Parque México

by Kevin Dickerson

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1.
I woke up and made my girlfriend a latte But the soy milk was curdled and it grossed her out And I paid about $600 bucks to process some photos For the album I’m putting out Hopefully one photo will work For Everyone’s Okay And one more will work For whatever I’m going to call this EP I got a ride down to Bayview To practice some vocal scales Because you deserve the best well-practiced vocal lines And after Heather and I went to get lunch at Old J We shared a vegetarian plate and her boyfriend joined late We talked about how cruel men Working for Pinochet Smashed Victor Jara’s hands They tossed him out Like a bag of trash And filled his body full of lead The guys who did it Were found just last year in Florida and arrested Just last week I was on a rooftop in Mexico City Looking at an Aztec temple in the middle of downtown With my girlfriend drinking bottles of water Tossing a michelada down My master reels came back from Chicago For Everyone’s Okay And they arrived at my front door sometime While we were on vacation Who knows for how many days my reels were sitting In front of my apartment door Just sitting there in a box on the floor Of course I got everything else finished up And neglected the album art, that’s just how my brain works Last night I saw Ben Gibbard at Davies Hall Play songs that were bouncing around my head For twenty years, and me and my girlfriend shared a laugh When the more excited millennials in the audience whooped During “What Sarah Said” Whooping and hollering during a song about someone knocking on death’s door It made me think of all the ICU and hospital visits I had been on Not long ago his song would have brought my eyes straight down to the floor But me and my girl just shared a laugh at the young adults playing dress-up… Life goes on and on and on At home I was planning my next move And realized it was the anniversary of the Orlando Shooting And not too many days later the helicopters blared all morning Long, and my girlfriend Was on the couch and she said there’s a shooter at the UPS building And General Hospital was locked down And three people were shot dead And some crazy motherfucker shot four more At a baseball game in Alexandria I turned to you and asked you, “What do I do that makes you love me?” Life goes on and on and on and on Life goes on and on and on and on My friends welcomed a baby boy into the world Nine months to the day after their Tahoe wedding Life goes on and on and on and on And I pulled a muscle in my back While at the gym wailing on my lats And life goes on and on and on and on
2.
When people talk about their dreams I sometimes stop paying attention It’s not that I think dreams don’t deserve to be thought about I simply don’t think that mine are worth mentioning A lot of people read into their dreams like it’s some kind of window to their psyche And spend a lot of time thinking about different ways to interpret the symbology If you really need a metaphor to understand what I’m saying you might go with, “my dreams are my reality” Like the other night guess who popped into my head but my surgeon Dr. Knee And of course my new guitar was in my dream And I asked the dream version of Dr. Knee if she had any collectible coins As I had been concerned about my finances and how well my ankle would hold up in a hike in the woods Since we had recently got dinner with Christine And I was sipping on some ramen broth and eating soba noodles and she invited us to stay Up in her cabin in the north bay up in Monte Rio And we said fuck yeah Chris we’d love to join you We talked about the value of knowing your neighbors Christine said she's known hers for a long time I said 99% of the time I'd rather not know any of my neighbors I told a few stories of the strange interactions I've had in the past We walked home after dinner and a crackhead came out of the lobby front door just as i was coming in I saw his eyes they seemed vacant and crazy He was holding stacked high a bunch of packages, balancing them under his chin My neighbor was coming in right behind me holding his bag of groceries And we looked at each other and he said, “that doesn’t look right,” and he called 911 while I hurried over and confirmed that all the packages were gone He followed the crackhead into the Whole Foods parking lot And a woman who was just trying to buy some ingredients for dinner tried to get someone pulling into the garage to help get the exit blocked But the shopper was confused and didn't understand why everyone was running around waving their hands The thief sped out of the garage in his possibly stolen sedan Running a red light turning eastbound down 14th Street His tired squealed and some other car honked at being cut off like, “What the fuck are you doing?” And we stood around for a second and shrugged and I introduced myself to my neighbor and he said, "Hi, I’m Chris." And looked at my girlfriend and was like, “that crackhead just stole my sinus rinse.” The next morning we went up to the north bay The sunshine was beautiful and it was a perfect day I was wearing a funny outfit that made me look like an 8-year old I haven’t worn shorts since I left the East Bay and the ocean wind was a bit chilly and the breeze was nice and we sat right on the rocks and ate lunch and the tide came up and splashed on the rocks We drove Shoreline Highway On Chris’ back deck we were perching And the bluejays were chirping And we talked about HOA fees And we talked about lyme disease I ran into my barber John on my walk to the gym He said he had a funeral and from the Philippines A bunch of family had flown in And he told me squats were the key I said, “whatever you say goes, I’ve never managed a gym in LA” I just went to a funeral myself for Angie Hathaway In February and it still concerns me And what do you know poor JV just broke his ankle loading his van And I immediately I was like Dr. Knee! Maybe there is something to all this stuff about dreams after all And JV was like, “I love you” and I was like, "don’t worry my friend I’ve done this plenty of times, you’ll be hauling vintage plate reverbs around the city in no time again let me know if you need any rides." And I remembered hobbling around on crutches After Dr. Knee reattached a muscle in middle of my foot The guy who operated on me in the 90s just never put it back from where he took it He later was arrested for attacking a taxi driver in Anchorage while drunk And I called my dad because I saw the weather was getting nice again And we talked about guitars and he said, “Well as a matter of fact I was 'bad,' And the delivery guy just dropped off another one of your guitars— Well, you’ll get it once I’m gone” And we laughed and I said hey that’s too dark Dad, Tell me about your new Gibson And he said don’t worry about me son, time is something you can’t run away from And said he loves his guitar because it tunes itself! and it’s frickin’ awesome And we talked about how different things are than when he was younger And how the world is so full of wonder
3.
Nice Day 04:40
I woke up this morning and watched the sun rise As I normally do And I wrote lyrics while watching palm fronds wave in the Mission breeze As I normally do My girlfriend was fast asleep snoozin’ As she normally is at this time And I realized I was flush with cash This was new to me Within an hour I spent it all to pay off credit cards and my fucking student loans At thirty-five I don’t have the same opportunities that my parents did JV once told me there’s nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about being broke I guess he was right So let me get off this subject since the weather’s nice for once, I’m gonna call my dad and go for a walk outside I’m still a little jealous that my older brother got piano lessons It would come in handy right about now Just like every other aspect of life I gotta Make it on my own So I’m gonna figure out some new instruments To make some new tones And keep writing songs because that’s just What I do Earlier last week, Maryam and I were mixing “My Girl,” and we were at a good place to take a break and we were trying to figure out where to eat lunch. It can be difficult to find a restaurant that’s open at 3:00 PM on a Wednesday. 3:00 PM is a weird time—it’s after the lunch shift, but before the dinner shift. And after much discussion over the course of the afternoon we landed at Razan’s Organic Kitchen in Berkeley. I hadn’t been there since moving to San Francisco, and I was secretly pitting it against Old Jerusalem in The City—one of Maryam’s favorites. The owner came out and talked to us. He was really nice. Then later, after Beau got home from working with Tuneyards, Maryam said Razan’s was maybe better than Old J—score. My girlfriend just turned on the coffee machine, she Sure has a routine And the sun is getting up there and it’s making the fog Disappear We’re flying to Mexico City in a couple months, there’s a Mediterranean place over there that I like They use all organic produce too, just like Razan’s It’s really nice I can’t wait to sit outside in the sun and the warm shade In Parque México And sip on a coffee in the morning outside at Café Rococo
4.
Joya 10:23
Jenny was my childhood friend We grew up alongside each other, but our friendship came to a natural end She was smart, tall, kind, she had long hair and porcelain skin I don’t consciously remember drifting away, but a day came when I never saw her again We’d walk around for hours around town through the snow And down to the riverbanks I liked her peacoat Often starting from the lone coffee shop I missed Pedro the Lion play that place in the 90s or the early 2000s Jenny always asked me to copy albums for her And I gave her Paul’s Boutique, Slanted and Enchanted, and Joya Many years later I saw a super pregnant Dawn McCarthy perform with Will Oldham It seemed everyone from miles around was there Back then I assumed she used the music I copied for her to impress other guys We were both pretty broke back then, that wasn’t a surprise I always hated Weezer but I never told her. The Sweater Song is the worst. And I don’t listen to those albums like I used to I think of Jenny every once in a while But not that often And I guess that makes me think about how people drift apart I’m not the same person I was five years ago much less twenty There was nowhere to sit at my parents house I was embarrassed by the mess There was no one quite like her around She was my friend and not too much later She had three kids And no—we were never gonna be like Boz Skaggs’ “We're All Alone” And I’m glad I never tried It wasn’t like that and though we grew up near each other’s sides For longer than not we’ve had separate lives Many years later I’m still surprised to learn that Beau Made a lot of records with bands that I loved listening to While washing dishes or going for long walks in the cold mountain air Or that I loved listening to during those times I pirated albums for Jenny, cuz I couldn’t say no to her Last week I watched the Cavaliers / Warriors at JV’s place With Beau and Maryam and Jason and Merrill JV cracked us up rewinding this little kid in attendance doing a funny dance On the screen over and over again And I almost finished half a beer I guessed the Warrior’s final score right on the nose Maryam made me snort when she cracked a good joke And she and Beau dropped me off and my girlfriend was like, “look at that big smile” And now Beau’s mixing a few more tracks, and I’m sitting on the couch Catching up and thinking About my dreams and my aspirations And how differently I perceive the world now Yes, I think of Jenny every once in a while But not that much And I guess that makes me think about how people drift apart I wonder who I’m gonna be in five years much less twenty I ate waffles at my friends house and we hung out And he said, “Happy Martin Luther King day.” And I said “I don't know how to feel About Martin Luther King day this year,” given all the events… Later I went walking and looked up the hill in a break from the flooding rains the sun made the pavement glow I looked in and out of windows In my neighborhood at all the people coming and going Passing the Swedish American Hall I remembered saying hi to Owen Ashworth after opening for David Bazan, I told him he was one of the best songwriters I’ve heard My girlfriend likes him But she hates it when David Bazan does Q&A I think about how different my life is now than when I was a kid trapped in Alaska, and about life in sunny Oakland And those silent winter walks through the snow My friend Erin just texted me “Hey how Are Ya” It’s been seven years since I’ve seen her and her little guinea pigs in Pennsylvania And here’s another message, this one’s from Emilio He said he couldn’t handle the way my ex girlfriend Was dressing up her kid up with clothing sponsorships and social media posting And he unfollowed her and I said Emilio, I don’t want to know, and he’s having a blast in Los Angeles I suppose that’s a lot of diaper changing for an Instagram photo At least Emilio taught me what SMH means I like to sit alone at home when it rains Play guitar, I could be better—I’m okay At least I'm not flying around thousands of miles every other day Although my girlfriend said she wants to visit Oslo or maybe Spain We are surrounded by beautiful moments every day We are surrounded by compassionate moments every day My friend John just lost his mom to a heart attack It made me get right on the phone with my dad He hasn't left the house in a few days Because of the cold snap And at the same time I read in the news about another chemical attack in Syria They’re saying it’s a nerve gas, the worst attack since the last Jamie asked me if I'd ever read this Alaskan author, Eowyn something I said “No, but I bet she made a bunch of tourists happy” Let me guess she went to Washington State A brief fact check confirmed Bellingham—I was pretty close If you hedge all your bets on a bunch of stuff about your childhood you're gonna run out of ideas pretty quick No angel will cry over your misspent youth or your love life Write what you know, you know? What else are you going to leave behind? But if anyone asks me about Alaska and brings up Werner Herzog or Sean Penn or reality television I’m going to stab myself in the fucking face I’m up here looking down on Dolores And at the plants growing on my balcony and at a junkie curled up asleep on the street below He woke up for a few minutes and fed his little fluffy white dog and kissed him on the head And all the construction contractors working on the building he’s sleeping on the side of are looking out for him We are surrounded by beautiful moments of compassion every day And I just gave Danny another call about my new guitar and discovered we are neighbors I said “Damn, I just got a synthesizer from the house next door!”
5.
My Girl 04:22
I've got sunshine On a cloudy day When it's cold outside I've got the month of May I guess you'd say What can make me feel this way? My girl Talkin' 'bout my girl I've got so much honey The bees envy me I've got a sweeter song Than the birds in the trees Well I guess you'd say What can make me feel this way? My girl Talkin' 'bout my girl I don't need no money Fortune, or fame I've got all the riches One man can claim I guess you'd say What can make me feel this way? My girl Talkin' 'bout my girl

about

Written and recorded between March 29 – June 16, 2017.

credits

released October 6, 2017

Produced by Kevin Dickerson and Maryam Qudus
Engineered and mixed by Maryam Qudus and Kevin Dickerson to 1/4" tape on Nagra IV-SJ
Mastered by Jacob Winik at Tiny Telephone

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Kevin Dickerson San Francisco, California

Kevin Dickerson is a songwriter who lives in San Francisco.

Follow @kevindickerson on Instagram

Photo: Katie Thyken

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