Esqueleto de viento
(Exhaust pipe I)
Se dice que los metales son dulces cuando no tienen impurezas, y yo siempre me pregunté por qué las trompetas, cuando están muy usadas, tienen ese sonido tierno que no llega a ser apacible, pero que conduce, indefectiblemente, a una especie de paz. Almost blue.
Un día iba bajando por una calle muy grande, se me había ido el P4 y los taxis valían más que mi bolso con todo adentro. Me senté con miedo en una escalerita que daba a la calle —miedo por esto de que ser mujer es una complicación, miedo a los sonidos, a los tiradores, a los borrachos…—, recuerdo que andaba sola y que la batería del teléfono estaba por el piso. Chet Baker, eso quise oír. Me puse los audífonos, acomodé el cablecito defectuoso y puse una canción. Silence. Aquí pudiera poner que se me quitó el miedo, que los carros no me ladraban, que la calle no era una boca de lobo, pudiera decir que sentí un golpe de paz, un silencio. Pero no. El miedo no se fue, y lo que más miedo me daba era que ahora sentía una paz tormentosa, un pavor parecido al de las escenas cinematográficas donde ella llora mucho con una canción y descubre que está por ocurrir algo terrible.
A car, a trumpet, two exhaust pipes, a yuma vomiting the Cubalibre [Chet Baker lost his teeth due to having problems with a little gang that sold him the lines of the week], a drunk shouting “baby-what-is-given-is-not-taken-away”. ["Still life hasn't hit you enough, you can't play in this bar"].
Chet Baker was born at Yale in 1929 with the Great Depression and with Black Tuesdays and Thursdays. He was himself a huge, superhuman depression.
He first heard Dizzy Gillespie in Germany. He played on stations set up by the army to keep troops distracted. Some kind of jazz soldier.
Comenzó a tocar la trompeta en las jam sessions de los clubes de jazz de Los Ángeles.
But it was vice that took him away from common life, from payments and fixed days. He hooked up with Charlie Parker, a serious addict. Two serious addicts, Bird and Baker, slamming all the alcohol in the world. Anesthesia. Then Paris was "full of people who got into everything." And so they passed cities and jazz heroes and heroines of the veins, and spirits and beautiful women.
Baker cantando But Not For Me, My Funny Valentine, The Thrill Is Gone.
He did all the songs, he composed a lot while melting the cursed drugs in his spoon.
More cities, more heroin, more women. Broken and alien mouth.
Una noche, el dueño del hotel donde se alojaba en Ámsterdam lo echó del lugar porque no tenía dinero para pagar la estancia. Baker saldó su deuda con el equipaje y la trompeta. Dicen que murió esa noche intentando subir por la pared del hotel. Otros hablan de un suicidio. Yo no dudo nada, aunque quiero pensar que quería recuperar su instrumento.
(Exhaust pipe II)
Oh, but I know: those old trumpets sound good because sound travels at surprising speed; sound makes its charges hollow, wormholes, and metal — then — decides to soften its skeleton. Poor me that, no matter how much music I put on, the cars would continue to see me as a busy little girl.
That night I felt fragile on the street and prayed my creed, neither so apostolic nor so Roman. The creed of the cocaine addicted angels, that of the lines that lead to compose more lines. That of the saints who self-destruct so that a pretentious girl listens to a song and builds a different peace, an accelerated peace. Angels to whom one can fail, because the only command they utter is the one that indicates that you have to close your eyes and take a crap, and shout "I'm-tired-of-everything."
Nothing strange happened. I am still afraid of walking alone at night. I still put on music to believe it is more beautiful to cry with a worthy soundtrack. I still believe that metal transforms like clay. I still believe that trumpets are not invertebrates and that they fracture and soften.
Somewhere someone will be playing a Chet Baker song, someone who can be me in a quantum dimension that I don't understand. Oh, industrious little girl, because of that fake Louis Vuitton handbag, the cars continue to believe that you have what to pay for a taxi to the door [if you had a door]; the music leaks through the broken cable and that is why taxi drivers, shooters, sounds chase you. Don't get your hopes up, that trumpet is going to break your mouth, that trumpet is going to leave you glued to the stairs of a third-world Tiffany Club, even if you say no, that nothing strange happens, because that word always sounded like a new song. Do not think that you are going to come out so pristine tonight, because everything that is great has the ability to break its own form, its skeleton: those are the songs. That is great music.
The sounds inhabit you, my invertebrate girl, and they want to break your mouth that you paint yourself as if it were a decaying sexual canvas. Stay on the floor and don't get your hopes up.
Still the P4, as always, arrives almost the next day.