The Salmagundi – Drift Excerpt

May 12, 2014 by


Old 67 has allowed us to meet a lot of great people. As we were building up the 67 Press side of the business and putting the word out there, we ran into some folks of similar sensibilities, the crew over at Camel City Dispatch. They reached out to us to set up an interview, and through them we met Jeffrey Sykes. Jeff wrote this article after an afternoon of drinking beer and talking everything from music and sports to the Beat Generation that inspired us. Through those conversations we learned Jeff wasn’t just a journalist, but a fiction writer as well. So we had to see what he had to offer, and he didn’t disappoint. We published his piece “Work it Out” back in December and we are publishing “Drift” in The Salmagundi. Both pieces explore growing up and coming to terms with the decisions we make along the way. “Drift” is musical in both its subject matter and flow, but like any good pop song, what’s on the surface masks a darker story beneath.

Jeffrey Sykes has written poetry and songs since childhood. After working as a journalist he’s begun to explore his dream of writing fiction. A student of history, he enjoys good writing in all forms. On Twitter @jeffreysykes



She smiled as her soft brown eyes looked up to me. I rewound the tape back to zero and thought of the afternoon’s bliss as I developed the piece from a three note phrase, modulated by the filters and oscillators on the Microsynth. Once I was happy with it I had clicked the digital delay’s infinite repeat button and spent an hour adjusting the controls, cutting the repetitions as I slowed the meter of the phrase itself, processing the original notes into something worlds apart from the moment of creation.

Anne listened to the sketch I’d created that afternoon and we polished off the smoke. She bailed first, a wave of the hand signaling “enough.” Dooley and I took a few more turns until he said “No man, I’m good” and I set the roach down in the ashtray to join the dozen already there.

It was only about 10 o’clock now and that particular interaction of fire, marijuana and white paper had fused the room with a pulsating energy. I can’t say that my music had anything to do with it. Quite the contrary, it was a slow, spacey piece I’d tentatively titled “Cosmic Engine Failure” because toward the end I’d had the vision of a spaceship crashing on a desolate planet.

When Anne finished listening we all seemed to feel the need to get up and move. Maybe it was the weed. Maybe it was the tension in the room with one person too many being present.

I suggested we take the four track and a mic outside to capture atmospheric sounds so I could use them to augment the piece. No one hesitated and I felt that if we spent an hour or so outside Dooley would get the picture and take off. That would leave plenty of time for the evening’s activity to run its course.

In the darkness you could not see the Mountain Laurel or the orange tipped Tiger Lilies lining the hillside separating my driveway from the road above. But in the cool stillness that surrounded us you could smell the bountiful fragrance nature offered this night.

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