From the recording Son of A Hero
Tlalpan is a street in Mexico City a few blocks from where I live. The orange colored metro train, though the blue line, runs up and down to the downtown of a city with a million cities inside of its millions of downtowns. Here on Tlalpan, there are 24 hour street food stands, 24 hour taxis, and 24 hour transvestites. Some of them I've met in passing. They call me gringo or make air guitar gestures as I go by, home from work, but are generally very friendly.
I often feel like Mexico City has this quality in all its people of an ability to detach just enough from self and our participation in society to laugh wildly in loving fun at the ridiculousness of what our norms have become. Its important. Things have a sense of humor about themselves.
I wrote this song "Tlalpan Girl" after playing on the other side of Tlalpan - you climb a wild circle cement staircase where there is a small neon red light altar up to the Municipio Libre bridge to cross. I had played in duo with Daniel Jodocy, a drummer from Belguim by way of New York City, at an honest hearted music joint, Pizza Jazz, its called. I had carried my amplifier from home and it was digging deep into my thigh as I slugged it back home.
Around 1 a.m. maybe, this happens often if I go up to the store late, I feel a peace and liberty happening on this street. This is not reality, its just how I feel. Its the time of night is where music starts to fall from everyone's face. What do you talk about at this hour when people talk less? Where aren't they that they should be? Walking home, my amplifier was getting heavier and my leg more painful as bone knocked metal step by step.
I stopped for a minute to sit, my guitar on my back and a suitcase of pedals and charts - most of which we didn't play- the amplifier my chair. On most corners there are prostitutes at these hours, most any time of day really, especially after the 15th or 30th of each month, payday. The city doesn't seem to mind. I don't either but often wonder if I should, and if I would if I knew their stories, these people here waiting with cheap purses. There are a lot of songs everywhere.
Sitting, a couple of really tall women - I never am sure if Im to say woman or man, Im not concerned about it - with large breasts but very masculine stature, winked at me in a joking manner. It felt like we could have been friends, but we weren't in each others businesses. I was in front of one of the many hour rent hotels on the avenue, lights above flickering, cars in and out slowly, occasionally a taxi. I sat and listened to them talk and smoke cigarettes, telling each other stories about someone that kept calling them and sending text messages asking where they had been.
I heard the melody "Tlal - pan Girl, Tlalpan girl" sitting there in silence. Three notes that said more than what I was feeling, explained most everything. I didn't know the rest of the song yet. After a few minutes I felt I was ready to lug the rest of the way home. I stood up, passed the 7-11 and the daytime pirate movie stand, and walked the rest of the way. Getting home, I wrote some words that became most of the song in time. Like most best songs, it came easy.
In the morning I walked around the corner from my apartment to a small restaurant that I don't think has a name, but has really good 40 peso breakfast. The waiter is a friend, a really sweet and smart autistic man that loves to talk guitars and ask me where I have been. Im often the only person in the restaurant, theres just 4 or 5 tables, but this morning I was not alone. At the table next to me was a man dressed as a man, who had been dressed as a woman the night before. He was very gentle, hair still pulled back, some leftover makeup where he missed in what I imagined ay have been a quick hotel exit. He looked tired. He looked resigned. But he did not look defeated.
When I sing the melody, the little title fragment, Tlal-pan Girl, Tlalpan girl, I go right back to where I was on the street, in the wild peace of 1 a.m. and see the face of the man ordering his breakfast. Music does magic.
f min db bb f gmin d f c
Crossing my chest to pray
Time of night where dark meets day
Her teeth are shot and skin is draped
Preparing a smile
Our Bodies in the bloodless rain
Her Face grey like a hurricane
Her eyes ash like a fire's flame
We have done this all before
Cmin Eb Bb Cmin
She makes no attempt to lie
I admire I admire
Circle pulse of the radio wires
Past the the liars, I Been a liar
Your animal bones
My animal bones
bb f c
Tlalpan Tlalpan Girl
Freedom is unordered love
For a moment the pain was still
Violins in the red motels
I am Bending and bending away
Lightning music falls
Just wanted you to hear me sing
I am a God child, I was born in need
We are Bloom and bled the same
I want to cry to whoever it's been hard
to let your heart howl, let our hearts howl
The wreck-ed space above your brow
Tell me any story, Tell me it again