A WEARY MIND, A HOPEFUL HEART
I had been looking forward to Bradley Hathaway’s gig at the Main Street Café in Kansas City since early September. I wanted that late night nostalgia with the heavy scent of musk draped on every man’s clothing. I didn’t want to forget the scent of all our pleading cries staining our shirts in what the deodorant could not cover up. We hummed a little and sang a couple verses to ourselves on the hardwood floor. The low lights gave Bradley a red glow. When he closed his eyes I could read the somewhat sagging-in-hopes-of-lifting demeanor across his straining eyebrows. “There is love, there is beauty, and there is pain but at the moment I can’t help feeling they are all the same.” This thought is so profound yet the idea is simple, it seems it would take the purging of some emotions to get this onto paper.
– He leaned forward against the small merchandise table, his elbows resting next to his mug of tea, his bony fingers laced together.
What got you started writing?
Well I had gone to see a spoken word poet and then a couple months later it literally just came to me. Like I was driving one day and then it just came to me.
Do you write for yourself or for others?
(loosely) In the beginning, for myself but now there is definitely more of a [demand] for it. You guys are definitely a part of it but at there are also things that are for yourself.
Bradley Hathaway’s way of storytelling is so vivid; I find myself immersed in the flow of his words and his humble laughter. He read us the children’s book Owl at Home in order to perform “Look Up”. There is no love like the night. Did you ever place your thumbnail to the sky and measure the size of the moon when you were little? Back then the moon’s existence seemed invaluable. Are we vainer now that we question everything, of which we ask for answers and to be heard?
Bradley wove a thread through his prose, all speaking of a relatable pain, of which created a patchwork of divine wisdom. The empathy in his bones, enunciated by his teeth and jaw, was viral. There is clarity in Craig Owens’ lyric “we’re screaming at the same moon,” in realizing not everyone has that anchor in their lives to persevere past their depressions and traumas. I felt a sense of accord that although we may be alone, we were not lonely that night for we all felt worth in ourselves. I think Bradley gave us all a taste of hope Saturday night. Watching him perform was not a religious experience but a spiritual experience. Throughout his 90 minutes of musing with us he was able to give light to the sufferings in his writings with a witty sense of humor. Whether he intends to or not, I find it truly a gift that he can reach people, even himself, through his words.