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Open Faces Four


Sky Light

Sean finally came back from the other side of his orbital swing. Sitting in Tara’s, tonight, half-way listening to the rhythm and blues sound coming down from the stage, Richard is feeling he would just as soon get caught up in the now-town music being played rather than keep to the threads of a story becoming anything but simple. He doesn’t know if he can make any sense of it, just as he has never been very good at threading a cat’s cradle.

Richard was working the night Sean came into the Jacaranda’s bar. Sean with his gray eyes smiling who came in to sit for a couple of hours, to leaf through the wine list, to talk with Richard about one of the few enduring wonders of an ancient regime, what they both know to be the bubbles of making champagne. Sean then ordered a bottle of the same for them and for any chance waiter who might pass through the restaurant’s service bar looking for a moment’s respite. Sean was as golden, that night, as any sun turned man could be. Thinking about it again, thinking about the extremes of his friend’s orbital swings, Richard can’t help but wonder at how difficult a proposition it must be to be thrown so far inside such a cycle. He can honestly say he has never known anyone quite like Sean, anyone in whom the mix of sad/happiness, black night and bright day, moontide and morning, could take a person from one visible edge of the spectrum to the other in so short a span of time, or as completely. It isn’t that Sean is unstable. At least, not in the usual sense of that category. He always presents the same set mask to acquaintances, customers, and fellow workers. The most anyone could ever check him on would be a certain untouchable quality that he hangs from his neck like a shield. It is just that when Sean is light, when his face shines as yellow as a sun star, he is like a favored king holding court. But that when Sean finds himself in the pull of some dark lord of the underground, it is even difficult to walk in near proximity of the black space he can become. Richard has difficulty imagining how any man could keep to a balancing act of inside swings that pull on him as much as they seem to pull on Sean. And Richard could not deny that he needs to understand his friend, even if he might not know why.

They are alike, or, at least, not so dissimilar. Even the waiters at the Jacaranda who have known them both for over a year, and who would have figured out the peculiarities of each of their short-order liquor makers, still call for one of them using the other’s name. Rounding the corner of the wine rack separating the bar from the hall, any one of them sees an impression of a bartender standing behind the solid mahogany barrier. And they call out a name just as likely to belong to the bartender off duty as it belongs to the man whose image faces them. Nor is it only at the Jacaranda where Richard might be confused for Sean, Sean for Richard. At parties, bars, and other restaurants the confusion remains the same. It can happen anywhere, now that Richard thinks about it, where the lighting is neither direct or bright eyed; where it spreads out along lateral lines of diffusion, where it follows a certain rock n roll antipathy for concrete distinctions. There is only one person who never confuses the two of them, a woman Richard calls a Morning Star. She is the manager at Tara’s Place. She is a soft blonde lady whose skin almost keeps to a red gold by the beach side’s subtropical sun. And she is always rising, it seems to Richard, never setting. Even when a certain sadness might take her way from her job, and she keeps to her river house inside the marsh for a few days. The only sense Richard could see in how she never confuses the two friends is to think that, maybe, she is close enough to her own springs to keep her from making the kind of trivial mistakes, and slips of thought, that can show someone to be at cross-currents with themselves.

It is still hard, however, to understand how Sean and Richard can be confused for each other, to even be taken as brothers, as some sort of twin imaging. Where Sean is as wildly Irish as an immigrant’s son can be, as careless in his carefully acquired exile, Richard is as much a darkling as can be expected to come from an Italian father and a dark skinned mother of Creek mixture. But they are both tall, Richard being a little taller; and they are both built around coils of wiry strength, Sean being a little wirier. So maybe that is it, or part of it. Maybe it is as simple as an outline, a kind of chiaroscuro being thrown against a wall. Especially when they are working in their uptown lounge with its uptown lighting specifically designed to round out sharp contrasts, fostering the kind of half-awake illusions into which its customers can escape for awhile. But Richard suddenly realizes this line of inquiry is going to get him nowhere. It isn’t going to do him any good to sit here and try to separate out the elements of two personalities who, on some level, seem to be involved in that twin imaging. No sooner realized and Richard can admit that what he is really after is the abstracted difference between the two bartenders, especially after what happened the other night. So how is he going to try to understand his friend without understanding? How is he going to get back inside what happened a few nights ago without trying to make sense of it? And they were playing that night too, Alex’s trio, the one up on the stage tonight. Richard is still willing to bet the answer to his question about understanding without understanding is still some inside part of the story they were all keeping to, getting played to.


They are playing it again. They are playing the same song they had been playing a few nights ago when a starving, growling, elemental disruption broke through the precincts of Tara’s house. They call the song “Rita”, and it is as true a rhythm and blues lament of love gone wrong, of love’s traces having skipped out the door, and leaving some lover to make sense of an empty home, as Richard thought he has ever heard. It is just a cry, Rita’s song. A thematic cry bent on dipping back down inside itself until it found and followed the variable depths that can be sounded along the strings of the human heart. It is like a stormy symphony, like a jazzman striking true the contrary moods of a day, or like a gypsy’s flamenco song gutturally reaching inside itself for the perfect emotion carried on the perfect tune. Only, here in Tara’s, the banshee cry of that song can be amplified out of all safe proportions. It is just never so far away. And the lament is here, right here, all around here, and drowning out the quieter brain talk that can set you a little apart from the pains, the heart hurt, the drunken chances always going on down around you. Rita’s song is one of those tunes tripping it all open. All of the deep down desires, the loneliness, and the backlight voices leading so many music lovers into deeper directions. The drummer will be keeping to his perfectly measured, skull piercing beat; keeping to it, that is, until he has been cracked open as easily as a bird shell and he is set free to go chasing after a lateral and expansive run. And the rhythm guitarist can continue leading them through the house of his song. He leads them by the slender, steely thread of a tune. You would never know for sure if that thread will bring you face to smiling face with a lovely night-dressed gal or with the sneering minotaur always waiting for you. You just never know on a given night, and with the same song, which way you will be turned. Alex, the bass playing man will stand behind it all, still keeping the measured feet of a song grounded or from losing ground, still keeping order as the band says goodbye to Rita, one more time, walking out the door.




Last edited by Terreson, Jan/2/2011, 11:24 pm
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Re: Open Faces Four


On the night Sean returned, after Richard closed the Jacaranda’s bar, they had come with Dennis and Ian to Tara’s Place for last call. They were feeling light mooded, which is always the virtue of champagne. All of them, that is, except for Dennis who had retreated as far behind his Viking ship brows as Richard thought he has seen a man do. There is just a berserker strain in him, as brooding a warrior seaman as has ever been quickened by a cold and stormy sea. And it is a racial strain even more sharply set in contrast, that night, by Ian’s company.

Ian is one of the restaurant’s line cooks, Cornish by birth. He is purely primitive in the way he can dip down into the seedbed of his imagination, even finding a fanciful creature just waiting for him down inside there, and so easily fly away from his cares on the back of some furry bird. It is as if Ian’s is as much an errantly surviving strain of racial bedrock as is Dennis’s. Richard was struck by the wonder of it, one night, at an after-hours party in someone’s beach house. It was when Ian took to dancing by himself on the living room floor. He just started dancing, still dancing his life away, to a New Wave record of rock n roll. Richard could not be certain if Ian had even the smallest idea of where he was that night. And what was surprising was the absence of anything like a rock n roll rhythm in Ian’s abandonment. There wasn’t the watery release of a rock n roller’s soul always a part of rock n roll’s self-charging genius. There was something else instead, something different. It was as if Ian’s was a purely sticks and stones evocation of elements surrounding him. Richard could almost swear the blue tattoos and Pictish signs reappeared on a young Brit’s forehead, the ones having been washed away by the centuries and scraped clean. Richard realized that rock n roll is as much a celebration of other primitive strains, cellular strains that managed to sneak through the time warp of a cutaway Century, as it is the transported child of a Black Continent’s voodoo marriage. So who could say that rock n roll isn’t a musical cauldron large enough, fired enough, to keep on cooking up its new/old tunes forever?

But walking through Tara’s door, the four of them were met by a bar room still busy enough with its surfer boys, its nighttime journeymen, its seaside girls, and its rock n roll women. They also felt how the rhythm and blues trio was starting to get low and dirty up on the stage. Ian stopped just inside the door to talk to a woman, while the rest of the party made its way to a table against the bar’s far wall. By the time a waitress in her uniform involving a short skirt and tight fitting top came to take their order, Ian had rejoined them and was giving his order too.

Then it looked as if they would all be playing a game with each other. All of them except for Dennis who looked to be still keeping to a place somewhere down under. The game they entered into, without meaning to, was a game of comparative spirits. Or, by what means will three friends pacify, anesthetize over-worried brains while keeping to the liquors most compatible with respective inclinations?

For Ian the proper token to set him on so spiritual journey, he said, could only be the eau de vie stuff of the Highlands. And a single malt scotch at that. He will have nothing to do, he said, with the blended scotches passed off as good Scottish coming from the lowlands. He had told Richard more than once it is a secret of the glens, a secret running between the Highland hills, that makes his whiskey so special. That and the smoky touch on the points of his palette right before the fiery feeling in his belly. He honestly didn’t think you can blend those secrets to their best advantage. Maybe like so many old time Muses, Richard thinks, who never mixed well, or like the rock n roll ladies in a rock n roll bar who always keep to separate paths inside rock n roll halls. Having given the reason for his preference, Ian’s friends agreed he was entitled to his first shot. When Sean’s turn came to go a few free moves forward it would be a snifter of Cognac in hand. He told his friends it is because he likes to roll so true a spirit across his tongue, marveling the while that what he tastes were once the sugar fat berry juices of a grape. It is enough for him to believe in alchemical properties, quicksilver, mercurial, properties that keep his head in heaven. That is what he said. They all agreed such would be a sweet prospect. But one Richard was certain he could not follow now with his turn to get moving along the board. So he took a cheating shot of Irish, asking a nearby waitress for another. He then told his friends that, at one time, it would have been bourbon. From sour mash to the peaty tastes of wood and earth is not so fast a step, he allowed, but he had never known the amber of either to let him down. They always could light a way for him to home.
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Re: Open Faces Four



Sean then asked Ian about the girl at the door. Ian replied her name is Lisa. This meant, Richard realized, she is the famous Lisa. The only woman, he knows through the usual circuit of small town gossip, Ian has ever let get close to him. She is the only girl who has ever overthrown him from the surface play of his imagings and into the deeper places where, Richard has a hunch, Ian has not yet learned to swim. Richard would see her again before the night was through. He would also see her the next day while walking to work along the bayfront boulevard. She would be driving an open jeep, in the late afternoon’s light, and speeding along on the street. Her long blond hair fighting with the wind behind her. Richard would kind of know it was Lisa even before she was close enough for him to recognize a face he saw for the first time that night. When she passed by, while still increasing her speed in spite of the bend in the avenue the high wheel base of her jeep would have difficulty keeping to, Richard would notice a black-and-marble-like icon sitting behind her on the seat. The one, he nonsensically thought, she tries to get away from, the one she kept with her, the black labrador frozen in her motion. Richard would remember what Ian said at the table when Sean asked what happened between the two of them. Ian said that, on their last night together, she came home very late. She didn’t want to respond to his question about where she had been. And he noticed for the first time, he said, the marks of the white choo choo train on the inside of her arm. He looked at Sean and Richard, telling them, still incredulous, they had lived together for almost a year. He asked her that night if she had been shooting up. She turned such a cold face to him, Ian said, such a coldly cracking ice maiden’s face that made him shiver. She told him there were really very few things he knew about her. Just like the iceberg, Ian now told his friends, that can cut the heart out of you without meaning to, or without ever seeming to be near enough to do you harm.

When Richard looked at Lisa again, looking at the famous Lisa still standing by the door, he realized his first impression was wrong. She had looked like a young woman, a young blond woman sporting the usual leisure time tan, but who was not all that striking on the eyes. There hadn’t really been anything to see in her that might turn a young friend down a narrow path of fast speed emotions and shutter time encounters. But she isn’t plain to look at, Richard got with a sinking feeling, while she kept to an opening and closing doorway. She was just wearing the mask drawn over her face by too many half-hearted day breaks cracking open for her. And what is there really to distract her from so many jagged dawns? In her beachside world where pleasure is as simply described as a lizard’s path taking it from a sunning rock to a palmetto’s dark underside and coming back out from under, what is there to get a tautly tired woman through the razor ringed nights? What had it been anyway in the famous Lisa that so surely overthrew a young and playful Brit? What did he find in her to make it so difficult for him to ever let his tender time defenses down again after she turned away?

Richard still isn’t sure what touched off Dennis’s anger. He had been looking at Lisa, trying to see behind the face of Ian’s Lisa. He had been wondering about a young woman’s side of a story at least as old as that pleasure poet of old town Rome who shamelessly set himself to mapping out most of the regions of love and hate; and who, like Ian, was singly overthrown by a another slender waisted river girl. Richard was trying to cross over into her stream, the same as what was carrying Rita down from the stage, when he and Ian suddenly found themselves on the floor and with the table on top of them. By the time they untangled themselves out from under the bar room furniture, they saw Dennis holding down a neighboring customer with his knees, like a vise, and hammering away at the man’s face with his fists. Sean was already lifting Dennis up, wrenching him away from a body gone limp. And Pulitzer looked to be the one underneath a bleeding nose, behind a reddened face already beginning to puff out. Then Dennis freeing himself from the arm band of Sean’s grip, pivoting on the bearings of his feet, making ready to smash against whoever dared to catch him from behind. But then seeing it was Sean. Then his rage caught in a trough deeper than even he could climb his way out of. It was just in how the two men looked at each other, and still standing over the unconscious Pulitzer on the floor. It was in what Richard should have seen as late as on the night he left Sean mesmerized by an emerald green boa feeing on a mouse.

Ian was the first to turn them out of the problem they were in. He did so by telling Sean to get Dennis out the door. Dennis then fell into following Sean through the bar as easily as Bunyan’s Babe might have let himself be led home after a night of rampaging through the countryside. By the time they cleared the doorway, Pulitzer’s table friends were pulling him up in a chair. They were talking about taking him to the emergency room. Ian and Richard were paying for the drinks, having decided it was time for them to get out too, when a Morning Star caught hold of Richard by the arm. She said she would have to ban Dennis from coming back in. But she must have caught something of Richard’s preoccupation, as she looked at him in the real time way before squeezing his arm again. Richard wanted to tell a Morning Star she was right, that he was only then figuring it out. He asked her, instead, to tell him the name of Alex’s trio starting up, again, to play another song or two before the night was over. She said they call themselves Stepping Out. Ian and Richard then told her goodnight, walking out the door. And Richard wondered what it might be like to talk to a Morning Star when Ian suggested they smoke the reefer he had in his car.

They went to sit in Ian’s car parked on the side street belonging to Tara’s Place. They climbed into the car, with both of them sitting quietly for a moment as if to shake off the image of Dennis’s rage, while Ian reached into the ash tray for the jay. Then taking a hit and coughing, taking another and coughing again until they were fairly well curled inside sensations circling them. All the while watching the first of Tara’s late night customers stepping off the porch on their uncertain way home. Then Ian who started to talk, talking as slowly and deliberately as Richard thinks he has ever heard him talk.
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There isn’t much to say, he began by saying, except that it has been awhile since he thought about the first time he saw Lisa. Seeing her tonight made him see her again, in the way he first saw her, when she was swimming in the ocean. He saw her swimming in the sea, he said. But that isn’t exactly right, he said starting again, and taking another hit before trying to say how it had been.

He was surfing that day. It was the first warm water day of spring. The waves were good, at least as he remembers them. There was an off-shore breeze to give them a fuller face. He can remember, for sure, being taken inside a couple of overhead shooters, staying inside of them most of the way in, until he found a side-door glide to bring him out again. He was finally coming out of the water on his way home for lunch when he saw her. He was taking his surfboard’s nylon leash from off his ankle when he looked down the beach and saw the most beautiful sight he thinks he has ever seen. It whispered to him, he tried to tell Richard while turning fully towards his friend to make him understand. If he let himself, Ian said, he could hear it whispering again. What whispered was a young woman walking into the surf at mid-distance. The air was hazy enough to make it seem softer than maybe that whispering had really been. The sea’s foam green almost coming out of the curvature of the shore, melting into some indecipherable portion of the sky, and the young woman who started diving her way through the low waves coming closer to shore. She would dive, Ian said, and she would come up on the wave’s other side, only to pull back the length of her hair and dive in again. She did that several times until he was fairly well drunk with the motion of how she easily threaded herself through the waves.

He walked to where she had started her sewing, dragging his board along with him, and he stopped at where her jeep was parked by the water’s edge. She had to have seen him. But she never took notice of the man standing there, much less leave the water that seemed to belong to her. So he looked until he found a pencil and paper underneath the jeep’s seat. He wrote out his name and telephone number, and he asked her to call him later in the night. Which she did, Ian said, giving the last of the roach to Richard. She did, he repeated, wondering out loud at how long it would be before he could easily raise his head again. It was then that the perpetual motion of a jeep passed by the two friends on Tara’s side street, and cleanly sucking the conversation out of Ian’s car. It was also when they saw a squad car pulling up in front of Tara’s door. They watched as the policeman got out of his car, with clipboard in hand, on his way inside to report on another small eruption in the town’s night time rounds. Ian and Richard quickly decided to do what a surfer boy might recommend, and that was to make a backside glide out of there.

But then Richard figured he needed to walk his way home, that he needed it as much as when he had been a teenager and the same emotive eruptions of a rock n roll adolescence spilled out over the same night time streets. So he told Ian goodnight. He then started walking down the narrow streets crisscrossing their bay front town. Soon he was crisscrossing the town too, trying to find a way through some part of what surfaced that night. Maybe it never has done him any good, either then or now, to be walking his way through such a maze, a labyrinth really of rock n roll emotions; a thing he knows is true when he is wanting to lose every sense and location of all the darker heart place names, and underground springs, he has ever chanced upon. Maybe too it is just another time, like all the other times, when the libido hunger they all keep calling up gets the better of some one of them.


Alex’s trio is breaking for awhile and leaving the stage. They walk outside to sit in the cooling night air; the only medium it seems sometimes, that can slow down the accelerator of a rock n roll machine. Richard just asked a passing waitress for another glass of Irish, while noticing that Tara’s is not looking so busy tonight. It is just that the alternating currents of their musical electricity are not as frenetically crossing from one end of the bar to the other, or oscillating at high frequencies they way they can. Richard notices that Monica is sitting at the bar with Dudley, even at this late hour, and that Hugh is noticeably not with her. It is a surprise to see her past the hour when she usually leaves for home. Richard spoke to her earlier in the evening. He asked her about Hugh, having a reason for asking he hadn’t told her. She said she didn’t know, that nobody has seen her sailor man in over a week. She has been through the town looking for him, she said. She has been stopping by his boat, and she has been keeping a cover on all the bars where he does his drinking. She even visited the town’s docks to see if he had slipped away, without telling her, on someone else’s sailing vessel. But she hasn’t been able to find him, she said, or even a report on him. In spite of what she promised herself when she first started seeing him she has begun to worry about him. For a new time, Monica let fall, she is worrying about a man. She wanted to curse him for that. Her reason for worrying is because of something he told her their last time together. It wasn’t so much what he said, as that he said it several times. It was the same as what he told her their first time together; only, this time, it made her shudder. Hugh told her, Monica said, and he kept on telling her, she is the most peaceful woman he has ever known. He repeated himself until she thought she would start screaming, or, maybe, scratch his face a testing time to show him how she can be something other than peaceful. At this point in Monica’s tale of her missing sailor Richard decided not to tell her he has seen her castaway lover. He tried to persuade himself he was mistaken, that it hadn’t been Hugh he saw after leaving Ian’s company some nights ago, that it was some stranger he saw snarling, enveloped, and tearing branches and leaves from a tree. But Stepping Out is stepping back in to start it all up again. Richard knows he needs to step back too, stepping back to the night when Dennis got banned from the premises, as that night wasn’t over yet, even if there is not much left to tell.





Last edited by Terreson, Jan/18/2011, 1:15 am
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Re: Open Faces Four



After Richard left Ian, he turned down one of the narrower streets leading through an older, even closer part of a town some say is America’s first town. Maybe it is odd or strange how the midnight of a town tends to be a familiar place for him. Even a place, he admits with a stony laugh, he seems to know better than the place-names of a friend’s heart. Richard knows the sleepy streets and corners of this sea side town Spaniards first raised out of the surrounding marsh. In the slack tide of midnight he can walk through the town, and he can feel what is left of the layers of Indian, soldier, sailor, settler, and entrepreneur having been laid out over the centuries in the oyster beds of a tidewater landfill. Maybe it is still just another island in the stream, but it is also one where the eddying energies of the past cannot be persuaded to keep quiet. You cannot go your unconsidered way here and keep untouched by the curling wisps of whatever it is Richard doesn’t have a name for. Animal magnetism, unquiet hearts, desires still as demanding as they were a few centuries before. Whatever it is, spirit, spook, or hungry urge, it is everywhere to be found in this watery town opening up to the sea. Everyone knows it. Everyone talks about it for miles around. And while walking home in Tara’s closing hour, or after he might have closed the Jacaranda’s bar, Richard could feel how the long ago loves, even the darker heart drives, still push their way through the fissures and cracks of sidewalk, pavement, cobblestone, graveyard and up through the old wooden houses.

Then the other late night sides of this town always pulled upon by the sea, and that are also a part of a night time worker’s return home. Such as the pickup trucks rumbling down the streets, and whose drivers are so fearful of everything going on around them they have set their trucks on top of oversized wheels. They tend to look like a herd of elephants tiptoeing through a field of mice. Then the wide green strip along the bay front, between seawall and boulevard, that becomes a meat drive after dark when the tourists had left town for their air conditioned motel rooms. It is where the town’s men-lonely men chase after spectrals of other lonely men, and who then come away from the bay front walk with the lost look still in their eyes. Then the bullet blasts speaking of another unreported shooting or death, and the screeching tires, Richard could sometimes hear coming from the western, interior side of town where the salt and pepper laughter of bottom scale folk can turn on itself in a summertime heartbeat. When walking out of the neighboring stillness of narrow streets and old live oak trees, walking into the town’s open square, Richard crosses into the old slave market where teenagers keep with their music boxes, and with their cars almost always idling, maybe just waiting for the road to take them elsewhere. There too are the street people keeping to the old market’s square, like a dirty flock of starlings having trailed the more brightly colored, and monied, snow birds coming out of the north for winter. They take up their habitations in the heart of the city. They will stay through the night in the town’s public square. They would have walked the streets, seen the sights, done a little panhandling, and they would have come back to the open air, well lit market to spend their nights. About the only pleasure they couldn’t enjoy there is sleep. They cannot fall asleep in the old slave market, and Richard has heard enough official issue, blue uniformed night sticks cracking against the old stone pillars and walls to figure out why.

Richard is bluffing himself, trying to inventory some of the town’s midnight content like a storybook shamus whose private investigations can take him into places he would rather not be. Coming out from inside the market’s shield of mercury light, then stepping down the narrow side street leading home, Richard didn’t want to be looking into this unexpected region either. That Pulitzer’s chance proximity to a bullman’s rage maybe kept the bridge of Richard’s nose intact is a suspicion that didn’t really encourage him to step inside this new neighborhood of love-time relations. And what sense is there to make , now, of the extremes in Sean’s cyclical swings? Or of how a man like Sean has to live in a space-time so polarized by its fear of everything lying barely beneath the simple surface of things, the misfitting solution gets constantly demanded of him. What about the projected picture of a Michigander? A berserker whose flipside image, desperate for another man’s love, is as desperate as a drunken boat madly careening in the dark, and who can barely hope to find a friendly pilot to bring him back to shore.

Richard reached this far in his careful questioning when he came upon, what looked to be, a shadowy man entangled in the branches of a low and tender tree. It was hard at first to make out the details of what came into view at a corner of crossing streets. But it looked as if a man was biting and tearing at the young and new green branches of a curbside tree. Then a man’s guttural cry coming out of the fray. There was somehow more hurt in that cry than anger, more sorrow being squeezed out of a man’s throat than Richard thinks he has ever heard. Richard stopped in his walking, not having the courage to pass by, to keep indifferent, as if nothing was happening on a late night street mostly asleep. And the man continued unaware he was being watched. He kept on tearing, biting, crying until not much was left of the branches, and he went for the trunk. He started biting and grappling with a young tree’s trunk before he suddenly stopped, maybe having spent the outside forces of his pain. Then he stood for awhile beside a sap-bleeding tree, still crying his guttural moan. Then he started walking away. He walked back past Richard without noticing another man on the street. It is when Richard saw that the man was wearing the only red and black striped bandana he knows of in town. As the bandana man walked away, Richard thought he recognized a familiar set of poker legs framed against the slave market’s light. He is pretty certain the man was Hugh. He watched as the sailor man passed out of sight, hearing how a sailor’s moan faded away.

Richard then turned down a side street taking him back to the river walk. He did not want to carry so much misery home with him, and not knowing the night’s surprises were unfinished. Richard had been wanting a friend, he realized while walking out of the labyrinth’s midnight rounds. Just a pal, an uncomplicated accomplice with whom he could sit on the fringe of a rock n roll way of proceeding, while looking in on what goes down, like a pair of elder statesmen no longer personally involved in the game. But then coming into the wider regions of the tidal river where maybe he could find a river breeze to clear his ears, crossing the avenue and stepping onto the coquina rock river wall, Richard was unable to feel surprise at the sight of a jeep parked there. It is just how nights could go turning on themselves. Nor did there seem to be any reason for cutting clear of a lonely river girl sitting on the wall with her legs folded up under her chin, her night face as pale as white powder. When he came close enough to maybe say something to her, about to walk past her, the girl sitting on the wall upturned her milky white face and said – Everybody already knows Lisa. – Richard understood he had just chanced on Lisa in her element; the one place, maybe, where she is wholly her own. He couldn’t think of why he should disturb her from it. Just as he thinks he understood there are some nights when you should leave a river girl alone. He kept on walking, eventually turning away from the tidal river for his apartment.


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Re: Open Faces Four



What happened a few nights ago, mostly without happening, still swims around in the tide pool of Tara’s time. Much like the rhythm boys up on the stage, still playing many of the same songs they played then, only playing them differently. No one not here, that night, really wants to know why Dennis is banned from the premises. And, yet, everybody knows. Just as the regulars haven’t gone out of their way to pay attention to the bridge of Pulitzer’s nose taped closed, but still showing him little kindnesses when he comes in. And so the ground-bed of the bar is soaking up the stormy weather that broke over it, until a day comes when Dennis is let back in, or when Stepping Out steps through the door with another new song to try on them, or, even, when a Morning Star might teach some one of them how to see through the undercurrents that carry them along without anyone noticing. It’s how things are in a place like Tara’s. The place-names of heart felt desires pull them along in directions never more than half-charted. Sometimes those place-names could be pulling at them from trenches and caverns where even a Morning Star might not be able to breathe; and where love can turn to hate, a tender touch into a deadly thing. Then something else might happen. Some one of them might be leaning into a newer, more distilled direction. And all of Tara’s lives get accelerated for awhile, until the new current settles back into a rock n roll stream. Rock n roll time will then be slowed again, or the heat of a love’s loss brought to the surface and cooled, or maybe, just maybe, someone will dive back down the sliding stairs of a musical dream until he or she comes up to the surface again with a new picture, a new place of longing, a new song for an old way of singing. This last being something of what Richard senses in the band tonight, playing the same old songs, but playing them differently. It even looks as if Rita’s lament has been played with a little less pain, a little more understanding of her side of the story, than on a few nights before. Richard wonders at how many times Stepping Out will see her through the door before they can let her go. Just let her go. And how long will it be before the band might find itself caught up in a new musical current, playing new rhythms, delving new blues, leaning into new underwater groves?

Who should be walking through Tara’s swinging doorway but a newly shaven, cleanly dressed, smiling faced sailor man wearing his prized Greek sailor’s cap. And it isn’t long before Hugh buys his friends a round of drinks, not forgetting to salute the trio of music makers up on the stage with a tray of the same. Nor is he shy about treating himself to the peaceful pleasure of Monica’s easy company. It doesn’t look as if the lady minded. Which has to be some part of that same genius for letting go, for knowing when to, and then letting go. Richards starts to realize how letting go is a kind of genie staying just in front of a rock n roll company; sometimes teasing it along and barely keeping within reach. Much like the shimmering light play outside his apartment window when he finally made it home a few nights ago. It’s what had been the last of that night’s unexpected meetings. Richard also begins to see how a rock n roll dream could keep a dreamer doubling back inside a swinging doorway, keeping said dreamer reaching for the genie he has been following after anyway. Maybe it didn’t matter how many times the light playing across a namelessly new face might come into view, or how many times you trip over your own feet reaching for it. Even if the real surprise is in seeing that light play come up again, coming up again in the way it did after Richard returned home, and he looking outside his windows.

His rooms had been dark, and the trees behind his place were crowding together in the way they do. Only, this time, they looked sewn together, and hanging, like an indefinitely deep curtain. They are the live oaks, the bays, the sycamores, cypresses, and the sable palms woven through each other. Then up from behind them their shone that light; a quickening cascade of unmistakable light Richard has seen thirty times before in thirty different places. It never has mattered where he is, or where the sense of that same light could come up on him. From out of a desert evening’s vanishing perspective, or streaming down inside the living cathedral of a forest after a morning’s rain. Between the swaying steel and concrete obelisks of a night time city, or from behind a mountain’s excitable ridgeline when night falls. Richard has seen it raised over the calciferous plains of Spain and out over the snow sewn stillness of a winter’s field. He has seen it shake its fish bright tail over a shoreline’s strand of borrowed land just before the morning’s sun splits the sea in two. It is always the same quickening light-dream coming up in front, staying just ahead, teasing and almost saying – Catch me if you can. - Richard saw it a few nights ago, and for no reason he can understand, coming up from inside the insides of this tidewater town. So he guesses the two genies are the same; the light play of rounding earth-shaped places and a rock n roll penchant for letting go. He is willing to bet the coquettish invitation of one, and the wagering surrender of the other, are what keep on tilling a certain class of dreamers back under. The same as what might keep the gentle, sometimes ungentle, precincts of a song going on forever. Maybe it is some part of what Hugh meant when he said to the rhythm boys up on the stage, when he lifted their drinks to them, that he is not able to think of anything more glorious than a song. They were closing the night down again. They were playing their last tune. They were chasing the same old voodoo down along the bars, the frets, between the exacting places of a drum beat, like a watery soul pouring itself out for nothing more promising than a song.


Jan/22/2011, 8:00 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 




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