ridge… final and done… hugs and cartwheels and i ran to my room feeling like i was forgetting something. i closed my closet doors slowly, ran my hand on the wall and then i saw what i was forgetting to take… a heart shaped prism that my first love, tj, had given me when we were 15 years old. it had hung in my window all this time shining light into my mornings even when i wasn’t tending to it. i pulled it with my hand and it was so loose and old that it came undone willingly.

one cartwheel in each room and… i ran out of my childhood home… wishing its new owners years of love and happiness in it. a shell discarded, a sentimental snapshot, a shared turning point. my sisters and i now make our own homes, without the safety of high ridge road, without the physical reminder of where and how we grew up. it’s all memory from here on out. we will be each other’s reminders… and my photos act as testaments as well. no tearful goodbye, no bay window meditation, just danny coming to take me out of my house for the last time… fitting, really… he is my oldest friend.

we drove to new hope, pa on a perfect day, dry shifting sunlight. sarah, danny’s wife, offerred me the front seat but i declined. “you are the queen. you ride shotgun!” in the back i was comfty cozy and catching up with not only great friends but with danny’s music as well. everything he listens to moves me. bands i’ve never heard before, like snow patrol and dios, seem to speak to me…

sarah was an agreeable chatterbox and danny was a smirking happy thing. the day was a kind of heaven. no where to be, just meandering along a mule-worn path next to a creek, springtime petals soft on the surface and young ducks wading through it. artisan shoppes, lunch in a garden with a fountain and light breezes, sangria… i bought incense and searched for a costume for the masquerade ball, so far to no avail. we saw a house of wrought iron madness being guarded by an alleycat, named ‘alley’, so says a passerby. i took photos of rich green leaves against vibrant blue sky.

we drove through winding tree canopies to their house in montclair, nj. i napped content in the backseat watching the world go by and upon waking entertained funny thoughts that really only sarah could understand because we’re so much alike. we even have the same fae laugh that danny brought finger to ear drum on more than one giggle-burst occasion. when we arrived at their place, it was golden hour and their place was alive in these shadow lights that my camera enjoyed thoroughly. danny cleaned the grill and sarah and i walked to whole foods market to buy things for our bbq picnic in the backyard. we passed old houses and curious flowers. at the market we ran into one of her friends who remembered the last time i flew in for a visit. we all walked the mile or so back together and found a fragrant patch of lavendar billowing out onto the sidewal. while i photographed it, they smelled it. the owner of the house opened her front door and told us we could pick some. we each picked one in delight and continued on home.

our backyard picnic consisted of veggie burgers, cucumber salad and sangria. we chased the last rays of sunset to film more. danny had brought ‘snowball one’ outside for a while. he has two white cats named ‘snowball’ (and he DOES play favorites!) snowball 1 went crazy happy in the grass. he’s 16 years old and the most beautiful cat i’ve ever seen. (sorry, stuart). plush white, different colored eyes and when you say his name, he meows big-mouthed, yet curiously silent. he got too crazy and danny had to put him inside. he stood pathetic behind the top window screen and danny looked as if he might cry as he stared up into the cat’s unfullfilled longing to join us. we spent some time inside before sleeping and i awoke 4 hours later worried about the journals and photographs that i dropped off at ups the previous morning. i signed onto the internet to obsess about them and to write emails. they were en route just fine. worry worry worry…release…

danny woke up and hugged me twice before leaving for work. sarah and i had a whole day of girlie shopping and yoga together in nyc. danny made sure we took umbrellas. i was so excited to be in the rain. it was odd to see someone check the weather before heading outside. los angeles is always a predictable variation of paradise. we went to a fabric store, a bead store. i bought three feather boas, pony tail holders in fae bursts, a gift for cory and a pink muppet top hat. we took a subway downtown to st mark’s place where i was shocked at all my favorite stores that were closed or that had moved. hardly any punks on st marks! shocking! we ate lunch at dojo’s on the patio as the rain fell all around us and stuck to my lungs. i am too used to desert air. we went to trash & vaudeville and walked to integral yoga, where we took a hatha yoga class together. integral yoga is my favorite place because of the sanskrit chants, the quality of the instruction and for how i feel for days afterwards.

i dressed for my cousin brianne’s wedding in the yoga locker room, fussing with hair and shawl and then walked in sandals through puddles to the subway where sarah and i parted ways, her to see a friend in hoboken and me to long island. after a train and a cab i arrived at the wedding hall in atlantic beach where my family was posed for a photograph at the entrance. i slipped in under my father’s arm just in time for the portrait. all my cousins looked beautiful and it was a great night just being together with them. we got our fill of each other, enough to coast us through til the next time we are all together again… a year possibly, maybe two, now that there are no more weddings or bar mitzvahs in sight.

big hugs and out into the world as marbles we went. dad dropped diana and me off at midnight at jfk airport. dad and i were swing dancing in the street as our goodbye. “when will we see each other again, pops?” i asked him as he dipped me. and then diana and i were fighting over who he should come visit first… “come to visit arizona!” “no, come to los angeles!” and then we waved goodbye and ran our carts into an empty airport terminal, our compasses set to mischief. the security guard halted our circus before it even began and sent us to a different terminal. we settled into a corner on top of air conditioning vents like birds laying out our nest for the evening. tapestries? check. boggle? check. frisbee? check. jack daniels? oh HELL yeah, ya know it. our boggle championship ended with me victorious and we passed out on the hard vents, our dreams punctured by overhead announcements.

a few hours later i opened my eyes to diana coaxing me to standing position, “coooommmeeee on, killer”, for her imminent flight to phoenix. without planning it, we both flew the same airline, one hour apart. her flight left out of gate 3 at 7am and mine left out of gate 5 at 8am. we sat at the gate like puffy-eyed monkeys and hugged goodbye… “do it again next week then, for your bday?” she said… “ooooh yeah! that’s right!” she’s driving to see me in just a week! i kissed her cheek. she kissed mine and off she flew, leaving me to my ipod and daydreams.

cleaning out our childhood home for the last time… our voices echo down the stairs and through the hallways. nothing left but dust bunnies and the things in our closets that diana and i put sadly into boxes. her in a dilapidated tiara, us listening to my mother’s music box playing over and over for lack of radio. the haunting melody bounces off the walls and slows in a scary way. “this is the most depressing night ever,” she says sitting on the hallway floor, our legs like bookends… i can’t speak… i throw another journal into an open box and hug her…

there is nothing like waking up laughing til it hurts. “remember the angry guy?!” daniel and i giggle how i egged him on, shrieking and shaking him into a frenzy. last night we had so much fun. it’s hard to beleive that all fit into one day and one night.

after a half hour waiting for the broken-down bus to start or be replaced, my nyc self kicked into high gear. “fuck this! where’s a cab and who’s coming with me to manhattan?!” i said as i dragged my suitcase past 30 stranded and confused travellers. yeah yeah welcome to new york, get in. lol~ a middle-aged woman with bright eyes piped up, a guy from africa and another woman from germany. i hailed a cab, haggled a price and threw our stuff in. things got real silly after that. the cabbie blasted techno and told us about bangladesh, where he’s from. i pulled out Life stories from everyone and by the end of the ride, we were all famous. so famous that we never shared our names. the cabbie took a shine to the bright-eyed woman and called her ‘sunflower’. the african man sat quiet and smiling in the front seat listening until he chimed in with his Story… sunflower and i remarked on the beauty in his voice, so eloquent and earthy. the german woman was very confused still about the bus but we were all laughing and she eventually put it behind her.

the cab left me off at 20th and 7th and i could not contain my excitement. i ran all the way down the street, ran right up the stairs and into daniel’s hug. “your EYES!” i told him “…your eyes are back… you have the vibe that you had 10 years ago!” and i meant that in the best way. he digested that, took a step back, sized me up and returned the same summary “YOU TOO!” and we had a ‘yay for us’ moment before i promptly made a mess of his apartment, opening suitcases and wine. i showered and dressed in the pink sari that cory made for me the day before . i told him i’m not taking it off and i meant it, i love it so much!

my sisters soon came and i jumped in place for one straight minute touching their hair and sniffing them, just to know that they are mine. adrienne had a great new haircut and diana was radiant. it wasn’t long before we were rolling on the floor laughing and hurting each other. brian showed up looking beautiful and mature, adding some balance to our chaos. daniel doesn’t play fair though. he’s a professional martial arts freakbag now and i have absolutely no bizness starting trouble with him… but, sometimes i just can’t help myself. daniel and i, in a past life, surely were those kids in kindergarten that tripped each other cuz we didn’t understand each other. there’s a constant sense of an old score to settle… or maybe we just invent scores to settle…

“the way to deal with cheryl is to be nuttier” – daniel

adrienne tells a story about cicadas that are crunchy. “they’re colored until they’re BLACK!” she said…and my imagination goes nutz.

my sisters, cousins and neice in the pool singing in harmony complete with dramatic motown moves “ain’t no mountain high enough… to KEEP ME FROM GETTING TO YOU GIRL!” makes this all worth it… i’d endure fevers, fire and brimstone ten fold to be here, to spend this time with my family. my grandmother just pushed cousin matthew into the pool much to everyone’s laughter. dad in a straw hat, dangling his feet in the pool. uncle eli sitting on top of the waterfall. tall evergreen trees surround us. this backyard is paradise. my aunt and uncle worked hard building their two pharmacies up and now they reap their rewards. having just invested in this beautiful pool, landscaping, a shed for uncle eli’s motorcycles with racing checker pattern flags and matching custom flooring.

“can i get a HELL YEAH!” cousin stef says as we lay together, all of us from different corners of the country gathered under the sun. and diana replies ‘AWWWW, HELLLLS YEAH!” chlorine eyes, wrapped like towel burritos. grandma does laps walking around the pool. she makes us nervous… she might dive in. we stop singing to watch her…then look at each other smirking… there is not one cloud in the sky. wind chimes and bird calls, oldies, red zinfandel, the waterfall, the sound of a ping pong championship in the making behind us on the deck. uncle eli now laying in the pool talking to dad, my neice with her long black braids…

NYC

on a flight from los angeles to new york city. My travel charms lay in my lap: a nyc subway token, a pair of red sparkling shoes… no place like home, indeed. I almost didn’t make the flight. Yesterday I found myself with 102 fever at providence urgent care… a viral infection. I was in pain from head to toe, sweating and nauseous. “this… is as sexy as I get” I said to cory as we left the hospital, my hair a mess, my body all clammy. He took good care of me all day. My fever went down and we had a picnic in the garden. I slept away the day and awoke feeling much better. He sewed me a pink and gold sari. I made him a music mix cd and then set to work on packing. The sari he made me is amazing! So comfortable and fits me perfectly. He also made me a beaded necklace with a dragonfly charm before he drove me to the airport. With his hand on his heart and the most sincerest of loving faces we parted ways, each to our journeys, me to nyc and him to Venice beach.

The plane takes off from lax and l.a. is like a pinch of salt that I easily toss over my shoulder, immediate disconnect. I cannot wait to land in nyc! Home home home! With sun glaring through the window as we float above the clouds now, I touch my dragonfly necklace and smile.

5:30pm – the airport shuttle bus broke down right outside of the queens midtown tunnel. I’m leaning on a lamp post while another bus is summoned. There’s a great breeze and the squeak of bicycle wheels. Small pebbles, potholes, impatient postures. I lift my head to the new york sun and feel it as a forgotten skin. Battered uHaul vans, an apologetic bus drive, that vows an early retirement with beads of perspiration on his forehead. None of it touches me… for me, it is a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I’m going to see my sisters and friends in two hours.

psychedelic donovan croons over us in a post-midnight new york city crowd in the village. i am with daniel and brian. my sisters are safe in a cab. we had many fun moments tonight. this is our third bar stop. the city that never sleeps! the candles flicker, the pizza is authetic and insatiable. the people, sexy, surreal and lost. i am in love with my friends for altogether different reasons…

brian steals my journal and writes…
“ck, sitting in a golden-hued bar. i’ve forgotten the name, but the music plays on wax spun by a dj to the night. the evening so far has brought cartwheels in the streets of ny. a suprise visit from the Korn sisters, great ny pizza in the lower east side while watching ‘ghost busters’ on an overhead telly. the glowing square-tile floor of passerby’s, great photos. tomorrow you will trek to monmouth county on a nj transit bus back to the homeland, back to the place of manasquan beach and point pleasant. i’m quite proud of how you have been inspired and shot a dozen hours of video to edit on your home computer. it’s somewhat liberating the freedom you have with the tools to create video and edit it yourself, become your own director, your own editor, your own camera person. cheryl, you are and always will be a writer. the tools to create visuals just illustrate your ideas. now if you can write and direct a film would be a true use of your talents. that may take time. now we’ve moved downstairs to the live band at delancy. the others, adrienne, diana, xackery, have all come and gone. you look good… the last time i saw you was a year ago at a TKK concert in nyc where you had a purple wig on. your sisters have grown up. diana’s voice has gotten so much deeper adn your sister, adrienne’s face reminds me of your mother. the features, the eyes, the facial structure. it’s odd, i never thought of it before, diana has matured, but i can still see her personality come out. i appreciate your praise of my photography cheryl. tonight the photos were shot fairly fast yet seemed to capture what you were looking for. i hope the rest of this visit to ny and the garden state is a fun weekend for you and your sisters. sorry you will miss skinny puppy at irving plaza tomorrow night… maybe, ck, we will collaborate on a video some day. at the moment i cannot edit 24p video, but if you shoot 30i i can… this is the end of this evening’s journal entry by brian”

i am surrounded by so much art and music. break beats, unavoidable hyperness, i jump in crowd and sway in rhythms. i am so thankful to be here, in an underground nyc club, 3 stops into a sunday dawn in my favorite city…favorite because of celebration, of endless pizza, of perfect time…