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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Iceland,Crazy Horse hands, and Germans sleeping

In honor of Neil Young kicking off his 2014 European Tour (revisited) this summer in Iceland, playing there for the first time ever with the boys from Crazy Horse....

(Remember last summer Poncho broke his hand and they had to cancel mid-tour?) Poncho said it was probably their last tour in an interview with Rolling Stone. Never say the word "last" to Neil Young unless it's maybe "Last Trip to Tulsa."

The beautiful hands of guitar players....

The show takes place at  Laugardalshöllin in Reykjavík on a Monday and my very Human Highway friend Michael will travel there to see it - all the way from Tennessee, from a place with road names like "Possum Paw," "Gnat Hill" and "Dug Hollow." Imagine that journey....

                                                         Reykjavík, Iceland

Michael and his students made the wonky T-shirts for last year's first-ever Human Highway gathering. It's a long story, Human Highway....a long road now under construction.

And so this is the first time Iceland is mentioned in a poem about the Human Highway journey, those we meet along the way and then somehow lose. But you know the saying: "No one ever said that life was fair."

The Last Time I Thought Of Iceland

The last time I thought of Iceland
it was the middle of a summer night
and there were two fans going that
sounded like the refrigerator generators
from our childhood.
A cat was scratching at the bedroom
door because a light was still on.
I watched your airplane travel in
an arc over the Atlantic ocean –
maybe 2 a.m. it moved across
Iceland on the flight tracker that filled
the computer screen.
All night long in tiny increments
the distance between us narrowed
and I practiced how I might look at
you the first time. Ok, so if he finds
me horrifying in some way there is
no plan B, I thought, and got out of bed
searching for that last cigarette I
had smoked years ago.
You tell me now that as you
stumbled out of customs after two hours
standing in line anxious
from all you’d heard about
America and how maybe the NSA would snatch you
and detain you in a small hot room
for days
suddenly someone jumped on you,
wrapped their arms around you tight,
like a blood pressure cuff,
squeezing so you couldn’t breathe.
I don’t recall doing this
but sometimes I still wake up in
the middle of the night with
the fans sounding like refrigerator
generators from our childhood
and I feel you beside me, smelling
like German after shave
and sleeping without moving.
Then I trace your journey back
as you arc high over Iceland, and I
think if I had the chance to do it all over
I would still have jumped on you
but maybe introduced myself first
as an NSA operative,
and then detained you, for years,
eating tomatoes and onions for
breakfast, even now,
Even today,
as I write this.

                                                   First American Lumberjack breakfast

 For Rainer.....who left too soon but I guess he was needed in another quantum reality.


Howell Posner said...

364 days ago I had my first German beer in Germany with Rainer at a Neil Young Cover Band concert in Berlin..a fine gentleman…we miss you brother!

p michael quinn said...

A beautiful tribute to wonderful Zuman. I am fortunate to have communicated with Rainer for a short time, but I wish I could have smelled the beer and onion on his smile.

Anonymous said...

i miss him so much.