Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The women -- and hell, the men as well - that Mike Coykendall writes about in his songs are without much sand in their bottoms. They are free spirits, held down by little. It's only when Coykendall takes the line of the first-person that you hear of someone who might be a little more domesticated, someone who's keen on a simple afternoon, in a quiet neighborhood, where the sun can just burn a warm spot on the guy and everything will be right with the world. He meets hippie girls and strange old men, wondering about what makes them go and often, why he can't be more like them. It's not that he really wants that, necessarily, but it's an interesting thing to consider, all the same. It's likely just recognizing the complications that most of us bring on ourselves. We're dumb like that. It's better to just have a drink and let the sun speak a little louder. The character from a letter that Herman Dune's David-Ivar had published in the 39th edition of the McSweeney's quarterly reminds me of someone that Coykendall might be or want to meet. Here's the end of the letter. Take it or leave it:
"I can live without clothes inside my home, to be honest, but as me and my gal had just moved in together I consented to buy a robe, a little bit like the one Steve Martin wears in The Jerk. That way she could leave the shades open and the glass door ajar.
"One morning I woke up and put the robe on. I found it itchy at the neck, and assumed it was the tag. I went to make some coffee - still itchy. I crushed a couple of avocados to spread on some baguette, and it continued to be itchy. I hate tags, I thought. When M. woke up, we had a lovely breakfast. She says it's her favorite part of the day; M. wakes up smiling, with the happiest look on her face, and her eyes, instead of displaying the usual puffiness you'd expect, seem bigger and bluer than at any other time. She's a beauty when she just wakes up. I wouldn't miss the moment she opens her eyes for anything.
"Anyway, at breakfast, our custom is that she'll tell me about her night dreams and visions. That night she'd dreamed of sea monsters, of running away with her twin sister, of me and her on an ice block somewhere in the ocean. At some point we were in a giant's abandoned house and I threw a shoe at Angelica Huston's face. I loved that part. I love Miss Huston.
"I never remember my dreams well, really, and when I do, it's always the ones where everything happening is just exactly like it might have happened during the day. Like, I dream I'm walking to the train station, and then I take the train, or I dream I'm running to catch a bus, and I catch it. But that morning I couldn't even remember that much - I was having trouble concentrating, as my robe was still very itchy at the neck.
"That's when I said, 'Damn this label!' and took the whole thing off, throwing it on the tiled floor in the kitchen. It turned out that what I thought was a tag was a big old spider. It seemed gigantic. I still had to behave, though, as I didn't want to be the weaker half of our recently moved-in couple.
"So instead of shrieking, I said: 'Baby, she got me! She got me, all right. But I might live forever now, through laughter and rains. They knew the secret! Do you want a bite? Try the robe on and we'll meet all those other suckers in a century.'"
Mike Coykendall Official Site