Racehorses of Lust / by Birdie Busch



I’ve had a hard time picking what it is I am going to write about lately for you in this place. It’s more because so many things have been going on. I have been pacing along next to a Fourth of July parade queen literally and metaphorically. I’m hazy and delirious and as she throws things out of a bucket from the back of a shiny convertible mustang with that smile of adolescent high hopes I’m on the ground unpeeling all these sweaty candies.

So yeah.  Back to where I was? Was I even anywhere? I’ll just stay on the asphalt with the candies as the convertible passes and now I’m headed over to the curb to hash this out.

James Brown once said in an interview, referring to himself, that “That racehorse, he don’t run if he ain’t got no lust.” This line, it’s always amused and scared the straight up dickens out of me and it’s been reoccurring in my head lately. The other thing that has been in my head is this passage I read in a Joni Mitchell biography. She talks about how it took a long time but that she reached a point in her life where for example she could see a beautiful man on the steps of a cathedral in Europe and just watch and not feel that need to make him hers in some way, there wasn’t that selfish joy but rather an observance of beauty being beauty in its own existence and the contentment of sharing this living existence perhaps separate but of the same humanness.

Is there a place where you can equalize your lust and desire with your chastity and aversions?  Could it be similar to maybe the way an accountant does taxes or the way a barber cuts your hair?

An aside: A barbershop window to me has always been to me such a beautiful site. I love seeing grown men having to just be still and vulnerable under a cloth cape as another man goes about his art. He looks out the window with his eyes stretching up so as not to move and we make eye contact.

I want to go to this place. The place that has the people that do the thing for you in a very “this gets you that” way. Sometimes I think one of the reasons so many musicians feel peculiar is because our life’s work is not this for that, it’s not clear and so we are not clear, and this rolls into the context of our day to day life.

I don’t think I mean lust in necessarily a sexual way, although I won’t rule that out, I don’t like to be too discerning. But I think it’s more this constant quest that leaves me….feeling like I’m on a constant quest.  It leaves me feeling alien. It leaves me feeling like I don’t know where it came from and can’t I just worry about finding a proper job.

But then I talk to my dad’s best friend and he wants to know how in the world do I write songs and keep them all in my head without notation or chords or any concrete evidence? Where do they come from? He’s amazed and wants to know. I do too. The best ones seem to come along like communications from Gods, ancestors, or people still living that need desperately for you to say something that they need to be said but for whatever reason can’t get it out themselves.

This lust for life, it’s how I see things. I watch the hands of people on their instruments and wish perhaps I could be every instrument that ever existed while simultaneously wishing I could be every hand that ever existed. I follow melodies like fireflies swooping and dipping lazily and try and understand the peculiar existence of them that are always beyond reach. Music never can really explain itself. I guess I can never  really explain myself.  Which I guess is why I’ve had alot on my mind.

I do believe there is a territory out there, perhaps mysterious like the Bermuda triangle but nonetheless there, where life is sensual and peaceful. I’ve been to this territory, I come and go and when I return I realize that there is where I want to be more than anywhere else. When my 87-year old neighbor peels an orange skin into a long curly unbroken snake and then pulls a worn bongo drum in between his legs and plays along to a primitive radio. He draws me in with a smile and shows me how to do it. That’s the place. Less racehorses that run on lust but lambs that thrive on love.

Where is this place for you?