American Pentimento        

(in progress)

John Pitarresi: Drums

In time, when you’re just another goofy old stoner from the town’s golden day, you might look back on this moment and recognize it as the concluding gasp of a brief Before as well as the opening note of a very long Thereafter.

You will always wonder, but you will never understand. Maybe it’s been triggered by an image or a gesture, a tone. But whatever this is you can’t label it good or bad, it just doesn’t work in those terms at all. But of anything you have so-far known this is the most intensely pure.

Whatever it is has just cut through you, and though you have somehow missed its arrival, you now feel engulfed by a dissonant beauty that gives you vertigo and cravings that can flay you from the inside.

Things will never be the same, and you will chase this moment to the end of everything.

Your childhood is over! Yes you will play, but now there will always be an ulterior purpose behind it, and you can’t possibly imagine how many years you will live alone with your incomprehensible wounds and ecstasies.

Someday you will hear people describing their first experiences with meth or crack, and of how in the click-of-a-watch their lives were rocketed into a brief existence worthy of the word, where every previous aspiration has been downgraded in deference to a state of hyper-colored grace,

And just like them, striving to go higher than they can possibly go, you will seek forever another moment as crystal-like as this.

You will never again be a child. When you dream the dreams no child should ever dream it’s a one-way crossing.

In time, this moment will downgrade into a memory of a memory: an orchestral crescendo patched through a lo-pass filter, but it will still resonate with an urgency that only the lost child can fully comprehend.

And you sense that if there’s a God, this is one of the things he holds for himself.



Jay O’Rourke: guitars

John Pitarresi: drums and percussion.

Frederick Moore: voices, keyboards and bass

Produced by Frederick Moore & John Pitarresi

He knows a girl with secrets, / She has her hidden sides. / They’re really not so different / Leading their hidden lives.     

On the evening train / She sits just like a princess, / He stares for just a moment more.

Beautiful Monster . . .  

There is a bar on third street / With sawdust on the floor. / He’s focused on the dance floor / Just like he was the song before.

Every move she makes / He feels his chest crack open, / He hopes for just a moment more.                 

In the strobing light he can see / Her silhouette still lost and free. / I don’t care, / I don’t care, he says.

The bars close at two and the trains have stopped running, so he follows from a distance. Ordinarily she walks east to skirt the park, but this time she heads toward the north end. Like in an old detective film this part of town always seems darker than anywhere else, so he stays close enough to hear her footsteps and see her outlined in the dim streetlight ahead. She moves quickly and soon crosses Main Street into that neighborhood near the river. It                      feels less threatening here, but he still follows until she approaches a large Victorian. She ascends the fire escape to a second-floor apartment whose door suddenly opens as she approaches. He realizes that he knows the guy who lives here and he stoops behind a car.

On the morning train / She sits just like a princess. / He lingers just a moment more.

Beautiful Monster . .

We need to move fast this time,

We’re gonna get quite wet,

A river of foam and brine. 

We’re gonna be spied on,

An army of drones with eyes.

We need to be careful.

A lonely fountain, 

An odor of turpentine, 

A mountain of dry dust,

A valley of ash and grime,

They’re gonna be walled in,

But we can be be unconfined

If we only keep moving.  

I don’t see some referee

Who gets to call the lives we lead,

Just globs of flotsam lost on the sea.

Up there the help is all underpaid,

But it’s what they reach for

A summer of sun and haze,

And it all adds up to

A life in the Palisades.

They wanna be there.

I can see what I can see,

But I don’t see a referee 

Who I can trust to really see me.

I’ll take my share of what I see.

Back there, we’re made to wear cuffs and blinds,

Back there, to even be born’s a crime,

Back there, they want to take what’s mine,

We better keep moving.  

I won’t be that guy for free,

I’ll take my share of what I see.

And we can have babies who’ll grow to be,

And they can be children, they need to be children.

I don’t believe in unconditional love,

But when I fall, I fall without condition.

Suspicion feels like truth to me,  

But with you I suspect nothing.

Let me be your masochist martyr,

Let me be one of your happy flowers.

You can be my dark perfection,  

With your GOP sass, and your one-percent ass,

So I call out, “Shake it Baby, shake it Baby, shake it!

Shake it like a smallpox blanket.  

Fake it Baby, fake it Baby, fake it.

Fake it for this Chopard bracelet."

His words are to fathom,

He seeks a kind of dark perfection.

He roots for the random,          

Right or wrong, weak or strong.    

He hints at salvation,

A kind of bland but sweet confection.  

A due dispensation: 

 “Say ‘yes’ and I will happen to you,"

Under a Dark Moon

And we’ll wail away on some dive-bar stage.    

In a dark room,

We’ll find a splintered haze and a spark.


At first she strays, but then she stays;

She has her own kind of sense inside her.

She goes her own way,

Right and wrong, weak and strong.

She works random laughter,

Like hot wine that sparks inside her.

She goes her own way,

Right and wrong, right and wrong.  

Under a Dark Moon 

Where we’ll wail away on some dive-bar stage,

And we’ll wander  

Through the wonders of our mangled song.            



At work he often passes his time making a list of things he could wish for: a little more space to set up his drums, a little more free time, maybe a little less self-loathing. But this is it. These are his imaginable wishes.

He works for an insulation outfit where dozens of times per hour and hundreds of times per evening he calls the owners of homes, half-hoping that they won’t pick up. But when they do he greets them in a manner calculated to calculated to inspire their confidence and their trust, and he says to them, “Hey, tomorrow we’ll be out on your block and we can inspect your insulation for free. There’s no obligation, it’s perfectly free.

Typically this is where they hang up, and come the end of his shift, he often leaves without having produced a single promising lead. But what’s worse is when someone turns it around on him, like the woman with the truly sweet voice asking him, “Michael, aren’t you ashamed of being such a loser, interrupting hard-working people at home with your bogus offers, when all you’re really doing is reciting some sales pitch?"

Something’s been lost, something’s broken. This morning there was blood in one of his eggs. Surely nothing is pure, and even the dreams of a puppy will grow into a cancer if he’s been beaten enough, especially when he knows that he’s done it all. Something’s been betrayed; something’s been defiled; something’s been taken down!


We’ll find our own way.

We’ll find our own way.

We’ll find our own way.

We’ll find our own way.

Till the histories are set down,

And our bones are white from sun washing,

We’ll find our own way,

Right and wrong, right and wrong.

Under a Dark Moon,

And we’ll sail safe through an umbrous gloam,

Into the long swoon,

And the wonders of our mangled tunes.