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Open Faces Six


Melissa

Has it only been three weeks since a Sunday afternoon’s cabin party on Hugh’s sailing vessel, The Lord Jim? Three weeks since the high blue day Richard walked down to the boat yard where a sailor’s boat was tied, and where he met up with a brown eyed girl in quarters too close to keep on staying clear of her. Has it just been three weeks when he and Melissa sat on the deck of an old sailing yacht and watched how the flamingo pink wings of a sub-tropical sunset can open up on the marsh bed in an indigo Indian’s night, and where a first sweet kiss becomes as perfectly rounded as a pearl drop melting in a glass of red wine? Crazy to think, much less give it credence, that so little time has passed since then. Or that the conversion of weeks into days calls for a passing recognition of only twenty-one days gone by. She wasn’t at Richard’s apartment, last night, waiting for him to come home from work. He is inclined to think she will not come to stay with him tonight. And he is perfectly willing to blame a night heron’s screech and scream for keeping her away, for bringing them this soon to a kind of crossing road’s station where one of them is made to choose between love-time, lifetime vectors. Every story, Richard begins to think, probably has its great and little twists and surprises. But he had thought this a story whose plan was pretty well mapped out in advance. That all he needed was to follow the lines of rock n roll progressions, the banners of its feeling logic waving in the surrounding breeze, from the relatively safe arc of a lighted doorway. He hasn’t counted on being called out for another silly time; on being called down to the dance floor by a different sort of light, the one staying just in front of them all. He figured he had grown wise enough, in a musical way, to explore the under-waters of a rock n roll dream without it required of him to swim a closer portion of his life away again. What Richard hasn’t count on was being thrown from the safe and middling vantage point of a bar room table by a girl whose scented breeze has run through him since that first night when he saw her sitting across the room, another night when Sag Boody played his tunes, a night coming before a first page installment of this story. There is no other way to say how it has been, except that it is Melissa bringing about a tale of rock n roll, and keeping Richard coming back to sit inside the precincts of Tara’s Place. There was a night, and a day following, setting Richard back to tracking the lovely, long tailed cuckoo that is most every dreamer’s dreambird. Only, he hasn’t counted on being led to where he might find her out in such close quarters. He hasn’t counted on being found out too. And, tonight, it looks as if he has had to play again the three week fool. It is the real-time pressure of kisses, of days and sodden nights involving close proximities between marsh, river and ocean, of the twenty-one sunrises opening like so many morning glories opening on a sand dune’s shoulders, that is the surprise changing everything.


Tara’s Place is kind of quiet, which is just as well. There are not many customers in the house, even fewer patrons sitting out on Tara’s porch. None of the house’s regulars are in, none of the full moon ladies usually sitting at the bar, and none of the Nam vets who never sit in one place for long anyway. Nor are there any of the other faces Richard has come to recognize, the scared rabbit faces of the cotton tail girls keeping on the run, the sailor faces usually in here when there is no boat work to be done, and none of the hungry wolf faces, or the Sun king surfer faces, that come in looking for another lacy girl they can take home for free. Richard thinks maybe they all know something he has yet to figure out. Or is it a summer’s slack tide having taken them all back to some triangle in the sea?

Time runs slow, tonight. Maybe it is bottoming out the way it can sometimes, leaving them variously to what mechanical clock devices will get them through to where summer’s second-half tide starts coming back in. Such as the device Richard keeps to, the mechanical response of writing down a story slipping away from him. Like another love-time pass slipping away again. Or like the piano man playing his whiskey blues up on the stage; and who, for some patrons, has played the same blues one time too many. Richard can’t say for sure what it means to have played the whiskey blues one time too many. Except for the harder edge that can take hold of a music man’s voice when he has waited too long for his whiskey muse to come back to him. And for the boredom in himself he himself gives voice too. Richard has attended on him before, the man up on the stage whose name is Billy Westwind. He enjoys the lower keys, and drawn out melodies, the man’s piano can hammer out for them. There is also a certain sense Westwind brings into the bar; a sense hard to describe, but that can touch the room. Maybe it is like standing in the middle of an orchard whose fruit bearing trees awoke one morning to find themselves on the other side of fruitful. Instead of making fruit, they have started making wood. They then make more wood than fruit, growing thicker all the time. They can still be singing out their songs, and Richard figures a Westwind will keep singing out its songs. But theirs become songs about other seasons, other apple blossom times, other years when the young girls danced inside their shady arms. So it is when Westwind plays in here, how he makes you feel as if you have entered into another once-upon-a-time. Maybe it is why some of Tara’s customers don’t much care for the kind of whiskey bottom blues he comes in here playing for them. After all, Tara’s Place is a rock n roll bar, a place where unwanted reminders of locked out chances are supposed to be left at the door. Or maybe the piano man’s music has nothing to do with any of this. Maybe it is Richard suddenly grown thicker, having gone to wood, tired of all the once-upon-a-times.

Westwind has been playing his songs for awhile. Funny how he doesn’t seem to mind whether or not anyone in the room follows his tunes. He has played his piano through a couple of sets. But who is counting anymore or keeping score? Richard can’t tell if there is any pleasure for the music man in what he does up on the stage. He knows there is not much pleasure coming out of his own whiskey bottom blues tonight. All the could-have-beens, might-have-beens, if-only-we-had-down-it-differently-thens as boring as cold and damp ashes of midnight fires. If Richard is feeling sorry for himself, which is certainly the stupid case, he isn’t meaning to. He is just sitting at the bottom of a love-time well whose springs act as if they want to flow away in another direction. He didn’t mean to be here. He didn’t mean to let himself get taken down here. He hadn’t looked to find in the face of a brown eyed girl his own twin sister showing her face in the middle of an afternoon’s walk through the middle of town, and from out of the middle of nowhere. It is pretty much where it all began, turned serious and deadly, or where a previous night’s chance encounter between two rock n roll familiars turned him down a more serious path than he could have figured possible; knowing, as he does, only what he has known before.


Last edited by Terreson, Mar/14/2011, 12:08 am
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Re: Open Faces Six



Richard first saw the face of Melissa’s twin sister, the oval face of his own inside sister, some months ago, on a day following a night when he and Ian stopped in at Tara’s for last call. The two friends feeling pretty good with the world that night, which can be attributed to Ian’s genius for keeping to the surface of things. Richard not looking for anything beyond the continuous spaces of a seaside town he and his friend occupied. With a little reefer settling in his lungs, with a first drink in his hand, with enough money in his pocket to exchange a couple of rounds with Ian, and with Sag Boody’s evergreen music playing through the room, he was perfectly satisfied to lean against one of Tara’s walls. Many of the songs Sag Boody played were the younger songs of rock n roll’s early side. Richard cannot be certain it wasn’t something of those new green leaf songs, easy-as-one-two-three songs, under-the-boardwalk-with-my-baby-on-a-blanket songs that left him open to a younger girl’s appearance. The songs Sag Boody played were songs having come before rock n roll turned down a twisting, turning road; before the rebellion of its musical forms became a self-conscious thing, and before rock n roll love became a fiery bird that wouldn’t always rise out of its own ashes. Maybe Richard got caught out in a moment when he forgot his own twisting, turning, dead end roads. And when he saw the girl whose name he would learn later is Melissa, it was already too late. It was just one of those moments when a dreamer has to do nothing to have already gone too far, to ever turn back unchanged, to remain the loose and unmoved same.

She was kneeling by a table, talking with friends, and Richard cannot honestly say he noticed any of what he clearly remembers now. Such as that her hair is a warm brown and long. That her eyes are of a similar warmth and shaded with a mystery intent, maybe, on things without a name. That, even kneeling she easily came across as a tall woman. But how else is there to say it except that she looked like an earth turned beauty. She still can. Her hips are not small; they do not reach for a center of gravity having anything to do with a man’s. Her shoulders as perfectly rounded as a first sweet kiss would become. Richard lost all sense of anything else in Tara’s room, including Sag Boody’s upbeat, downtown music. He felt himself backed into a kind of quiet valley that night. And he doesn’t know how long he was inside that space-place before he realized the earth turned girl, whose name he later learned is Melissa, was looking at him too. Nor was she trying to move out from under the ridiculous way he must have been staring at her. Just a first, passing moment taking hold of them; not much more than a chance encounter. But it also took Richard too far outside a simple sense of things, too discontinuous, for him to approach this girl with anything like a good line of words. Which is one way of saying he got the devil scared out of him. He stayed where he was standing with Ian, while leaning against a wall suddenly become an indispensable prop for him. He let it all pass over, already starting to wonder if the body of that moment could mean anything to her.

She then went to sit at another table, sitting with other friends. It seemed to Richard he had never seen a woman move as smoothly, as step-sure, through a room. Then he tried going back to what he felt before seeing her, which was not much more than a comfortable square root of nothing in particular. He downed the greater portion of his drink and asked a server for another. He tried to join in with Ian whose mercurial spirit still gamboled before Sag Boody’s lightly touched tunes. But already something confusedly taking shape inside a bar room Richard would eventually call Tara’s Place. Just as he was already starting to take interest in what the man up on the stage can do with the canon of rock n roll lyrics. Richard can’t actually say he knows even now what was happening. But he is familiar enough with the signs to know that another blessed story started up that night, the whole mighty album from beginning to end to replay again. Without understanding why he started up the mechanism that could clear him of the kind of roller coaster life that gets lived inside rock n roll time. Like some gawky, long necked bird, he suddenly, unexpectedly, wanted to rise out of his own nest of ashes.

It isn’t what he wanted to mix for himself, which never does matter. Just as he hadn’t meant to be leaning in the direction of a young woman’s springtime elections; which, also, never matters. So he stayed where he stood with a friend, already and automatically starting to take it all in, the contents of a rock n roll bar room, until Ian said it was time to be going home. That Melissa still sat with her friends was sufficient reason, Richard calculated, not to be leaving. But one, he shrewdly got, Ian might not be able to comprehend. So he let Ian lead the way through Tara’s door, while Sag Boody wrapped up the last of his young love stories. He somehow found the courage to look at her one more time, a brown eyed girl quietly sitting in a rock n roll hive. It seemed to Richard again she was seeing him too. And by the time Ian drove Richard home, he was prepared to admit to himself some of what had happened. There was no way around it, really. He was not as stoned as he should be, nor as drunk as he would have liked to be. The nightsky’s ocean seemed to be opening up, the warming blankets of nightshade rolling back and away. Richard was falling in love: the damnable, damning, god damn physical thing of a fall. He saw it all from his balcony. He knew it was so because of the alternating sensations of wideness and constriction, like alternating currents, suddenly taking hold of him. Currents materializing, going fleshy, skipping over rooftops. Had it not been for the next day, for finding Melissa’s twin, his own inside sister just in front of him, things could have been different. At least not standing as close to him.



Last edited by Terreson, Mar/14/2011, 12:09 am
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Re: Open Faces Six





So how could Richard know what was in store for him then? How can any man guess, even a dreamer used to such things, that he might be crossing a busy boulevard one yellow-sun day, not concerned with anything other than his own small patch of stranger-cast shadow keeping pace with him on the ground, and be brought face to close face with the clearest, loveliest, brown woman’s face he has ever seen? It’s what happened on the first day after the night when he first saw Melissa. And it was a middle-of-the-street meeting that damn near killed the man, what with the oncoming cars barely swerving in time to avoid hitting him where he stopped in his steps; in blind surprise. All he saw was Melissa’s face, not seeing the pavement, the traffic, the river wall, or the river. It the kind of meeting he could never have guessed he has missed before, only knowing what he can say he has known before. The kind of meeting all the wisdom of rock n roll failed to prepare him for, or is it that he has not listened to the musical incantations with the right ear for sound and sense? It was that real, seeing her there in front of him, standing closer than any woman has ever, while crossing out of the city’s old slave market. He doesn’t understand why he hadn’t been ready for her, for Melissa’s twin, for the floating face of the girl Richard at least knows enough to recognize as his own inside sister. That is the heart of it Richard also, almost too sharply, understood that day. She is the girl born with him, who wandered away from home with him, who suffers too every time he has taken a wrong turn or been busted against another dead end, who has led him into some pretty outrageous places and back out again; who can dance her way across the floor, a page of white paper, a shimmering ridgeline, a city night’s skyline, or a beach side’s morning side. And who here, for the first time, shows herself in such a manner it can never matter how he might theorize her away. She was as lovely on that yellow-sun day, as proudly borne and honest in the eyes, as he could hope she might be. All the more reason for the uncertainty shaking him down around his knees, and that had him spinning in vertigo as he reached the other side of the boulevard. Melissa’s face.

Richard figures he was okay with falling in love again, getting plowed back under, even playing whatever part he might end up playing in a young woman’s forever-now play. But not with this. He wasn’t prepared for this. For seeing in the face of an earth turned girl a closer face that has never actually left him, that always leads him on, and that can walk away as easily as if he is just another broken down lover for her. Who, on occasion, has done just that, even in the middle of a street, a song, a story, a city, and on the road. He wasn’t ready to see in the face of a modern woman a soul-light sister whose hand is always in the pot of a dreamer’s dreams about unborn things. And if he wants her, if he wants the brown haired Melissa, he’ll have to cross over to a place where there are no rules setting them apart, where all notions of self-possession must go by the way, and where they will both fall down the well of their own free future doubly made between two lovers. Maybe this is not so terrifying a prospect, Richard realized that day with something resembling a smile, except that he has never known any girl as fickle, as true to the genius of her inclinations, as the inside sister whose face he saw. Is he still brave enough to keep on following after her, to ask an earth turned beauty to fall through a first night together? Especially when he has seen her in such close quarters in the sun-faced light of day? Of all the questions he has ever asked, Richard figures this is the dumbest. Of course he isn’t brave enough. Of course he will keep on chasing after her just as fools remain at the vanguard while the whole angelic order hangs back. This a paradox in keeping with the same line of reasoning that prompts a rock n roll dreamer to believe in such notions as friends being lovers, century long passions, and of steel and concrete cities built on the more natural rhythms of rock n roll timbres. It is also about the best Richard could do, by way of shoring up his unbraced knees, when he walked away from a city’s intersection on that yellow-sun day. On into succeeding days and nights that kept on coming after, with Melissa sometimes closer and sometimes farther away; that kept on coming up on him like so many changing gears shifting to rock n roll’s more manic sides; that kept on coming back, falling down behind, without Melissa, until Richard finally got the idea that for the first time in his life he was afraid of being wrong.

Richard started coming into Tara’s more regularly, sometimes sitting at the bar, or leaning against a wall, while listening to the musically threaded stories coming down from the stage. Like almost everyone else coming in here to catch hold of some segment of a musical lifeline, he was soon keeping a carefully casual eye on Tara’s swinging doorway. Maybe it really has been that doorway, the repetition of an opening and closing doorway, or maybe the tension in waiting to see her again, and in the only place he knew to find her, that snapped something inside Richard; that started opening up doors behind doors, until he found himself at home again in the light-in-shadow content of a rock n roll bar room. From leaning against a wall just inside the door, to sitting between the full moon ladies, to bringing in a theme book, one night, and finding a table. Before the next time he saw the brown eyed Melissa, Richard started taking notes, and for no reason he can see except it is what goes all around him. The excitable strains coming down from the stage; the faces of so many music lovers that don’t much change, except for getting older; tidal energies ebbing and flowing; sweet water desires mutely, sometimes not so quietly, calling out for something to carry so many music lovers a little further upstream and then back down to the sea. And who would think some love stuck fool would be sitting in a place like Tara’s, waiting for a door to open, and that he would almost swear he sees something he is foolish enough to guess is a metaphysisical sort of thing? It is what Richard thinks he has found in here, time and time again. Especially on a Saturday night when all the seats are taken, when the spaces between seem livid, when the walls are lined with all the artful followers internalizing the rhythm and blues kind of tunes getting played in here; and when the girls pair off and dancing in front of the stage, dancing in such a way so that they know there can never be no tomorrow, no Sunday blues, no Monday morning work week. Or maybe it isn’t so much a metaphysisical sort of longing for belonging, or the essence of someone’s seated thought-about-being, that can move through the room, as it is when so many out of work, in life dreamers stay in here long enough to get caught up in the emotive currents of another musical stream. Like salmon momentarily resting in a sidepool on their bruising way upstream. So what is the difference, anyway, in some sort of metaphysisical longing for belonging and the kind of great and heroic salmon leap Richard sees performed in here when nobody thinks anyone is watching? It is what Richard has been seeing, while coming around for another turn in the long playing wheel, and while waiting for a door to open that, when it did, did a double duty on him. He should have guessed that when she finally came through the doorway, her body steps so sure, she would step in with a man who, Richard figured, had to be her lover.
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Re: Open Faces Six




That night was much like tonight, quiet and easy, and he heard the ring of panic ringing in his head. Especially, since, her friend trailed so close behind her. He kept close enough to her that, it seemed to Richard, there had to be a bond of sympathy running between them. Richard didn’t know at first what he would find out later that night. That the man is her younger brother, that he is an out of work bass player, that his name is Domino. All he knew was what he saw. It was enough to scare the angst out of him, only to bring it crashing back down on him in a way he thought he had outgrown. And the door’s double duty was in the way it opened and closed on him, opened and closed, like a pair of banging window shutters. Richard then closed his theme book, quickly deciding it time to be going, and he started to get up from his table. Only, every time he tried to stand up from that table he discovered how his legs would not listen to him. They were not listening. She was just that lovely, sitting over there, sitting across the room suddenly become much smaller, talking with a man to whom Richard would have given a thousand dollars if only he would stop sitting right next to her. But his legs still refused to move out from under him, propel him forward. He wondered at the kind of strength it would take for him to do a salmon leap, a mighty hero’s once-in-a-lifetime, head-over-hands leap, to get him out of a puny chair. Especially when said hero could feel how the bog mud was rising up over his knees. Which surely had nothing to do with Richard’s decision to stay the course, to order another whiskey, and to remain where he sat until such a time he might decide to walk on home. And while it happened he was sitting in Tara’s Place, he could look over at her, look over at the girl whose name he still didn’t know is Melissa. He could block out the face of the man sitting close to her, like a photograph you cut in two, and he could keep it all studied. He could look at her without seeming to see her. Casual, smooth, and easy. Only, there it was again. The way, he could swear, she looked at him. The way it had been when he came in with Ian and saw her for the first time. And there it was again, that opening feeling, that sense of something calling him down. And there went all of Richard’s studies falling to the floor around the table. Maybe it was when he started to admit to himself something it would need the rest of the night to see. Namely, that he never did want to feel too little at any one time.

Ian told Richard, after Richard went to him for advice on what to do about Melissa, that Richard shouldn’t let a girl get to him. Ian also suggested that the nicety of Richard’s predicament was kind of ridiculous, and that he should simply wait until he saw her again, ask her out for dinner, take her home for the night, treat her as if he means it, and wake up the next morning ready to move on. Ian also said he had decided that the key to successfully living through something as close as a woman’s company, is not to let himself feel too much for her at any one time. He even found that the women he knows almost thank him for the easy indifference with which he treats them. And it seemed to him he really is doing them a favor by not letting them stay too long, or stand too near to him. This being something he wished he had known with the famous Lisa. If it works for him, Ian concluded, there is no reason it couldn’t work for Richard.

Richard had thanked Ian for the advice. He admitted to Ian that he, too, found his own behavior ridiculous. Especially, since, he couldn’t see why it necessary to be falling in love again. He even thought maybe it high time not to be letting himself in for something as chancy, uncontrollable, as what comes when a woman starts stirring up a man’s life in spite of him. At the very least, there is the disadvantage, in feeling one’s way through this sort of thing, of not being able to speak a smooth line, of sometimes not being able to speak at all, and of not being able to approach a girl like Melissa with a hand steady, much less easy. Then there are the other feelings that can come in on a man, feelings that Ian’s simple wisdom could maybe save him from too. Such as the leaden feelings of watching further friends and relations, sliding down, getting beaten down, a rough, ready road that, sometimes, looks as if it is speeding into a head on collision with a big brick wall called nowhere. Or the inward, turning sorrows that come from seeing how little children learn to prefer sameness to difference, cruelty to kindness. Richard still can’t say about a body of science that extends a person’s lifespan beyond all bounds of physical endurance to pain, loneliness, and sorrow. Or about stringing soup lines behind the tail of another warhorse. But if he takes Ian’s advice, Richard began to think and Melissa no further away than the other side of a bar room, then he might be cutting himself out of the picture-possibility of ever seeing a dream step into reality. Maybe it is a nonsense way of trying to say what he isn’t even sure he thinks, and, possibly, Ian is right. Richard could, at least, envy Ian for his sense of protective colorations, even if Richard has not become an adept at mowing through the whole grassy order of feeling attachments. At a time in his life when he doesn’t know if he can do much more changing, he still doesn’t think he wants to give up on the possibility of seeing a dream step into reality. This what it seemed to him he saw when she finally came in again, when the brown eyed Melissa came stepping into the room.

It is a dream place having about it something of a rainbow garden spreading out from behind her like a Chinese fan. How much of what he saw was figurative, and how much was real, doesn’t matter. Maybe it was just a feeling. But it was a field of all the colors reaching out from the likes of her, going through from the edge of primary red to midnight’s violet, and that gave the slip to any conceit of black and white clarity. Still, probably, a nonsense way of saying it. Richard found himself wanting to lie in that rainbow field of light. Then he started to wonder, even leaping across the space separating them, at what might possess any woman to take the chance of inviting some swaggering, cock-sure itinerant into so lovely a garden as hers. Especially as she might stand to lose every hue and shade of her own small Eden, to even wind up dispossessed, and turned out, by some paradise robber of rainbow gardens. Richard doesn’t know how it might be for other men, but seeing her again that night, seeing how she set the shadow light of a dark and dingy room into rainbow relief, he was suddenly hard pressed to see where he could have as much to lose. At the most, there is maybe a nighthawk’s kind of twilight freedom, a shifting sense of flight that can weave its way through nights and days. But he can also admit there have been times when his nighthawk sense of dusk and dawn haven’t been of much use to him. Particularly when there is no one to go wheeling over the treetops with him, or when a nighthawk sense can easily be shot down by any of the many standing armies, the nightmare armies, of a world given over to its faceless regiments of archers hiding in the dark. Still probably a nonsense way of putting it. But, maybe, a woman like Melissa can get lonely too inside the enclosure of her rainbow, lonely enough for her to take a chance and ask a stranger in. Maybe, also, the fruit of her can start to over-ripen, hang heavy, and be bursting on the breezes all around her. It is hard to say. Just as Richard can’t say, for sure, where Melissa was walking to when she passed by his table that night, or where he found the voice to say hello to her, and how she stopped and sat with him when he asked her to, or how it was they spent the rest of that night talking, just talking. It is especially hard to remember it now, to remember how easy it was, with Westwind hammering away at the whiskey bottom blues on his piano.
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Re: Open Faces Six


Maybe it was when they started to become friends, the rare thing between rock n roll lovers, the night when the movement in Tara’s Place was as slow and easy as a backwater creek. It was when they had one of those first conversations between first-friends about as casually spoken as a flower’s first fumbling when its petals start to jump open. As with all first flowering moments, nobody looked to notice how awkward, and heavy with hidden question, those sweet and silly topics of conversation can be. This being how Richard remembers that meeting Melissa was a cakewalk. How he can forget that, even though their excitable talk may have run along in front of them, each and every notion was probably examined, and cross-examined, for some tell tale sign pointing to the lie. It is a hard game to play, and one best played naively, almost with a certain amount of natural facility. Which is why Richard has never played it very well. Why he has had to be satisfied, sometimes, with the silent gaps that can stick out between the topics of talk like missing teeth. It is a wonder how Melissa, whose name was finally something he knew about her, didn’t seem to mind the changing, stuttering moments that could stop the flow of them. Or that she hadn’t interpreted a quiet space as a token of indifference, some kind of token of indifference, and maybe towards her. What a thing to be thinking, what a joke, but she just might think so, so he better start talking, again, or she just might think so. When it happened that something genuine got laid open on the table, and it wouldn’t have mattered if the two new friends were talking about cats, cars, or carnivals, then it was as if they unearthed a pirate’s treasure chest of Caribbean gold and Indian jewelry. The rusty mechanism of its earth fused lock sprung open for them, popping back before them, opening up between them, until the dragon guarded riches of shiny sympathies spilled out over the table. It is just what it was like sitting with Melissa, while almost watching the stones of peridot, topaz, and lapis lazuli toppling out of the table’s lamp light. It is some small measure of how wealthy she made him feel that night.

He asked if the friend of hers who came in with her would like to join them too. Which question, he knew, was a large measure of how deadpan he could be. When she said she didn’t think so, that the friend who is her brother was on his way to look in on a band playing in another bar, Richard couldn’t be certain if they were talking about the same man. When he realized they were, he still couldn’t believe how naturally she was saying the man is her brother. He thought of sending a drink over to Domino to thank him for being Melissa’s brother. But he decided, instead, to order a drink for Melissa, and to congratulate himself on his own good fortune. Nor was it long before Domino came over to tell Melissa goodnight, with then Melissa introducing the two of them. And with it soon understood Domino had come over to gauge the man sitting with his sister. It was the man-thing in the handshake held out, and held down, a little longer than was needed. It was also in the man’s dark eyes, in the way they went from one table’s side to the other, from sister soft to stranger man sheathed. Then the same sense, for Richard, of knowing this man he had first felt towards Melissa. Except it wasn’t really the same, just familiar. An underground, covered up familiarity sneaking through the field of Tara’s room. Then gone as quickly as it had come, as easily as a handshake’s measurement got settled and done.

After the tall and black haired Domino left Tara’s Place to see about a new job with a new band playing elsewhere, if felt as if the night spaces opened up a little more around the table of Melissa’s company. Richard found himself listening as much to how the brown eyed Melissa talked as to what she said. She mostly talked about her two part time jobs keeping her busy enough running between the jewelry shop of one and the child’s nursery of the other, about her Siamese cat forever talking to her, and about her textbooks of Yuk teaching her an indifferent kind of patience she isn’t certain she wanted to learn. It wasn’t just the night spaces opening up between them, or even the slow night moves they started making that would, eventually, bring them to a sunset party on Hugh’s sailing vessel, the Lord Jim. Nor did it take long for Richard to get to where that calling down look in her eyes is less a moment of panic for him. He couldn’t remember when it was, or what she said however she said it, but there came a moment when he understood he had never been this close to the living likes of her, to the lifetime love of a brown eyed girl who looked as if she could run circles around him even while resting in the circle of his arms. It was when he began to note how quickly the quietness in her could turn to unquiet, or how it could become a nest of sadness; how the steadiness of her hands on the table could become an unsteady thing; and how the sureness of her sitting across from him could become a red flame keeping to whatever she might want to show him. But, most of all, Richard noticed how easily her sliding emotions could bring her back to herself, and in such a way he couldn’t be certain if he had just seen an unsteady, unquiet girl walking through the hills of her imaginings. He got as drunk on the loveliness of Melissa as he is still willing to bet every dream has a meaning. And here became a dream he would like to keep from ever becoming an unwanted child-thing, even if it meant his brown eyed girl might never find a day when she wanted to step out with him.

The two of them slipped through the rest of that night, not yet lovers and not quite friends, until Melissa said it was time for her to be going home. She needed, she said, to bend back the covers of her books and manuals. She didn’t know if she would return to her school in the fall, but she thought she might as well see her way through the year she had begun. When Richard said he would walk her to her car, she put her hand over his, and she paused before saying maybe he shouldn’t. After a second pause, she said she didn’t think she was ready yet, and then she abruptly left him sitting there. No sooner had she gone back out Tara’s swinging doorway when the place suddenly became an unreasonably close space for him. So he left Tara’s Place too on his own way home, walking under the marshy night sky whose upending field of indigo and violet Melissa just opened even more. And as abruptly.

They then started seeing each other in the time that came before they would find each other on Hugh’s sailing vessel, the Lord Jim. It was mostly in the way two new friends can have for meeting each other unexpectedly and by accident. Sometimes it was at Tara’s Place when Richard would stop in for last call and he would see Melissa sitting with her friends on the porch. She might be sitting with her friends, it seemed to him, but there was something about her not really there. Or was he already starting to do the love blind thing, he would think then, by casting for signs to persuade him she was coming closer? At other times, he might meet her on the street in the afternoon, when they were each following separate lines connecting them between places. He noticed, then, how easily the arc of a smile could arc over them. It seemed to him it really was a rainbow smile touching the lips of a brown eyed Melissa. He was struck, again, by how easily her night eyes could give way to a golden light of something else in her. Something also all her own.

Then there came the times when he was sitting in on a night of Tara’s music, and usually getting folded back inside some portion of his rock n roll theme book. Maybe he was thinking it wasn’t meant to go anywhere, that this dream-thing of what Melissa started up for him wasn’t meant to be stepping out into a reality that could describe the two of them; that all she meant to do, if without meaning it, was to get him to where he could be sitting where he could describe some small portion of what it is like to keep inside a house of rock n roll emotions. That was when Richard thought maybe a rock n roll dream-girl is never meant to be anywhere except in front of him, just in front of him, and keeping to a loveliness that can never be touched by the likes of him. He would almost feel relieved, if not actually exempt, from having to make the same gaming stakes over again, the same gaming stakes that are differently the same and over again, when two new friends look for love, or are running against the wind, or trying to live a song as it silently rounds a gypsy river’s course of events. But no sooner could Richard feel it a safe and middling place she was leaving him to, and from where he could dabble in some of what goes on around him, when she would come walking in again. He would clearly see how, like another rock n roll ditty, he was simply working his way back to where he could be with the likes of her. She would come in, warm on the eyes, and still a surprise to him, what with the way she has for going to the heart of a summerland dream, and it would all be there in front again. All the bigger than life imaging of everything a man might work his life away to have by his side for a day, a week, even a month. And it was on the last of such between-time days, or on a late day’s night, when she came into Tara’s Place in Hugh’s company. Which company keeping seemed as natural to Richard, that she should know Hugh too, as if she had said the older sailor man, with his perpetual Errol Flynn grin, was her family’s untalked about uncle.
Apr/2/2011, 5:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Six




They were making their last call rounds, that late night, looking for all of Hugh’s bartime friends. Hugh’s intention being to announce, and legitimately proclaim, that an open boat festivity was scheduled, for the following Sunday afternoon, to be held on the two masted schooner, the lord Jim; and in rightful honor of the same, showing her respect on the day she was to be let free from the cables and rails of her dry dock; having seen her hull cleaned, re-caulked, plank inspected, and marine painted; and being returned to the watery crib of her proper element. And it was a grave and serious, if not seriously inebriated, older sailor man who stood before Richard’s table, who made it understood that a sea captain’s wish is, in high sea fact, a command. After having disburdened himself of the execution of his order, Hugh sat down. Along with Dudley, Pulitzer, and Melissa. The all drank a toast to the eminent return of the Lord Jim. It was also when Melissa made her own announcement. One that was as seriously taken, if more quietly spoken, by the brown eyed girl who leaned into Richard, who told him she had handed in the last of her semester’s papers, and that she was free of any more exams. She also said she would be on the Lord Jim, and would Richard be coming too? Richard wasn’t certain if he ever heard so few words spoken that could change the likes of him. Or if it really was Melissa sitting next to him. She said what she came in to say so lowly Richard could have missed the trembling in her voice. But hear it he did, as surely as she noticed how he could only nod in reply. It was all they said, all that either of them needed to say. When their company left Tara’s Place, after the lights went up and the last of the drinks were finished off, Richard and Melissa went their separate ways again. Only, it was a different sort of leave taking this time, being not much more than provisional. They both knew it. Just as they were looking for a different sort of love-making, and different from the rock n roll encounters in darksome hours that have come before. Melissa still wouldn’t let him see her to her car. Not yet, she said again – Let me have another last time of opening my own door. –

In every dreamer’s life there will come a day rounding itself is such a manner so that he will forget to notice how it doubles back on itself and swallows its own tail. A day so running with all the pastels of a summer soaked skylight that the slightest hot and cold of changing wind and water on his skin is a tingling sensation and its own end. A day when the whole world becomes an upended bowl pouring out around him and stirring everything up on the inside. A day when he can say without lying, and just because he’s complete, that the prospect of his own death is of no bother. It is just a manner of speaking, a way of saying what he can’t believe he sees, the only means at his disposal for trying to keep a happiness that has come to sit on his finger tips from falling over, flying away, or slipping out of his reach again. If he is a lucky dreamer, he may come to enjoy more than one such perfectly dovetailed day. Even if the odds are against him of ever stepping inside more than a few, or of seeing them strung together successively. Which never can matter when one such perfectly painted day comes his way. It will have come to him as effortlessly as those other moments in a day can come when, conversely, and no matter how gray on the head or how rounded in the middle he has become, a dreamer finds himself pushing against the spatial wall of some temporal limit. To even dare the edge of that limit into, either, opening up or making a little more room for him. Nor will it matter how he pushes against that wall. Just as he will do it for no better reason than to be able to say, when nobody else is listening, that he is still some measure of a man. It is all just another small article in the art of living, these excitable sort of moments that never come to stay, and about which there is little that can be called original; as much a part of a rock n roll faith as are those less noteworthy days spent enduring. Like some whiskey blues piano man still waiting for his whiskey muse tunes to convincingly come back. Or like a dreamer awakening from a summerland day of grace to find it has suddenly become a three week old memory, who is still balancing on the fulcrum point of that memory, not wanting to see it become a weighted down, bundled up, thicket of time. A thicket of time is what the last three weeks have been, Richard involuntarily reckons with. An inside space, like a marsh pond, so carefully guarded behind the cedars and pines of day-faced activities, it is already easy to dim the memory’s light on how two lovers have played, basked, and gone swimming in the pool of each other’s arms.


Richard arrived at the edge of that pond when he walked into the old Greek’s boat yard where Hugh was having the Lord Jim refitted and made ready to sail. He came carrying a case of wine on his shoulder, and he walked to where Hugh’s friends were lined up on either side of the schooner still sitting in her dry dock. Only Melissa saw Richard, walking to meet him as he approached. And there was that same soft, egg shell light that wasn’t so much a shining reflection on her face, as it seemed to come from somewhere inside the girl. Richard had to remind himself, as she smiled and walked towards him, that this was no daylight dream of inside schemes, no imaginary lover of his own devising stepping out of the crowd. Melissa said she had started to think he wouldn’t come, since, he was so late in getting there. She also said everyone else was certain to arrive in plenty of time to see the Lord Jim getting rolled back down into the water. Richard replied that going to the restaurant for the wine is what made him late. But that he also hadn’t been certain if he wanted to see so gracefully trimmed a sailing vessel in the less than graceful position all sailboats are made to suffer when held in dry dock. A nicety, they agreed, pretty well frustrated by the old Greek whose name is Niki, and who looked as if he still wasn’t ready to let the lord Jim go.

Niki has been fussing around the boat for most of the afternoon, Melissa said. He has argued with Hugh in three different languages, and generally trying to make the sailor man understand how he doesn’t deserve her. The old Greek had been a boat builder, once, and one of the first to build shrimp boats in town. He had also been a sponge diver before then. But that was out of a different town and in a different water. Now he only repairs the boats he pulls up into his yard, while telling all of the sailors how little they know about sailing, about the sea, and, most of all, about the boats that no longer take him out. And here this one was, all sixty three feet of her, resting heavily against the hull supports. Only, she didn’t look so heavy, it seemed to Richard. Maybe she could fly away also. Then, again, maybe she wouldn’t be wanting to. It felt strange to be standing so close to the keel of her that was like the flute of a whale’s tail. Even beached and standing as dry as she was, she still cut a fine form. There weren’t many of the tale-tell signs showing where a hull plank had had to be replaced. Only two or three of the more lightly lined shades of marine red telling of the newer strips of wood. Nor were there many of the pinholes that can give away a hull’s wormy wood condition. She was a proud presentation of all the seadreams that can take a sailor man back out again, even stranded in an old Greek’s boat yard that is mostly an ancient sailor’s junkyard of the seadreams having been left him.

When the old Greek finally spoke his last garrulous words, and after he took the blocks out from behind the rail’s wheels, he walked past the bowsprit shaking his head. He crossed over the cables still holding the Lord Jim to him, and he stepped inside the motor house to start up the diesel engine that would give Hugh’s schooner back to the water. Just before letting in on the clutch that held the gears of the cable rail’s engine, he called out for everyone to stand back from the boat. Only, no one moved from out of their close standing line, except Hugh. They all kept standing there; Mickey, Dudley, Pulitzer, Melissa, Richard, and the same Monica who is usually pretty good about giving a man the kind of room he might say he needs, and all the others who came to see the Lord Jim set afloat. They all stared at the man in the boat house who was glaring back at them; the man whose eyes, from out of the motor house darkness, shone like two red coals, or like the embers of a fire never going out. And Hugh was down by the dockside cradle, with a long hook in hand, making ready to catch the boat’s stern line when she would start to float again.

The old Greek pulled back on the clutch at the same time he started easing up on the brake, and the greased wheels on their rails rolling down the landing. The old master was finally willing to let the Lord Jim go. Maybe he was thinking, as she slid away from him, that he had had enough of her. He could even have been singing – Get on down, now, get on down to where you belong; don’t be coming here again, don’t be stringing me along. - Her keel touched the water as the first set of wheels disappeared beneath the surface. Then the water rising around her, with Hugh leaning out, holding onto a piling with one arm, ever-ready to catch the line of her. Still the water rising higher, silently rising higher around her. Then just as she started to lift from out of the hull supports, and the salty water starting to roll across her water line, Hugh caught onto the stern’s rope, pulling her to him. He was soon guiding her, as the old Greek’s two deck hands pulled back on her bowline, to where he tied her to the dock. This when Richard realized his own free hand was holding Melissa’s, that she was leaning into the weight of him, that their fingers were already laced together, and that there was still a case of wine on his shoulder. An early summer’s Sunday afternoon had just been set to a new tidewater melody. Like a soft rock song of slow moves, slow dances, and of sweet and easy wishes.


Apr/10/2011, 4:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Six


Hugh’s party of friends soon boarded a newly re-floated Lord Jim, and the old Greek yard master turned his back on them all. They set themselves to the serious business of celebrating a sea captain’s ship being returned to him. There really was something heady in the day of Hugh’s boat party, even without the wine, the beer, and the liquor. Maybe it came from watching how Hugh newly swaggered over the deck boards of his schooner, even as he checked every familiar foot of her, taking note of what he needed to do before he could take her back out of the town’s tidewater river. Falling under his influence, that day, or giving way to the desire to sail out with him, was about the easiest thing any of them could do. Maybe, also, it was in the bitter-sweet knowledge that one of them would soon be leaving, and that, in much the same fashion as an ancient Greek sailor of the seas, he would be turning his back on them all. There was plenty of cabin work that needed done down below, not to mention the boards of her deck still needing their coats of varnish, or that some of her rigging needed to be replaced. But there was still that high feeling with everyone knowing how Hugh was a step closer to the day when he would round the town and motor through the harbor; then steer through the inlet, out between the jetties, then setting sail on his way to the sweet water islands of the Caribbean. He was as sober as Richard has ever seen him, as proud, straight, and steady as a marble icon of some long standing, sun-stroked demi-god of protean instinct. It’s how Hugh stayed through the rest of the day, even as his more human friends drank themselves to the point where crossing back across a plank to dry land would require what remained of their attention. It didn’t matter how much wine was opened for Hugh, or how many times the rising sea wheel of his fortunes got toasted. The only other party members keeping as sober as him, given over to something as deeply calling as what called to him, were the two first lovers who eventually took themselves to the Lord Jim’s bow as night started to fall down. Even when the rest of Hugh’s friends were down below, following his lead in the sea songs he brought out for them, Melissa and Richard kept up top.

Melissa and Richard quietly sat for awhile, as if they were each fitting themselves inside a Sunday afternoon. It was as if they were leaning into the coral blush of a marsh sky’s late afternoon that, in its turn, leaned into the dusky moment when the flamingo pink wings of twilight would close just as they opened over the marsh. Richard wondered about what he could find inside those wings. He wondered about the Indian night of what could stir behind the gray streaks, painted pastels, and pinks of a marsh sunset. But they were also quietly talking, these first two friends, at the same time as some part of them drifted back through the falling down waves of daylight. It was there for them, waiting to quietly catch them, in the water tones of blue that, every so often, got sliced by the silver filets of fantail mullet creasing out of the water. It was also in the tones of the marsh grass that stretched out along the other side of the river, and that was already swallowed up inside the shadow line of the live oaks, the sycamores, and the bays. It was even in the sun spent shafts of red-gold light that can set into relief how wide a marsh sky can be. And how can there be any wonder about how much of the world is spawned in a tidewater basin such as this? Or that some old woman might want to kick off her shoes, again, to go dancing on a tidewater breeze. Or that a blue heron might stand so still through the tree lined night, while waiting for dawn’s first break, just so she can circle back over her own tidewater reflections.

All the while they sat through the late day’s back light, Richard saw how Melissa watched the warm water fishing of the ospreys, kingfishers, and the smaller terns who hovered, dove, and fed. She also followed the flight of white ibises passing over, keeping to their own trail that will take them further down the river. She was noticing it all in a quiet way of noting, in that quiet place of knowing, that seems to be her prerogative. Just as she almost seemed to be skimming along with the orange billed skimmer that skimmed in front of them as if scooping up the last of a sun bowl’s spilled out light. When she saw the ground doves crossing the river, with their rufous red wings tips like baked red pottery shards, she smiled and said how she knew summer has finally come. It is what she looked for, she said, to let he know she is free again. And just as Richard was about to ask her what it might be like, to be newly sitting inside this moment of freedom of hers, she startled him with a question of her own. She leaned her head on his shoulder, and she wanted to know what it was like then, how it had been, then, to come of age in a rock n roll day of first emotions. She asked her question in a way a child might ask for a bedtime story. Maybe, also, she asked it for the same reason, which would be to keep a child day’s going. What startled Richard at least as much as that she asked him to step back out of their first day together, was that she was willing to take a lover’s chance of uneven knowing. Even so early on.


So here she was, an earth turned lovely sitting sure in her sense of herself, and asking Richard for a set of memories that can have nothing to do with her. Maybe it is just another new turn in a musical story with pages still uncut. Maybe, also, there is something else she meant when she said she envied him and his age mates for having come of age then. Something even closer to the heart of her when she allowed that all she has ever wanted is to know she is alive without having to be reminded, or without having to remind herself. To know it, she said in a whisper, in that quiet place of hers where all of her senses, where everything about her, leads and bounces back to the surface skin of her. Like sonar you mean, Richard offered? Like sonar, Melissa agreed. Funny how quickly, imperceptibly, they brought each other a little closer in the question and the answer.

But how could he satisfy an inquiry about a long ago day that, no matter how it gets answered, can only be partially filled? Which answer, like trying to fill out a questionnaire or a resume involving day-before-yesterday’s whereabouts, still leaves spaces connecting times, even in triplicate form, subsisting in memory’s fault lines. Bringing up the past, Richard figures, must always be the especial property of imaginary time. He didn’t know how else to tell Melissa what coming of age had been like some twenty years ago, except that is some measureless way, it was like their own twilight meeting right now, on the Lord Jim. It was when everything simultaneously opened and closed around them, and when nothing happening seemed disconnected. When the whole spectrum of emotions was a sought after virtue of participations, and when it seemed as if everyone came out of their fields, factories, and forums to dance inside a cauldron, to sometimes perch themselves on its rim. Best of all, Richard said, there were the surprising chances of many new songs, all those musical discoveries, that seemed to come out on the a.m/f.m. radio waves just in time to open out on a teenager’s first emotions. It didn’t seem to matter if a discovery was a day of lost love, or if a journeyman was getting roasted in the streets, or when it seemed to some a generation was well on the road to perdition. Nothing could have mattered so long as they kept time to a rock n roll rhythm. Besides, perdition seemed preferable to safer, more regulated hours of salvation, if it still meant you could keep with the company of friends, lovers, and rhythm drunk musicians. Maybe he is wrong, Richard said. Maybe that guru of a merry prankster had been wrong too. That there is such a thing as a synchronicity of events when everything, like a field of buttercups, opens up on the same spring day. And maybe his memory of these things has become a bundle of foreshortened perceptions. It still seems to him the queen of hearts was a little less miserly, then, a little less nervous, a little less concerned, a little less anorexic, and that the whole pack of cards wasn’t so stacked in favor of one dealer or another. But of one thing he is sure about. There had been the music. The likes of which simple enough, and cellularly lyrical, they all took it for granted. But here Richard got more tongue tied than is usually the case for him. How could he tell Melissa what it was like coming of age in a greening of musical romance that defied science, philosophy, even God Himself?

By then Richard was floating back and forth between the nows and the thens, not knowing how else to say what it had been like, having become unstuck, when Melissa upturned her face, ready to chance a kiss. Such a twilight kiss she offered Richard, a spilling over once-in-a-lifetime kiss that can turn two first lovers back under, that can bring them both down the stairs of intimate keeps, and that can start the whole blessed story back up again, if maybe at a deeper place of story telling. It was like a promise, that kiss, a sealed present between them as breathless as the first star of night whose appearance in a lilac sea always has been a kiss of conception. Richard can honestly say he has never been offered a sweeter, more honest kiss, or that his hands have ever held two shoulders as rounded and giving as Melissa’s. There was that feeling spreading out between them, where their lips touched, asked, gave, agreed, of peeling back hardened days grown steely and thin. They would have left Hugh’s boat party then, on their way to find a secret place, except for the commotion, and that came from the hatchway where Dudley and Pulitzer were trying to keep a thoroughly trashed Mickey Man from climbing up the ladder. His blurred intention being to climb on his motorcycle and drive back to his beachside home and studio. The two friends weren’t able to keep Mickey from gaining the deck. That he fell back on them twice, rolling back down with them, was probably what defeated them. Especially, since, they were no more sober than he. But the gangplank would succeed where they failed. Mickey would swear it jumped out from under him just as he took his first step off the boat. This being how he ended up in the water, and where he decided that coordinating the operation of six gears, two brakes, a clutch, and a throttle, while straddling a twice cycling engine, might be a technical maneuver somewhere outside the ken of his condition. So after Hugh, Monica, Melissa, and Richard went to his watery rescue, after they pulled him back up onto the dock, Hugh strongly suggested to Mickey that Melissa could drive him home. Which course Mickey agreed to, providing, he said, Richard would follow them on his bike. So they would have a detour, these first two lovers on their way into a first night together. It was something they laughed about later, which is what they would do while also trying to piece together a puzzle they would encounter enroute, a puzzle they called the Jackman Jigsaw puzzle. As they shoulder-walked Mickey along the dock, and weaving with him along the boards towards Melissa’s car, he whispered to Richard, as only a drunk can whisper to all the world while thinking only the next closest inhabitant can hear – She’js back. –

It must be a kind of distance Mickey wanted to put between himself and a postcard party girl back in town. A different sort of distance from what he tried to clear for himself the night he stopped in at the Jacaranda’s, and left to go riding, riding, riding past so many closed inn doors, but a species of quantum leaping space changes all the same. After they folded him into the backseat of Melissa’s car, after they took the key to his bike and while getting directions from Hugh to where the mighty Mickey Man lives, Richard looked in on his friend to see the Highwayman had gone about as far as he could in the direction he had taken. This meaning Mickey had passed out, that he had succeeded in clearing the spaces coming in on him, and that he could temporarily forget about the party girl come back. But there were other things for Richard to think about while Melissa got into her car, and he pulling on a helmet and strapping it beneath his chin. Such as getting on a motorcycle and doing a thing he hadn’t done in years, or of where Mickey’s bike would take him that night. Or if this earth turned girl would be of the same desire when he met up with her again.


Apr/17/2011, 11:50 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Six




Maybe it was in the low throated way the bike’s 500 c.c.’s could idle, like a panther purring from deep inside a hammock when she thinks no one watches her, or maybe it was seeing how Melissa waited for him before she turned out of the boat yard, that gave to Richard an inkling of how their summertime space was closing in on them too; even speeding up all around them and pulling them further down together to where they will come up not quite the same. Richard thought, then, she would be waiting for him, still ready to meet with him, looking to see if he will want her again. All he had to do, he understood while cinching through the gears, was to get there. Getting there is mostly what was on his mind as he followed her through the town, stopping at the stop signs, driving between the little houses and between the trees, coming out onto the bay front boulevard, crossing over the bridge putting them on the barrier island extending down south of town, and heading for beyond the beachside scene of colonials, condos, and oyster bars. It was just to get there. Hugh said Mickey’s studio is about five miles beyond the last of the strip’s neon lit motels, on a still undeveloped stretch of beachhead once reserved for black skinned, second class citizens and tourists. And it makes sense that a man in hiding would hide himself in a place where others had been hidden before him, and where he would be more squarely hidden, since, it is what his heart is wanting.

Richard is hard pressed to remember when the jigsaw game started, or of how it started so easily. It was the puzzle pieces that started up, piecing themselves together to fit a pattern, and coming together to make of him not much more than a driven cycle rider. It seemed to come over him as easily as it was for him to be changing into another gear, or as easily as it was to be feeling, again, how it feels to lean into a bike waiting, just waiting, to be vectored in any direction. Maybe it was in effortlessly climbing the bridge and keeping close behind the girl in front of him. Or it could have been in the motor’s mounting [sign in to see URL].’s reverberating through the bike as they ran through him, and retelling him how to lean into a two-wheeled machine that is always a temptation to be driven hard. But maybe, also, it was in coming down from off the bridge and seeing how the four lanes opened up in front of him. Richard isn’t certain if he could blame it on a voice, since, you can’t hear very much from the seat of a motorcycle. But he still almost swears it was a voice he heard, an anti-self or anti-hero kind of noise and that it said to him – O.K. Jack, it’s time to check in. – This must have been when he eased out from behind Melissa, and when he started running along on the side of her to where he could closely pass with her beneath the mercury street lamps. He could imagine her smiling, even if a smile from her wasn’t what could melt him right then, or not in the way it had in the river’s slower marsh side. This is how they ran for awhile, side by side, for a mile, maybe two. It was almost as if they were racing together, even sliding into a place where they could be back again on an outside rim. Richard understood what she was showing by keeping pace. Just as she seemed to understand what was happening behind his visor, or was he just hoping she could? What was happening is that a frozen featured Jackman moved in on Richard, even moving Richard out from behind the handlebars. Already a Jackman’s face was pasted in place on the inside of a helmet’s visor, and Richard knew he had seen it before, even if he couldn’t remember where or when. But Melissa threw him a kiss through the car’s open window. She waved to him as he facelessly nodded back to her, just before she let her foot’s pressure off her car’s accelerator. As they passed the last of the beachside motels, he pulled out in front of her, clipping past Melissa in sixth gear. It’s how it felt to go peeling past the rainbow, and into a dry ice, black out night, even in the middle of summer spaces.

It was an inverted kind of continuum where the Jackman took Richard, a place where he could go when he wanted to get encapsuled in his own black bubble. Or, maybe, it was a sort of chrysalis state, like a shell enclosed particle getting shot through the pureness and emptiness of space. And he would go there to do exactly what he said he should do. To check in again, and in the only place where a Jackman can satisfy himself he isn’t being taken for another ride leading him into another lie.

Melissa was already two, far away night lamps in the rear view mirror when the Jackman started going outside his own feelings, crouched behind the bike’s fairing, and steadily pulling back on the throttle. The bike belonged to a family of bikes proud to be able to go from zero to nowhere in as few as 3.0 seconds. But it wasn’t nowhere the Jackman thought to go looking for; at least, not if he had been thinking. It was just a place that is a non-place, a space that is a blanked out face. It is where every Jackman knows that every would-be hero must pass through if he wants to step back inside a dream’s sequence. The speedometer passed 90 as he sliced past Mickey’s studio, and still an open measure of throttle spring in the bike’s handle. The pavement ran smoothly beneath him at 100. At 110 the Jackman felt how the blacktop was splitting away from him, narrowing him to a point of vanishing returns, even as the bike’s c.c.’s still smoothly kicked out underneath him. But then it started to look as if, instead of the blacked out space, there was something like a serene face coming up in front of him. That there was still a warming wind wrapping past the biker. This being when the Jackman figured something was gone wrong. He wasn’t reaching to the discontinuous regions where he could feel most confidant of himself, and he was sure he didn’t want his other half to see him in any way less than confidant. The beetle smile on his face started to leave the inside of his shield, and he definitely wanted to pull back when he saw the needle rounding 120. There was a whine of reluctance coming up from inside a revved out twice cycling engine, and the Jackman could see there was not much left of his own cold certainties. He was being beaten at his own game of reckless maneuvers, and it looked as if an anti-hero might start whining too; which would not be good, much less in solitary company. But then it was Richard pressing back on the last of what the throttle had, and there it was for another Jackman to see: the blue light serenity opening up the wall of one man’s letting go. That was when the Jackman jumped off the smooth skimming bike; crying, as he did, that its driver must be crazy.

That night Richard finally recognized a Jackman’s face. He had seen it in the afternoon, glaring out from inside an old Greek’s motor house. But where Richard rode through was having nothing to do with where the other half of him had said he would end up. There was nothing cold, or ungiving, in the wind of his changing; no non-places, no blankness, no dry ice reaches. There were no wormy reminders of black holes and in-gnawing doubt. He doesn’t know how to describe the region through which he rode, except to say it seemed to belong to a woman whose face shines in blue light. And it was so calm in there Richard figures even she can take a Jackman inside the indigo of her own close night, that she can closely hold him inside the cloth of her cloak. This while sadly smiling down on another Jackman breathing easily at last, resting easily against her breasts. So Richard eased back on the throttle of his small insanity. He slowed down to where he could turn and make his way back to Melissa. It was only then he had some sense of the indigo night he was riding through, or of the beachside palm scrub bulging out from either side of the blacktop’s ribbon, or of the damp and salty night air laying down across the strand of peninsular ground borrowed from the sea.

It was only after he turned the bike around, and after he found Melissa out on the studio’s balcony fronting the ocean, that Richard started piecing together some of the jigsaw puzzle that as quickly came together as it fell away. She said she listened to the bike as he drove back up the highway. She made a game, she said, pretending that the bike was coming out of the waves rolling not so loudly against the shore. She asked him how it felt to wind the bike out in the way she figured he must have. He then told her about nonsense things, such as jigsaw puzzles, dry ice changes, and a blue light woman’s face spreading out over a night sky. But Melissa didn’t seem to think he was telling her nonsense. She was particularly curious about the night light woman and what she had looked like. Richard realized he hadn’t actually seen that face, and that he only had a feeling for a face calm and darkly bluing. All Melissa would say is that it reminded her of a dream she sometimes has about a woman who treats her like a daughter, who can breathe over her; and that she thinks of her dream as her Mother Night dream because it comes to her when she is gray, sad, and unsure. Melissa interrupted herself then to ask him to kiss her. She wanted that same feeling to take up with her. Richard can’t say when she interrupted them for another time, almost starting out of her skin, and saying that Mickey was still passed out in her car. But quickly they questioned each other over what they should do with him; as quickly deciding, absolutely, they should persuade him back into his safe house. So they did, in spite of the fact Mickey showed scant appreciation for their efforts to move him inside. Once they got him over the threshold, they abruptly closed the door behind him, bidding him a passing goodnight, and running and laughing back towards the car that could take them back to town. Back to where they spent their first night together, in Richard’s garage apartment back in town.
Apr/23/2011, 6:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Six




And they were running by then, the two of them, running closely together, silently running into an easy night’s bedding between two rock n roll friends still body strangers, running for the close quarters of their one safe house, running back over the bridge spanning another river dream, running inside the indigo hours already gone on their way into the plum colors of the ripe night, running to catch its fruit before it could slip away from them, running because they are free to be loving, freeborn to be running, loving because their night’s running is free, running, even, and not running anymore, like a slow stream, running inside a house to where they catch each other up in the swollen circle of a bursting breeze, running because for another time the arch of her shoulders are rounded beneath the touch of his hands, sloping in and pleading with him to peel them back to where the aching, standing, rounded points of her desire can also be free, can also be pleased in the cup of his hands and set so high, can also be eased of their tingling like the goose bumps running down her sides to where the small of her back is a warming dark spot, to even where the house’s nightshades are sliding back around her sides, back over and around and softly running across a marvelous mound of, slow running, like the way two lovers run between the sheets without running or speeding along the inside curvatures and neaps of where they would swear they have easily met before, so familiarly, just as they are running without running when letting go of the last shrill strangeness arching between them, shuddering down between them, and lifting her up to him, letting herself go running to him some time before the dawn’s light can come sneaking in on them; and they are running, even, to fall asleep against, to find the swollen bends and easy curves of two new friends and to wake up, again, not quite the same strangers, just so they can make love again in the sand colored moment of morning’s half-bent hour when she lifts herself over him, letting herself go running over him, just as the shore’s life must be waking too, must be running on a sea breeze broom, and just to be stirring too as he straightens underneath the earth weight of her when the whole blushing world is something risen and new, something unused like the two twined friends who see each other, again, with the half-light in their eyes, seeing each other for the first time since before they turned their eyes back around inside, and asking with their lips without ever saying what their lips seek in a kiss to tell them what is true or not true for the two of them lying together on the inside petal of their own flowering child-thing, and when they really aren’t wanting to be getting up, then, from the sleepiness coming back over to take them back behind the place-setting of a fallen away night falling back down behind them, and that is irretrievably slipping away, somewhere gone and away, as they reawaken to play the kind of games that can put off the kind of Monday morning coming in on them by pulling each other back and around, back down and falling down around, until they drop inside their own secret place once more, like two river bound friends gone swimming inside an inlet of the sea just before they finally leave the bedding of their own first night together.

Even after they tease each other into standing away from a first morning’s ledge, standing away from a first day’s sigh stealing its way out of them, they are running. Only, they aren’t really running. They aren’t even walking. Unless it is the effortless, breathless, figurative kind of walk-running that pulled them along their conspiratorial dream. A dream scheme such as what it is like to be sitting on the edge of the bed and Richard seeing Melissa in front of him, and who then takes his hands with veins like roadmaps of all the places he has been, and pulling him up to where he is standing too. It is as disbelieving, to Richard, this dream in which she could stand so soft and summer morning sure, when he feels as awkward standing in front of her as a long legged bird, and when his hands moving up the smooth plain of her back, pressing her to him, must have felt like an ivy vine’s ends scraping against her skin, and when the red earth tones in her dark hair splash across her brown shoulders while his hair is so damned wild, wiry, and going to gray. But there it is, again, the way she can put her head on his chest, making him feel as if the untamed strangeness in him can come in to rest. He realized he doesn’t know how to go about this business of the shared daytime’s dream. He doesn’t know how to let it all go to where it might be going. Then she dresses as he makes for them the coffee to get them going, to set them on their way between the name-places, the same day stuff, of their daytime, working nighttime, town-wise duties. Just as he will do on every morning of their three weeks that have already started coming in on them, that have started coming in on them as they sit on the balcony on a green-gold morning near enough they can touch, and still kind of shaking; that have already started coming in on them when he walks with her down to her car and she asks if she can meet him at the Jacaranda when he is ready to come home that night, and that have already started in on them through nights and days taking them up inside a dream reality where nothing whatever can matter to them except for what they feel for each other.


Apr/30/2011, 4:49 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Six





So it was in and out of days and nights, blue light nights and liquid days, where they ran even when there was no place they had to be. Such as on those other days when sitting inside Richard’s apartment trying to put the brake on what was speeding up between them with, maybe, a crossword puzzle, a radio song, dinner preparations, or conversations amounting to each other’s tableau vivant. Or when they spent a portion of the day somewhere along the shoreline’s sandy shelf where they might be walking and feeling as if someone had tipped them over inside a sea dream of fuchsia skies and the blue gray of subtropical clouds. Or on those unquartered days when they let go of everything that could lay a claim on them, ignoring the sundial, and never bothering to rise out of the inside circle of their couch until their growling stomachs forced them to go looking for a restaurant, and still running again on their way back home where they were looking, again, to go riding inside the swells of their one small sensual spell. It didn’t seem to matter where they were; if they were walking, running, or simply holding hands in the late day’s surf, or when they followed along the silver streams of a marsh morning’s excitable light. It was still the same dream reality spreading out over them, widening its way between them, until there was nothing much else around them except for their own open emotions. This was the crucible of the three weeks they spent inside a love time’s grove. It was just their opening emotions spilling out like a gray stray dog having gloriously gone on its way to rainbow, and that they befriended, took in, saving it from that indifferent kind of starvation all lovers have known too well. Richard isn’t certain when it was he realized what was happening. The running, the dreaming, and the opening of them. Maybe it hasn’t been until tonight, sitting back in Tara’s Place, and looking back behind to the places they went before Melissa heard the night heron’s screech and scream that somehow stoppered the flow of them, and that came flying over two nights ago. Richard can’t say for sure, and it probably doesn’t matter. All he knows is that, for three weeks, they kept inside a dream’s scheme of shifting, ebbing, flowing, running, flooding, and opening emotions. And that it was the same dream-reality, the same kind of love-time opening for the both of them, even when they were quietly tracking an evening’s conversation, or a walk through the town, or when they were doing something perfectly normal such as having dinner.

It is a small wonder how they made a kind of widening grotto inside an evergreen grove, or, even, the small ways they found for taking a large delight in each other’s company. Such as on the night when they went to the Jacaranda for the evening, and sitting out on the restaurant’s patio leading into the garden, when Richard had made an arrangement with Ian to bring Melissa a covered dish surprise. What it was were two red-tipped ground doves Richard caught with his bait net earlier in the day down by a stand of cedars on the edge of a small, in-town lake. They were alive, those doves, much alive when Ian came carrying the dish out onto the patio, himself looking properly creased in his kitchen whites. They were just as alive when Ian lifted the dish’s cover, with Richard waiting anxiously to see how Melissa would receive his gift. Then that long tailed moment when, out from beneath the silver cover, two dusky colored birds looked up at Melissa without fluttering to get away, looking at her with a curious kind of side glance; and when Melissa smiled down at them still so sure and summertime soft. It was one of her real-time smiles, quietly contained, that went as quietly to the quiet-heart part of the two men watching her. Just as it was a real-time smile in her eyes that watched two birds lift, fly away, turn out over the garden, hurrying through the last of a long day’s light. Only later did Richard realize what a disaster his little surprise could have been if Melissa had been startled, or if the doves had come out of the cover’s darkness too wild eyed with fear. It could have been a prank to upset the whole evening. Much later would Melissa show to Richard how his little incident had touched her. Only, he doesn’t know how to say what it is like to have been invited inside the rounding pleasure of a freeborn woman’s fulling delight when she guides her lover like a love drunk daughter. He doesn’t know if he can ever be so lucky again. Unless it was on the morning when Melissa was in the shower and he surprised her by waiting for her outside the shower’s curtain, and when she opened the curtain to find him standing there with a towel in hand ready to dry her. What surprised her, what even surprised him, was that he had tied a dish cloth over his eyes. He patted the water from off her shoulders, her arms, her firm and round twin mounds, her secret stomach, and her brown and heavy hips as carefully as any man can who might be working in the dark. The delight had been, delicately came again, when she raised her arms up over him, pressing close into him, and took the cloth from off his eyes. But how can Richard even try to say what it is like to be lifted out of a morning’s night and into the dilating love’s light that shone in her eyes? Just as he doesn’t know how to describe what came over them in the dark a.m. when they waited on the beachside for the sun to come up.

They were waiting in that morning’s moonless night, sitting on the sand where Richard leaned against the heavily sculpted dune, and where Melissa leaned into him. His arms wrapped loosely around her, and she resting against the weight of him, and he thinking she must have fallen asleep. He was content, taking it all in, feeling how they had both slipped down inside the mothering motion of the sea, listening to the breakers rhythmic and drumming in their ears, and almost certain he could feel an earth’s beat pounding through his body, like a red seen steadily thumping through the sand. But then it seemed to him the thumping was his own heart’s beat, that it was pounding against his chest, and that it must be resounding through the girl leaning into him. Then he found Melissa wasn’t asleep when she took his right hand and pressed it against her jersey, and when he felt how her heart was pounding against her chest, beating in rhythm with the sea, thumping between the two of them sitting in the sand. But how can you ever, ever describe a red earth seed’s opening in its emotions when the world’s day is still a dark morning? Richard didn’t think, that night, he would ever be able to hold his brown eyed girl without also opening, without opening with her, without breaking down, bursting back, getting drummed inside the openness of her. It was a morning, like the night of their full moon love, like their other mornings, like the afternoons and the late breaking nights when they carefully came back together, or like any other of the streaming part of the days and nights having already rushed passed them, keeping to an imaginary place without them, that might not ever come and look for them again.

He can’t exactly say what happened two nights ago when they were lying in the indigo of an ink well and resting on the after-side of making love. Maybe there is nothing either of them will ever be able to say happened. Which, Richard has a feeling, can sometimes be the really queasy heart of a woman’s once-in-lifetime surrender. Or, maybe, it was a deeper kind of opening, an untimely sort of widening, in the middle of Melissa that brought her to where she saw herself hang over her own life’s well in her own moment of vertigo. Richard doesn’t know. He doesn’t know. He isn’t even certain he can ever know what shadow’s child came over her and scared her into, maybe, not wanting to keep with him. All he can say is that he heard that scream, a night heron’s screech and scream, running across the night so close to them like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard. And that the girl lying next to him suddenly cried out as pitifully as if her first home had just been taken away from her. Richard has never heard so much fear, and unwanted desire, as when she pleaded with him, tears streaming, or with no one in particular, as when she cried out in so few words and said – Please don’t steal me away! – What could Richard have done, what can journeyman have said or done, except to hold his brown eyed girl, his heart close twin, while patting her damp eyes dry, cradling her, rocking her, quietly, finally saying to her – I’m still not a thief. -

May/8/2011, 5:19 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Six



That was the night heron night of two nights ago. Two emptied out, brain dead days have come undone since Melissa left Richard’s apartment yesterday morning, leaving him with little doubt he wouldn’t see her in the evening, or that she wouldn’t be waiting for him to come home from work; even setting him to wonder if he will ever see her again in the same way, or in any way similar to how they let themselves see each other. She was too deliberate in the way she dressed herself for her jewelry shop job, and too careful in how she said goodbye, for Richard not to see she was pulling back. And that she was pulling back to an inside place somewhere closer to where she is needing to see herself. Somewhere closer, somewhere closer to where she is needing to be, which means, but never mind, since, it is what can put him over the heart’s edge. He might as well be taking himself home, by now, having finished his tale of how it has been to be loved, if only on the run, by such a girl, by an earth turned girl like Melissa. Back home to an emptied out apartment where Westwind’s whiskey bottom blues will maybe not be keeping to him. And it is funny how Richard is still not as drunk as he should be, what with the number of upended whiskey glasses it has taken to get him to another night’s end. As funny as how it is Westwind is coming down from off the stage of his own musical funk, and packing his music away, just as Richard winds down in his own tale telling of how it looked as if a summerland dream-girl had come to stay with him. It is hard to say where the two of them would be going anyway, if she ever comes back to him, even as there is no point in trying to second guess the whereabouts of a love-time woman who is somewhere back inside the slack tide of a high summer’s dream.

So she has slipped away. To keep on running, and to keep on running in a different direction. But running, now, for her own singular reasons, and going into places she has to go it alone. If only she will be careful of herself, going it alone. He can’t follow her. He can’t go with her when it isn’t what she wants, and even if he had thought it just might be what a freeborn girl would be wanting. It all comes down again in an emptied out bar room of rock n roll emotions that is emptied out except for the down under desire whose rim even a Westwind, or a whiskey man, never will get clear of, like a lesson you keep on forgetting to learn. Emptied out, even, as Richard thinks he might as well wait around for that famous last customer who will be coming in wanting another last drink, like any good sailor man; and who may, or may not, be able to stand straight, still the true sailor man. He can put off what he knows he has to do. The emptied out home suddenly emptier than it has ever seemed before, and that he knows he has to go back to, if only to face his own squirrely faced blues. What he knows he has to do as the doorway to Tara’s Place swings open. As the Melissa girl is taking her journeyman back in, again, and for another time surprise, in how she can be walking in from the other side of that doorway, it’s her walking in, walking through Tara’s swinging doorway in all her slow, warm, and familiar loveliness, and looking, to Richard, she’s looking to Richard, she’s looking as if she’s looking for him, looking as if everything will be fine again, looking in the way she’s smiling and walking over. Coming closer.
May/15/2011, 3:49 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 




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