THANK YOU to all of you who have written or called to say how much Hirth meant to you, how much his music and songs mean to you now. Thank you to those friends who supported Hirth while he was in the hospital, who called often to give their support during a very difficult time, who stayed in touch to see how Hirth was doing. Thanks to his musician friends who went to the hospital and played music with him or just laughed with him. Thanks to friends who flew in to be with us, from as far away as Germany, when the going got rough. Thank you to everyone who will continue to love and listen to his music forever. As Hirth reminds us, "In the poetry I am whole; In the music I am free."
My dearest most darling Hirth, You gave me so much in our too brief 19 years together. I take another opportunity to write to you, as you wrote to me over the years, so many songs and poems of love, as you wrote for the world, leaving music and poetry that now fills the world with so much truth, beauty, and humor.
You left the world the most beautiful legacy. There is so much wisdom in your writing. A great depth. You saw the world through special eyes and gave the world the opportunity to also see through those eyes, as evidenced by the many friends and fans from all over the world who have written or called to say how much you meant to them. You touched so many hearts, opened others to new ways of seeing, new ways of hearing. Your musician friends all tell me what a joy it was to work with you because you let them be free and trusted them to play the music.
You were a writer. You never went anywhere without a blank book in your hands, a pen in your pocket, a hat on your head. When you'd write or sing at home in our living room, I'd walk in to find you in another of your many hats, to set the mood for the moment. We bought hats wherever we went. I bought you hats for birthdays and Christmas. I bought a white straw hat for myself, with a black band. You liked it so much, I bought one for you. That hat became your favorite. You wore it when we went to Japan for one of your musical tours there. You bought two more just so you'd always have one on hand!
You were a singer. You sang everyday in our living room with your favorite acoustic guitar. Your next musical performance was meant to be in New Hampshire in August, solo, just you and your guitar. Your singing filled our house as you rehearsed. I remember listening, thinking my heart would break with the beauty of it. Your singing and playing held a quality I'd never heard, and I couldn't wait for the world to hear it. Unfortunately, that moment never came, because you became too ill to take that trip.
You were a guitar player. You could play many instruments, but guitar playing was your love. You played everyday on your beautiful old acoustic.You once told me you wrote most of your songs on that guitar. Your favorite guitar player was Joe Pass, whom you'd meant when you were young. You even got him some gigs! Your playing and his had a similar quality.
You were a piano player. You wrote and played piano on the loveliest version of "I've Been Working On The Railroad" that I ever heard, which you called, "Werkin' on the railroad."
You were not only a musician, but also a musicologist. Mention any song or songwriter and Hirth Martinez knew everything about it.
You were a prolific composer. You wrote thousands of songs, most of which have not been so far published. You once wrote a song for our dear friend and record producer, Yoshi Nagato, in the car, on the way to a session, and then recorded it when we got there! You could write at the drop of a hat, and each song was perfect.When your dad died, you wrote the poignant song, "Sometimes/Always" for him, which you sang at his funeral service.
You were an amazing artist. You could draw anything, but you preferred painting in the style of Jackson Pollock, whose work you so admired.
You were a reader. Our house is filled with books we bought over the years. We loved mysteries and poetry. I miss talking with you about the books we read together.
You were a father and grandfather who loved his children and grandchildren deeply, as they love you. You wrote them songs and poems. Your Christmas cards and birthday cards were always handwritten, Hirth style poems, something original for the receiver to keep and treasure forever. The creative genius that sparked your life lives on in each of them. Your writing contains great wisdom and humor they can turn to over the long years without you, to inspire and guide them, to make them laugh.
You were a performer. You didn't have magic tricks. You didn't need them. You just sang. You just played. Exquisitely.
You were a diabetic. You even wrote a song about that! You could turn anything into a song. You gave your time to help people learn about a cause dear to your heart - "amputation prevention" for diabetics - which you'd learned about from your old friend, Eddie Olmos, an ardent supporter of this cause.You became so disciplined with your diet that you completely gave up all forms of sugar.As you wrote in one of your songs, "The blues are a terrible thing, but they're beautiful to sing." Your songs made everything beautiful.
You loved Japan, where we went several times on tour. Your Japanese fans were devoted to Hirth Martinez, as he was to them. You loved Little Tokyo. We'd go there just to walk around and soak up the energy and talk about being in Japan.
You loved diners. When we visited my hometown of Jamestown, New York, your best time was when I took you to an old 50's diner. You wrote a song later about that visit, called, 'Merry Christmas Never Ends.' "I was once in New York, visiting family and friends. Now I'm wishing Merry Christmas never ends."That song should be a Christmas classic!It was recorded by a band you played with, 'The Holiday Gents.' You played guitar.
You loved coffee. And diners. And writing. You loved all three of them at the same time.
You loved music stores and bookstores and guitars.
You loved CD's. Not being the computer type, since you only wrote on paper, you wanted something you could hold in your hand. Your CD collection began to overflow our small house! I even spent $40 on Ornette Coleman's, "Beauty Is A Rare Thing" that you asked me to buy in your last days. We didn't know those were your last days. I still have those CDs. New. In the box. If I play them now, will you hear them?
You loved Lebanese food.
You loved East Los Angeles.
You loved laughing. You loved jokes.
You loved the rain. You wrote a song, 'Rain On The City' - "there's lotsa rain on the city,dancing on the street,there's lotsa love in my heart and soul."
You loved Jesus and Yogananda and Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman,Henry Miller,Charles Bukowski, Popeye, Jobim, Dylan, Joao Giberto, Jane Oliver, Nellie McKay, The Music, angels, flying saucers, our little dog Penny, jazz, art, The Andy Griffith Show, old black and white TV shows, and the list goes on.
You loved me. I loved you. I loved you before I knew you were 'Hirth from Earth.' I loved the man I meant when he first called me on the phone. He was living in East Los Angeles; I was living on Maui. He'd read some of my writing, heard about me from a mutual friend. Hadn't even seen my picture, but he was intrigued by my writing. I'd heard about him from the same friend. He called. Hisfirst words were, "Indira, this is Hirth. What time is it there?"
We knew we loved each other from that first phone call. Without ever meeting or seeing each other.And then we met, and you wrote me this song:
I recall the night when we first met
I hadn't loved you yet
but I knew you were the one
I recall the first time that we kissed
I thought you might resist
but the magic had begun
I don't remember ever being lonely
now you're my one and only
I have never felt like this
I never knew I'd never been in love
until I was in love
ever since that kiss
I recall the moonlight in the skies
the fire in your eyes
the silent ocean mist
I recall the moment shining bright
the magic of that night
the first time that we kissed.
Thank you Hirth, for sharing yourself, your life and songs and poems and music and magic and heart and even the shadows with me. Thank you for teaching me to play the guitar and read music. I miss you each moment. I miss all the things we will never do, all the conversations we will never have. There will never be another Hirth Martinez.
Thank you for showing me your shadows and allowing me to show you mine. Only when we see the shadows and the shadows behind the shadows and do not run away does love become real. You made me real, Hirth. You showed me the world through your eyes and taught me so much. I am forever grateful. I love you. I know your peace and protection are with me now and always. I wish you a good journey in the Light, which is where I shall always see you, my dearest love, companion of my soul, heart of my heart. From light are we born and to light do we return. We are never separate, my love, for you are the light in my heart, as I am the light in yours.
Thank you for trusting me and honoring our love together by leaving me the rights to all of your music and writing. It is a great honor to continue to serve you and your legacy in this way. I cherish each word, each note, you ever wrote.
For the moment...Indira
Indira Judith Parsons