Airwaves

10 AM, hungover, and off in the Red ‘Stang down the highway.

What is Nick saying?

Inhaling on my third cigarette since the wake-up call, but the taste of anxious tension and vodka sodas still creep down the byline of my jaw. The minutes are counting down. I drum my fingertips on a University of Hawaiʻi notebook, considering the songs and tasteless jokes I’ve stained on its first 6 pages.

Of course it’s KTUH on the ride over— Otis Redding, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. Sitting & Watching. The eye in the tide of the island sky.

Shit—

Otis is starting to get to me. Guess I’ll remain the same, eh? I’m smoking another cigarette, squinting at the distant radio spire knifing at the nape of the cloud cover.

Zooming along, rigid & worldly. Peering into the hills, where absinthe-soaked eyes search for white elephants.

Brief moments of peace. The hard rain’s always-gonna-fall. Don’t your solace & chaos come from the same place, man? The deadening just like the enlivening. Each moment interrupted with the tumultuous rumble of the next.

We pull off the freeway with a jolting screech. I can hear Nick’s voice.

“Let’s get some breakfast. Trust me, you don’t want to do a three-hour show on an empty stomach.”

We stop everywhere we can— this is Dove Country.

A week earlier, within my first hour on the island, I was at the KTUH office. And despite my best efforts to remain silent and inconspicuous, the staff graciously welcomed me within their ranks. Meeting T. Fuj, the brief tour, verticalized titles lining layers along the wall. Lacking preparation, acclimating.

The futures are too far departed. You cannot feel gravity at the edge of an orbit.

Booker T. and one more cigarette. Staring at mountains in the distance, thinking about tomorrow. Only half an hour to go. Up the stairs, perspiring. Ignoring any preparations as I slip vinyl off the shelves. You must remember, though, gently… Nashville Skyline, Meddle, Morrison Hotel.

In through the swinging station doors to a conflagration of knobs, dials and blinking lights. Queued into the microphone, the mounting tremor of expectation. Between the silences, surreal space.

It was just before noon, waiting again in the radio room. Full circle & back to the selfsame spot—searching for the future that’s already found us.

One quick click— & we’re on.

You’ve listened before, some sounds communicated over the airwaves.

& so, no longer awaiting the moment, what do you perceive through the static?

Glad tidings until we hear from each other again.

(Thanks to Giuseppe Ricaptio, a friend of KTUH, for writing this.)

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