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Tammy Faye Starlite / Used Country Female
|Diesel Only (2003 release)|
Backround Vocals, Lead & Rhythm Acoustic & Electric Guitars, 12 String Electric Guitar, Lap Steel, National Resophonic Guitar, Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Kick Drum, Bells, Shaker
Tammy Faye Starlite Website
Check the Schedule link for shows I'll be playing with Tammy
For "Used Country Female"
By Bob Powers
Time has passed. At least an afternoon, I'm certain of that. Maybe two. The door up to the street is still wide open, blaring white-noise sunshine into the engineering booth. The one they all call Spencer left through that door. He wanted an apology for something from someone, and I don't think he got it. No one bothered to close the door after him. I won't go near the door for fear of being sucked through it to God knows where. I just know that no matter what face might poke out from that light, it could never make me move from where I'm standing. As long as just behind the glass before me there sits a little girl atop a stool sipping from a cup of tea, I'll stand here until I fall. I found this yellow sheaf of legal pad underneath the wheels of the rolling chair the one they call Roscoe fell asleep in. Before Roscoe passed out he told me not to touch anything or sit on any of the couches and that I couldn't have any of the apple juice in the refrigerator. I knew I needed that paper, but anytime I took a step toward the chair, Roscoe's sleeping grip would constrict around the butt of his handgun, which was still pointed at my abdomen. Finally, a dream made him shift a bit and fire a shot into the doorframe just an inch to my left. The report didn't wake him, but his grip loosened from around the handgun and his torso bowed to the right, sending the chair rolling just the few inches necessary to set the paper free. I dove for it. Someone's written all over the other side. Song titles I think. Maybe song lyrics. Some of the lines have words replaced and some remain pristine. And there are words that are completely scribbled out, blackened over with pen as if the obvious intention of omission wasn't enough, but the author felt the need to completely obliterate what was there. Like when you're not sure how to word the salutation of a correspondence that might end up being a love letter or might end up being a letter of goodbye. I don't know what this is going to end up being either. I just know I had to write down what's happened to me. I was wet. That's what I first remember. My hair was slicked to my skull and my clothes were plastered to my skin from head to toe.And I was standing where I'm standing right now, behind this mixing board. The top of my head felt soft but I wouldn't touch my hand to it for fear of pulling back a bloodied fingertip. The skin of my face felt like it was tightening with scabs or welts. I feared I'd been in a fight. When I looked down I knew the shirt on my torso wasn't mine. My feet were bare. There were more people in here then, but no one was looking at me. I wanted to scream. But then I heard a whisper. Through the glass, there was a little girl on a stool. She was there alone in front of a microphone whispering a lullaby for the broken. Her fragile voice would break with startled gasps, as if she herself hadn't known how true her words would be until she heard them fly from her lips dressed in the finery of everything that helps her to get out of bed in the morning. The song was for a fallen woman, but I knew the comfort proffered by that little girl's voice was only meant for me. The song ended. There was some discussion amongst the people sitting at the mixing board. Someone brought the girl a fresh cup of tea and a black and white capsule which she swallowed with a sip from the cup. I waited. I prayed for one more sound from the girl. Just a cough or a hiccup. The man sitting next to the one they call Roscoe answered my prayer. He leaned into his microphone and flicked a switch and shouted, "Again." The singing seemed to last forever and it would never be enough. Song followed beautiful song, and in my mind her voice soon took the corporeality of a hand leading me down a path to my home. I don't know how long it lasted but I grew more and more frightened of when it might end, of when someone might spot me and ask me to leave. There was bickering amongst the people behind the board and the musicians who were called in and out from behind the glass. As time passed (an afternoon? two?) it all grew closer and closer to complete collapse. But the girl on the stool remained serene. Sipping the tea and swallowing the capsules that were handed to her. After a time, there was no more music, no more singing. Just the girl on the stool sipping her tea at such regular intervals there had to be a mathematics about it. I think the slurps were being recorded. The one named Spencer had already gone. Everyone in the room avoided looking in the little girl's eyes as if they were the twin barrels of a shotgun. But I waited. I wouldn't let my eyes wander from her. And then she waved me in.
As I got closer I realized she was not a girl but a woman with a softness of presence that betrayed only the purest certainty of spirit. I knew she was about to speak to me, that I would hear that voice again, but now I was frightened.
"Who are you?" she asked.
I gave her a name. Not mine, I don't think.
"What are you doing here?"
"I have no idea," I said.
"Do you recognize anyone here?"
I shook my head and began to cry. She pulled me to her bosom bathed in pink silk and placed her palm upon the top of my head. I flinched, but there was no pain.
She lifted herself a bit from her stool to pull the washcloth from under her and she began to wipe my tears with it. It was already damp, but so warm. The shirt on my torso was not mine, and never would be. I knew that for as long as I lived I could only wear a fabric sewn from the cloth this wonderful woman was using to rub a blush into my cheek. I was calm when she lifted me from her embrace and looked into my eyes. "You're new," she said. "Go back to where you were standing and wait." When I returned to my spot behind the board, I looked through the glass and saw her smile at me and nod just slightly. She then went to the table by the wall to get a fresh washcloth from the folded pile. As I write this, she is there still on her stool, sipping from her styrofoam cup of tea. I'm waiting. I don't know for what. If someone finds this sheet of paper...I just hope someone finds this sheet of paper.