“say anything,” he said. “you can’t make a mistake when you improvise.”
“what if i mess it up? what if i screw up the rhythm?”
“you can’t,” he said. “it’s like drumming. if you miss a beat, you create another.”
in this simple exchange, sam taught me the secret of improvisation, one that i have accessed my whole life.
he looked at me, my cowboy with indian ways. “you know, the dreams you had for me weren’t my dreams,” he said. “maybe those dreams are meant for you.”
“i believed he would once again embrace the knowledge that there is no pure evil, nor pure good, only purity.”
he always returned to his muse. i no longer felt that i was the right model for him, but he would wave my objections away. he saw in me more than i could see in myself. whenever he peeled the image from the polaroid negative, he would say, “with you i can’t miss.”
we were leaving the swirl of our post-brooklyn existence, which had been dominated by the vibrating arena of the chelsea hotel. the merry-go-round was slowing down. as i packed even the most insignificant of things accumulated in the past few years, they were accompanied by a slide show of faces, some of which i would never see again…
many would not make it…taken down, the stardom they so desired just out of reach, tarnished stars falling from the sky.
i feel no sense of vindication as one of the handfuls of survivors. i would rather have seen them all succeed, catch the brass ring. as it turned out, it was i who got one of the best horses.
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