Hello Sleepwalkers: Here’s a writing exercise dubiously related to the reissue of David Sylvian’s Sleepwalkers compilation. A brilliant collection of miscellaneous singles, live tracks and one-offs from Sylvian’s most experimental and avant-garde period. Much of the music moving toward Sylvian’s odd but beautiful minimalism. This is an artist that has continued to be more adventurous and unique with each passing year. A rare and admirable feat for an artist with such an amazing legacy. However you cut it, there are many treasures to be found this great collection. And to commemorate this new 2022 reissue, we’ve taken a somewhat different approach to a review or analysis. Below is a collection of thoughts / stories and characters that I often thought about to one degree or another; a thousand ideas run through my head before one can stick. They flow through my head day and night without any hope or chance that they will ever be heard. Or their charms ever revealed. Not for amusement. And not for profit. The stories are mine; and they exist only in that temporary plain of inspiration. That is, until I leave them behind forever. This is the process that get’s us through each day. So… we open the vault and see what is inside; Every day I see her. And every day I fall in love in a different way. Never speaking a word. And never exchanging a glance. A lifetime is born between such encounters. And then maybe we speak and maybe we laugh. And cry. Or maybe we fuck.
Those were the eyes she offered to me; refined and femine features that were out-of-place with the efficiencies of everyday life. And I wonder why she looked so damn cool while I felt the humidity of the day dripping down my back. Mary wasn’t even put-off by my nervous banter as we both ordered a sandwich at the deli-counter. In fact, she offered to pay for my lunch as we sat down together at a table designed for a man half my size. She looked directly at me whenever we spoke; trying hard to sum-me-up on the quick; who is this guy that’s free in the middle of an afternoon? Thankfully, I had just left a client meeting and was dressed well enough to pass the inspection. Still, I had the scent of a man who has struggled to pay his bills. And that’s an odor you can never cover-up from a woman. Perhaps that’s the reason I was chosen.
Once we sat down, Mary talked quickly; as if there were specific talking-points that needed to be heard. That’s when I noticed that she was older then I had originally thought; perhaps 45. Undoubtedly attractive but there was a sad darkness under her eyes that was revealed by the hastily applied powder used on her face. I didn’t care. She smelled good. Mary spoke almost exclusively about her family and I assumed she was married. Or had been until recently. A quick glance at her hand produced no ring. But it wouldn’t have matter anyway.
More then once Mary insisted on telling me that her father was from the island of Sicily. A business man or a shop owner of some sort. I wasn’t really listening to the specifics of her diatribe any more. Besides, the conversation didn’t require much participation from me. Instead, I just allowed her to talk; which she clearly needed to do. And, in truth, I enjoyed the sound of her voice. There was a sophistication and intelligence behind the words she used. Mary poured through the details of her family business without a hint of discretion. And she kept apologizing for “troubling me” with the various family issues. After nearly an hour, she rewrapped her uneaten sandwich and placed it back inside the small paper bag supplied by the deli. For a moment I thought my mysterious-stranger routine may have made her too uncomfortable or offended. She was getting ready to leave and reached her tiny purse; that’s when she invited me to dinner.
The dinner request was completely unexpected; who invites a man to a family dinner after one chance encounter? But I wasn’t about to say no. Mostly I wondered how soft she would feel against the stubble on my face. Mary wrote down an address and phone number on the back of her business card and made a promise of amazing Siciliano food, if only I would come to dinner at 5. And don’t be late. That’s when I noticed the tiny Black Sun hanging on a chain around her neck. Mary looked at me, smiled and placing a kissed against the side of my face. Just beneath my left eye. And I must admit, it felt good. The combination of her body heat and perfume compelling me to take the next step on this little adventure. And why not? She turned and quickly headed to the door without a single look back.
My instincts told me that I should know more about this visit before I walked through that front door. I was born on the east-side of suburban Detroit. And I knew very well about the families that live in those beautiful, gated communities within the city. And then there was that Black Sun. Nevertheless, there I was; walking right up to the front entrance of a massive family house with very few assets on my side.
Mary greeted me at the door and I thought she looked stunning in a tight white dress. I wondered what it would be like to have a women like her in my life. And my first thought was foolish enough; would she, could she, give everything up for me? A ridiculous thought. Anyway, that wasn’t purpose of this invitation. So I relaxed into my character and let the evening open itself. The tour of the house was nice. And it gave me a chance to feel the ambience of the situation. It wasn’t long before we were in the bedroom. Mary‘s bedroom. She immediately locked the door and then pressing her lips against mine. Hard.
Mary wasn’t like most women her age. She gave herself to me like a girl with a crush on a popular school-boy. And while I was in this role, Mary was dedicated to making me as comfortable and relaxed as possible. (Like any good Director). I appreciated the effort. That’s a feeling that very few people have ever given to me. And I enjoyed the gift. Of course, I understood it was all a temporary assignment. For what it’s worth, we both pretended. I hoped only for a little more time before dinner began.
To say that the her father wasn’t particulary remarkable would be pointless. I was told to refer to Mary‘s father as “Mr. Sarreni” or simply “Sir“. But I was certain that the little man standing in front of me desperately wanted to be called “Big Daddy” by everyone. In retrospect, I should have confronted him with that title when I shock his hand that first and only time. Mr. Anthony Sarreni suffered the same delusion as many wealthy men. That his money somehow made him interesting and insightful.
And there I stood; the tall, broken-nosed Detroiter who lacked the traits Big Daddy wanted; the friendly smile, keen personality and the firm handshake of a car salesman. He certainly didn’t want me anywhere near his Mary. Although, it was a little late for that. But I now understood that my performance was about to begin. I was to play the role of a proxy; the bad boyfriend. The details of which hadn’t been shared with me. My assignment was to provoke Mary’s father with whatever was most convenient; politics, religion, the family business or the cut of my suit. The objection wouldn’t need to be specific. Because his disgust with me went much deeper; I was the wrong type of man for the fair-haired Mary. I was the debaser in our little story. The debaser of a righteous family pedigree. A role I relished to play.
And let me tell you, I performed admirably. My abrasiveness came easy and was the necessary toxin for the encounter. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for the dinner party to disintegrate very admiringly. And Big Daddy made it clear middle-way through dinner that I was to leave his home, his gated sanctuary. Immediately. And so with the help of two private security personnel, I was escorted to the front driveway, head-first. And without a word of comfort from dear Mary.
I walked back to my car without a single glance back. Just the latest role for this damn-dog; without pedigree or class or education.
Your poetry describing me
It doesn’t come close
You work the handle
You smear and turn
But you come no closer to meaning