Back Roads

October 31, 2008

This past summer, I made my third visit to northern Italy to complete the last few tracks of a new collection of songs. Two springs, two summers, two autumns and one winter later it is finished. The first song was written in early spring of last year, the snow was melting and the long winter was winding down. The last piece was written this past summer in a sweltering basement studio, walking distance from the Ligurian sea. It was the peak season for peaches there and it brought back memories of my childhood growing up in Georgia.It is the last day of October. Gold and scarlet colored leaves hang precariously from rain soaked branches waiting for the next great storm. The Japanese Maple still cloaked in burgundy, will soon stand naked above the midnight blue statue of Buddha that has become a symbol of patience and stillness contrasting the ever changing backdrop of the Maple tree.It is only a matter of days before the rain turns to snow.

We are now more then half way through the golden season. The ground is carpeted with leaves, the wood is stacked, the fires are full flame and the work of keeping this old cape warm has begun. I am always in two minds about whether to rake up the leaves and toss then onto the edge of the forest. They are so beautiful. The final burst of color before everything turns grey and white for what at times feels like endless winter here in the northeast.

These next few months I will ‘hole-up’ in the small room where I work and look out the 10 windows that fill the room with what ever light the day has to offer, the room where most of the lyrics were written, bringing the respective season into each song. I will continue to work on a short film, an introduction or reintroduction to me as an artist, something similar to a film that I made several years back with David Sylvian called ‘Time Spent’. I will begin to imagine the path that this collection of very personal songs will take.

Here where I live time is slow and the days are a balance between the domestic and the creative, the lines blurred.

There are 13 songs. Most of them were co-written with my dear friend Lorenzo Scopelliti, one of the most creative beings I have ever crossed paths with. He is an artist with soul and a vision that reflects my own emotional response to life and nature and it’s indelible hold on the heart.

I opened my Music Myspace page a little over two years ago, thanks to an up and coming clothing designer out of Sacramento named Richard Hallmarq who had a dream. He tracked me down through my music publishing lawyer and convinced me to open a myspace page and to consider writing music again. He also talked me into doing my one and only live performance of a few of the songs from my album ‘May 19, 1992’ during a fashion event in San Francisco featuring his line of clothing at the time. A dream come true for him. I had over the years devoted myself entirely to raising my two daughters and son and in doing so, had put all of my creative energy into them. Richard’s search to find the missing ‘Ingrid Chavez’ coincided with my own search.

We all have our angels.

Once the Myspace page was opened up, the response was overwhelming and moved me deeply. I did not expect anyone to even remember my name or past work. I am truly grateful to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging these past two years. Many long lost friends were clever enough to look for me here. I am still alive and doing well in my own quiet kind of way.

This being Music Myspace, many wonderful artists have written to ask if I would consider a collaboration. It wasn’t until Lorenzo sent me a lovely piece of music that he was working on for a solo album for himself, that I really thought seriously about returning to music. The song was simply titled, ‘Song For Ingrid’. Upon first listening, an emotional chord was struck in me. I asked him would he mind if I recorded a vocal idea for it and he said that he would be honored. That piece did become the first song that we collaborated on and the seed was planted for what would become my first full length solo cd since my Paisley Park release many years ago. That seed song is now titled ‘Isobel’ and is the final track on the cd.

Lorenzo’s devotion to this music is as deep as my own. His visual and sound design has been a great inspiration. His patience allowed me the time I needed to spend with each new piece. There was never pressure to meet a deadline. This body of work speaks of two years of my life here in the north country where I live and how the rhythm of nature mirrors the artist heart.

Everything we need to know about ourselves can be found in the silence and beauty of nature.

I can’t speak about this album without mentioning Alessandro Mazzitelli or Mazzi as we call him, to whom without his dedication and belief in this project, it might not have happened. He recorded the tracks and pulled all of the talented musicians together. I have driven him crazy surely, but he has been such a good sport. I can say for certain that he learned more english in two years than I learned Italian.

So, as autumn turns to winter and winter turns to spring I will be preparing for a late April release of this album. I don’t know it’s path yet. I am one to take each day as it comes. I have learned from past experience that nothing is worth losing your peace of mind over. The path is too perfect, it’s beauty is in the details.

“There’s a beauty in the open road and I don’t want to miss a sign, so I’ll take my time.”


on the old roman road

July 31, 2007

our bodies
perfectly aligned,
all of the shades of brown between us
, espresso, cocoa, umber, sepia, caramel.
sun kissed and smelling of cardamom and earth
we lay flat the leaves beneath us

and put to memory

the patterns of the trees above us
the blue of the sky
and the buzzing of mosquitoes.

we take nothing for granted,
for heaven is in a moment
a look, a kiss, a touch.

on the old roman road

we carve our initials
into the moss covered tree
and make our own history

the poetry unbroken
and etched into our memories
for songs unsung

we lay silent, eyes closed.
hair spread out on the forest floor,
you begin where i end

and i begin where you end.

returning to seed

April 3, 2007

I’m going down.
I’m going under.
Returning to soil,
returning to seed.
I don’t know where I’ve been,
but it is not here where I belong.
So, I will sleep now and dream of tomorrow,
dream of sun and rain.
I will wake-up and make a garden.
That is what I will do,
wake-up and make a garden.
I will plant the seed of us at the foot of the maple tree,
between the crowning peonies and the silent Buddha.

The long winter’s embers
now ash and cinder,
sit in a cold stove…
waiting to be worked into the soil.

From the kitchen window I watch,
for the unfurling of the magnolia blossoms
and the robin’s Hop! Hop! Hop!
The crocuses have come.
Soon, the forsythia will be a wall of canary
and the scent of purple lilac will fill the dream room.

On the branch of the wild pear tree
there sits a spangled starling.
Each morning I watch for him.
With the sun he comes with the gift of song.
In the breath that moves
through a wooden flute,
in the sigh of the strings of a dilruba,
in the lament of a spanish guitar…
I remember who I am
here in the soil,
here in the seed asleep
dreaming of tomorrow,
dreaming of sun and rain.
I will wake-up and make a garden.
That is what I will do,
wake-up and make a garden.
I will plant the seed of us
with the ash of a long winter
at the foot of the maple tree.
And in an exhale, I will let it all go…
and begin anew.

It is happening.
The promise of spring is here.


February 24, 2007

You make every color go quiet.
Blue is just blue,
but midnight screams your name.
Silence filled,
a cry,
words shrivel in repose.
Night sighs
a sigh,
a lone trumpet
carried on a breath,


you are love.

the bees of bruges

February 15, 2007

I didn’t see him when he first came
he crept in like winter. Suddenly,
the heart
burst open, an in-chanting
a blizzard of bees in december.

1483 Caxton Golden Leg. 208b/2
(72 hours)


February 14, 2007

It is Valentine’s Day and like a gift from cupid himself, a heavy snow has come, leaving a shimmering mantle of beauty on the ashen landscape. With the last light of day fading from my room, the low flames from the wood-stove cast a red glow along the back of Lola as she lays sleeping in it’s warmth. The opening music to Solaris plays on a loop waiting for me to push play, to escape into the strange beauty of it’s imagery.

I knew the storm was coming. But I did not know that today would be the final strike. The blood stains covered over, this was to be our last war cry. My words muffled beneath a blanket of snow, there would be no winning this one. (I retreat in silence and wish you well).

But there is love and spring will come in on his coattails. He is a gold thread pulling me through the long winter. He will come when the ground is no longer frozen and the milkweed seed is sewn. When Autumn comes, we will watch the down drift past these windows carried on a zephyr. And this day spent alone between a cry and a whisper, watching the snow-fall…will be long forgotten.

Paddy Brown

December 14, 2006

when she first saw me
she said that I was tiny
and that an angel had just come into her home
her room was dark
little birds and nests and dream catchers
hung from the low ceiling

she had me sit at a round table
shuffled and cut
an old worn deck of cards
she laid them out like a four tiered fan

she asked me if her dog could say hi
he was blind and jumped on me
she fed him rice crackers

she asked me about my book
said that it was powerful
would I read from it
i flipped thru the pages
reading quickly a poem
revealing my naked words
she said that i lacked self confidence

her hair was natty
she said that she should be careful
not to cuss so goddamn much
there was an angel in the room

she chain smoked
and cussed
and sipped on a bottle of water

she told me that I was born to write
that I didn’t value my gift
in my many lives before

She asked me if I know who I am

she said that I was
a violet orchid soul
and that vibrations move from my hips

she told me that I was
a fine line of coke
that i had the glow…heavenly

she asked me if I knew my gift
that I could help the dying
move to the other side

i could just speak to them and they would pass in peace

she said that my father is on the other side
he looks over me
that i take after him

she said she met her first mermaid recently
that if she started crying
it’s not that she’s sad
it’s just that she is so moved by my presence

she said that I am not Ingrid
I told her that I am Julia
she said yes you are
jewels, a precious jewel

she laughed hard
and made no apologies
for blowing smoke in my face

she told me that
I was from a Kharmic lineage
of painters and writers
I should be painting she said but I am afraid of color

when our time together was up
she asked her blind dog
if they should take my money now and say goodbye

When I stood up
she asked me
what size skirt I wear
I said the smallest

she showed me the door.

mercury 48:27

December 14, 2006

Triosiome Gnoissienne 3:34 grey winter december faded grass green three white birch trees a wood of wet grey maples buddha stone walls fog descending piles of leaves static windless wednesday quiet falling fingers a flurry prepared piano tinker Aphorisming Second 0:25 delicate love lost love letters lost in time Rhythme Bulgare 3:14 pools of water reverberate swimming in dreams remembering forgetting fading blurred colors of memories fainting awaken wings flutter the frost the icy cold freezing the ponds for lovers skating whimsy Aposiopesis 5:16 trickle of notes echo across the breadth of america radio waves television white noise no one listens to their hearts only butterflies dream of spring alight on the heart shaped petals of the lilac sleeping telephone lines streak the skies when i look up nothing is sacred but love itself truth faith fate flower into trust guide us home Gymnopadie No. 1 3:50 black hair falling into ringlets the neck-lace of life sweater jeans black boots hispanic orphan angel girl dreams of snowy winter breathing life deep into lungs free to fly and spirited bold sensual soft heavenly weaving spells with glimmering wings a swallow a brown butterfly a furry caterpillar a sleek black cat a song unsung a dream undreamt a poem unspoken aurora borealis octavia flies into a perfect sky Gymnopadie No. 2 3:13 a dream of love that ends in waking kisses there are deep soul eternal brown eyes velvet take me in and swallow me whole i give myself completely to you i don’t want to wake up i am in love drowning in love with being in love in this dream i plead with the wind be still. Gymnopadie No. 3 2:52 eisoptrophobia i sleep wake make love fly lay-supine curl swell swim mouth murmur maunder meld melt trace tread wallow swirl in you M2s Broken and Together 1:48 green tea cellphone telephone computer Mbox greek mythology gold thread Rilke’s Book of hours candles incense gold buddha bottle with stars lamp headphones cd’s pens pencils journal window Cinquieme Gnossienne 4:40 love loving marriage children divorce life life life living breathing dancing stepping in and out of time kissing embracing sacrifice time no time death slow fate fearless bold responsible sharing falling in love falling out of love waltzing movement static stillness chaos poetry music travel prague san bernadino minneapolis new orleans new york new hampshire india ireland scotland japan italy france germany home Premiere Gnossienne 4:13 december comes in warm the hands by the fire they will turn dry and tell your age but love has no age come december wear-me-in another year on my face take me south in my head wrap me in your frosty blanket mirror my heart with the full moon of another winter here in the north country try to break me i am winter Aphorisming, First 0:51 love where are you there in every face in every gesture i am still here lovers past looking Berceuse 2:04 dream me a night of lover’s play kisses that color the monochrome sky sprinkled like a shower of stars remind me of his tenderness Buciumeana 2:52 12 years gone the ashes buried at the foot of the old sugar maple the earth forgives our heavy footsteps now we are whispering into each other’s ears again ” i will always love you” no matter how far away you go this home is our burial ground Quatriome Gnossienne 2:34 astounded astonished gleaming spellbound starred and dreaming omniscient luminescent luscious gorgeous dreamy brown velvet alluring intriguing discordant beauty january flutter Aphorisming, Third 1:19 sine waves stretched across the atlantic will he love me when he sees me M2s M7s (Fragmented) [Microcosmos, 1926-1937] 1:34 dreams that recur history etched into our child’s heart we are alike wings streaking the open skies the south of america Pe Loc 1:17 songlines i sit here caught on a train east to west across the keys of a piano and a computer Saraband No. 2 2:51 i wonder who you are there in your world of sound waves ascending descending crashing into beautiful white noise a lover calling the 9 muses one by one they come to you mysterious ocean i could live here on this shore of wondering you with your white curtains and dazzling sunlight.

dies Mercurii

running time 48:27

trading shells

October 19, 2006

Yellow leaves are falling from branches like ballerinas… delicately twirling across dirt roads. Milkweed down is rushing past windows, carried by the chilly breath of fall. I am listening to the music of Paul Baran… wallpaper in the dream-room (she whispers-shhh…) a whistle and the turning of pages.

It is October and the sugar maples are ablaze. I squint my eyes to blurr the colors as I drive…braided ribbons of Autumn lining the country roads, bidding farewell. Smoke rising from chimney’s, the air is filled with the smell of the season’s first fires, redolent of peat burning in the Irish countryside (her eyes are closed and dreaming of Connemara).

I am not ready for winter and yet the woodstoves are alight and I tend to them faithfully (who will strike the match when she is gone?). The colors are fading from the landscape and the song of the cricket is gone from the garden. Each day I wake… the trees are a little more naked and the ground… carpeted gold. I take in the frosty air with the scent of fallen leaves as I gather the wood. Soon the clouds will bring the silence of snow and I will fall in love with winter all over again. Angels will appear and the cardinals will return, blood-red omens watching from the sleeping lilac. And night will look like day when the moon is full… sparkling light reflecting from tiny snowflakes. The coyote’s cry will sound more desolate and I will listen for them in the stillness (frozen flowers from her breath form in the windows as she watches for their shadows moving along the edge of the wood).

I am in this room where I spend my nights by fire and moonlight
letting go of everything… dreaming fall into winter,

trading shells.

October 19th

unspoken word

September 26, 2006

there are so many things to say
words could never sum-up you in me,
could never delve the depths.
where am i between
a howling wind war cry
and the grass laying flat
beneath the weight of my descent?
i will lay here and ride the wave
of each tear welling up.
just like your entry
baptized in drizzle,
your exit will be drawn in snow
and no word will go unwritten.
my spoken word a gift un-given
will ride this train ’til it’s end
in silence
and dream you away.