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Open Faces Seven


Saturday Night

There is no music inside Tara’s Place, tonight. No band of any brand of rock n roll, no itinerant performer, to send down a musical scheme of how the heart is a reasoning thing, of how its rules can never be broken without some token being paid for the injury; or of how it is that a rock n roll sailor, even a drunken seafarer, is just another plaything for all of rock n roll’s down under emotions. There are no customers sitting and drinking, or standing and doing the same. There is no one else inside these walls except for a Morning Star who is downstairs by the bar. Who is, maybe, reading, or counting up the figures in Tara’s book; or who is even resting, or, possibly, just piously, still watching over Richard’s stupid-ass account of these proceedings. It’s funny how she seems to understand what he is doing, even without being told all that much of what he is doing. As funny as that Richard has started to think she is doing her best to keep on shining over them all. Which sounds silly, certainly sounds superstitious. But whathehell. Besides, how else can he explain that she let him in as Tara’s door was closing, and after its bright lights were turned on the faces of the last of its customers? Or that she glanced down at the theme book in his hand and suggested, without being asked, that he sit it out upstairs tonight. How else can he explain the certain way she looked at him when she soon followed him up with a bottle and a glass, a look that was as if to say the Morning Star thing no first day’s liquid-light-star ever has to say loudly? Or that, when he tried to thank her by way of offering an explanation, she threw back a quick and certain smile while continuing on down the stairway. It is one of those times when Richard is feeling lucky. A kind of luck that only comes when someone like a Morning Star decides to smile; or when a Melissa girl could do what she did, tonight, when she stopped by the Jacaranda as the restaurant was closing, telling Richard she will be waiting at his apartment, after he told her what he will try to do. And then to lean into him, as he walked her back out to her car, in that way she has for quietly telling him the truth. She also said she thought he could get it out tonight; and she figured too it is time to try. Either way, she said, she will be waiting. Only, he had to promise her he would awaken her when he gets back home. Maybe they will do something silly, she said.

So why the hell is he sitting here, in a closed out bar, an emptied out music room, just another low life tavern whose door has been closed and locked from the inside out? Why has he asked another worker in paradise to stay behind in the after-hours of a rock n roll Eden still too quietly groaning to be ignored, even if she is reading a book or sleeping on the floor? Why are any of them keeping to these rounds after what happened two weeks ago when the crater face of some laughing, leering, life hating thing came up again? Two weeks is how long it has been since Richard was last inside Tara’s Place, roughly the same amount of time since he has had a day off from the Jacaranda; and as long since he last saw Sean who is still closed up inside his own small greenhouse, who is, sometimes, answering the phone, but who is letting no friends come to see him. Richard is wanting to stall about now. He doesn’t want to tell the tale of what happened in the convenience store’s parking lot two weeks ago, of what happened in the forever-wise fashion on another bullshit Saturday night two weeks ago. There is no other way to start back in on that two week old night, except to say another sweet dude was last seen missing in action, another rock n roll soul no longer singing or dancing to a rock n roll tune. It is that another drunken sailor has been lost trying to cross over from the further shore of irreconcilables. If only he had been able to just sing the blues.
So quiet, it is quiet in here tonight. No musical streams to get carried away in, no love-time meetings and friendly faces at any of the tables that are as still-standing as stones. Nothing going on, there is nothing going down in the way things can happen when light-in-shadow dreamers are closely sitting and standing together, and when they are somehow dreaming the same close dream. They have all gone home. There is nothing in here to tell of where they’ve gone to, except for that left over feeling that starts out as an emptiness, the same as what soon settles into a sleepy pose, the same as what will eventually become a sleepy snake curling up into itself until there is nothing left to think about, dream about, or hunger for, not even some idea of home. It is just so quiet in Tara’s Place or in the room upstairs where Richard has never sat before. He has started to feel like some secret agent, some spy stealing his way into a quiet place where he doesn’t think he should be. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea, his sitting in here, even if a Morning Star is downstairs. Maybe he really is over-reaching, tonight, and going down into a kind of rock n roll hell, passing through a kind of rock n roll cavern and around the python, on his way to describe some of what happened two weeks ago; on his way into the lists of, what Sean once called, a category of lost souls. He doesn’t want to be sitting in, Richard is the first, if not the only one, to get. And what a genius Sean has for keeping to the middle of green.
May/22/2011, 4:37 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Seven



They felt pretty good that night, Sean, Dennis, and Richard. The restaurant was busy, which meant they all made good money. It was also an early night, for a Saturday night, and with none of the frequent late night campers. So they went their way to Tara’s Place where Richard would meet Melissa, and where Dennis was to talk to a Morning Star. Sean had gone to see her early in the week, asking if his friend could be let back in. She said of course he could, that enough time had passed, and that he should just come in and talk to her. Just talk to her, she said. All a bullman needed to do was talk to her.

They walked out of the Jacaranda feeling all right with the world, even feeling fine about the kind of sovereign Saturday night still early enough to save some sovereign part of them from another work-a-week that is just another working-place-name for someone else’s notion of the money game, even in paradise. They piled into Sean’s small car parked in the staff’s parking lot, that was parked underneath the great old live oak as large and wide as a three storey building. The same tree that catches Richard’s breath when he is coming out of another night of server type encounters. They then sat for awhile, while Dennis cut open a small, triangular pouch of the snowy white stuff to give the three of them a second night’s start. They each scooped a toot, and then another, and still another. They let that sensation come down over them, or open them up again, of feeling how their body time could catch up with the moment. When the stuff had done what it is supposed to do, when they were shaking off the fatigue that comes from constantly being attentive to diners, they pulled out from beneath that old tree on their way into another Saturday night that might, still just might, set them free. Dennis asked Sean to stop in at a nearby convenience store for a quick beer, and Richard was wanting a pack of cigarettes. Then they would be ready and set to go, ready to peel away through the layers of the city-wise scenes that could take each of them into their own rock n roll notions of a dreamscape. As for himself, Richard wasn’t going very far afield anymore. What a sweet thing to realize Melissa’s heart warmth was, even then, waiting to turn on him like a lamp light of a movable kind of home.

They turned into the convenience store’s parking lot, and they pulled up to the curb. One other car was parked in front of the store, a beat up old safe-tank of a car. There looked to be only one customer inside. She stood in front of the glassed-in beer cooler, making her selection and counting out her money. The cashier behind the counter didn’t look so enthused about how she was spending her Saturday night hours. Or was she just tired, or saving herself up for when the bars closed in a couple of hours, when she would have to contend with the last of the late-nighters coming in to buy their last beers before the city father laws said they could buy no more? Dennis was the first out of Sean’s car, with Richard climbing out of the back seat. They walked inside, leaving Sean sitting where he easily sat and listening to the radio, maybe passing into his own Snow White dream from behind the steering wheel. Or so he looked to Richard from the counter, while waiting for the cashier to register his purchase. But maybe it was just the glassed-in store, the stark brightness of a 24 hour, non-stop convenience store that can make every dreamer’s sweet dream look like not much more than a receding shore line.

Richard didn’t quite hear what Dennis said to the woman still standing in front of the refrigerator door when he walked over to pull out a beer, but he was certain the bullman said something. Maybe she was unlucky enough to be standing in his way, still counting out her money, and maybe he impatiently reached around her for a can of brew. Did he tell her to move out of his way, or did he also say something uncomplimentary to her? She was the kind of working neighborhood girl who could most use the occasional compliment paid to her. Or so Richard registered her chips-and-dip face and figure as she passed by him on her way out the door scowling, and without her beer. Just the starchiness of what comes from making up for all of those unreachable TV images of other-place desires. Richard was standing outside after the woman got into her car, and while Dennis paid the cashier, when he noticed the woman was still sitting in her car, still glaring back inside at the man who must have said enough to either hurt her feelings or make her angry. As for the difference, when does it ever matter?

When Dennis walked back outside, and as he turned toward Sean with a smile for Sean, the woman still sitting in her car, who must have been waiting in the safe-tank of her beat up and rusty old car, screamed out a word, just a word, and what is ever in a word, at the man who had been less than kind to her. Dennis’s smiling face left him, started turning berserker again, started turning mean and unseeing again, when the girl in her car screamed out at him, yelling to a night time world, and calling him –You Faggot –

Dennis glared at her, at the woman rolling up her window, and who glared back at him. Then he took the beer that was in his big she-man hand and hurled it at her. Sean was jumping out from where he sat as the can bounced off the safe-tank’s hood, just under the windshield. But Dennis was already running for the woman in her car and trying to open the nearest door, which he found locked; then running around to the other side by the time Sean and Richard were trying to catch up with him to pull him back. The other door was locked too. And he was beating on the car and calling out words, stupid words, words that can have no meaning except for every she-hating meaning there might be in a broken she-man’s unbearable world. He kept beating on the metal and glass of the woman’s safe-tank car, running around it and trying to get to her, while Sean and Richard tried to get to him, chasing after him like a couple of less than funny keystone cops. Every time one of them reached Dennis, and grabbing hold of him, he would throw them off. And it kept on going like this until they both happened to reach him at the same time, and they somehow got him between them. There was no longer anything even human in the man, and holding him back was like trying to hold back a heavy stone pillar having decided to walk away from a wall. Somehow they managed to walk him back over, to pull him over to Sean’s car, still screaming, still yelling at the woman and frothing, still not wanting to leave the scene of his own small ruin. They might have managed to get him inside, and locked behind them in the backseat, if he hadn’t seen the length of a 4x4 lying on the blacktop, lying there and waiting for him, and if Richard hadn’t tried to open the car door right then. It was all the bullman needed to shake them free, to brush them off of him, throwing Sean to the ground, and to pick up on that 4x4, then running back for the woman in her safe-tank car. Then everything coming in the way big waves have for crashing down, for breaking against some portion of the continuum. It was the shattering safety glass of the windshield as Dennis came down with his board. And it happened simultaneously, measurelessly, how and when the exploding-gun-shot blast cracked from inside the shattering windshield, shattering Dennis’s chest, and cracking open a second time, catching him in the neck as he crumpled over the safe-tank’s broken shell. Then how he hung, doubled over with his legs resting against the car’s fender, and how the woman came screaming out her car, when they heard a siren waling its banshee way through another broken down Saturday night. The cashier must have called for the police while the madness of a bullman’s rage was a progressing thing. Sean and Richard had already pulled Dennis out, pulling him up through the shattered hole of the glass, and Sean sitting on the ground with Dennis’s head in his lap, by the time the first patrol car pulled up into the convenience store’s parking lot.

Just staring up uncomprehending, probably not seeing a thing. Staring up like a shot bird whose heart is somehow still beating. He was barely breathing, lying there, barely breathing for a few minutes more and lying where Sean held him, hunched over him, and trying to cover the shock of him with his body. Barely breathing and then he wasn’t. Barely breathing. Then he !@#$ wasn’t. He wasn’t breathing, he wasn’t breathing anymore, and why did he have to stop breathing right then? It was all so quick and simple to stop a bullman, to stop an uncomprehending berserker. There was nothing anyone could do anymore to get him to where he can cover up the rift running down the bleeding middle of him, running through him like the life-electric shiver run out of him. Then he wasn’t, he just wasn’t, he wasn’t even shivering. He wasn’t seeing a thing by the time a second, then third, then fourth, then fifth coagulating stream of red and blue lights converged on the scene of a bullman’s last appearance in the bull ring. Not a thing. Not how the woman ran inside the store and locked herself in the bathroom, or how a crowd of people soon surrounded Dennis and Sean who were still hugging the blacktopped ground. Or the ambulance people already arriving, and how they soon turned their attention away from Dennis and towards the woman locked in the bathroom, who looked as if she was in shock. Or how Sean was as unseeing from where he sat in another broken down night. And Dennis wouldn’t have seen how Pulitzer was quickly, somehow instinctively, journalistically, in the midst of it all, taking his notes, dimly shining over the circumstance of what he would record like a Chinese lantern’s light coming through. Or that Ronald the gardener was standing in the crowd, taking it all in in the way he has for taking things in. Dennis wouldn’t have heard Sean ask of no one in particular – Why didn’t she just drive away, you know, disengage? – Just as he wouldn’t have seen the police officers throw a canvas cover over his body, while telling Sean he would have to move from where he sat. Or that when Sean looked up and asked them why, they looked at him as uncomprehendingly. When they told him, for a second time, he would have to move so that the body could be taken away, and that Sean would have to give them the particulars for their report, Sean said he couldn’t talk to them, that he didn’t want to leave his friend to go it alone to wherever he was going. It was when one of the officers said that Sean couldn’t go in the ambulance, unless he is a member of the dead man’s family. And is he a member of the dead man’s family?

It’s hard to say what would have happened, then, had Ronald the gardener not come out from behind his blind, had not come closer to where one of the officers stood over Sean, and asked what difference can it make to anyone if Sean went in the ambulance. Ronald the gardener who surprised them all, even the policemen. Just those few words from a greenman the whole town considers crazy in the head. Maybe it is what prompted the ambulance driver to speak up, to tell the officers he thought Sean was needing sedation, and that, besides, another passenger can go unreported. Then the policemen deciding to let Sean go, while they were looking mostly to get Dennis’s body away from there, from the crowd, from the parking lot. But Dennis didn’t have to look at that either. He wouldn’t have to look at anything he couldn’t abide by ever again. After the ambulance left with Sean and Dennis, while a second one pulled in for the girl still locked in her safe-cell bathroom, and before the blue uniforms could turn on him with their questions, Richard decided to pass through the back of the crowd standing there like a flock of blackbirds. He figured the police would find him sooner or later in the way the police have for forever finding dreamers. But he couldn’t see any reason for hammering down on the facts of what just happened. The same as what can never account for what just happened.

So there it was, and leaving the scene of another rock n roll friend. There it happened again, the quick and simple way a rock n roller’s luck can go completely thin, can leave any one of them to their own puny measures for swimming through the sea of these Saturday night things. Every hateful time it happens there are all the likenesses of all the others who have gone down, either to the booze, the loves, the drugs, the rage, the loneliness, or just to the speed of rock n roll’s sped up film clip. They all come up again, come through the new rip in the cloth of a night. It is what came up behind what Richard wasn’t wanting to see right then, and what he tried to walk away from. He swears sometimes it is a kind of exacting payment required of them, that can come due on any one of them, for having trespassed into these emotional places, these dark-in-shadow places of rock n roll where they are all subject to the unleashed up-from-under urges; places that never really want to be brought out in the open, much less talked about, sung about or made to twist and shout in fullest measures of a musical tune. There are already so many young lovers, so many kings, queens, and rock n roll Christ-types brought down from their stages and platforms of a musical story; who have been taken outside to hang and dry on various crosses. Even all of the smaller, but still as fiery auto-da-fes of friends and lovers, brothers and sons, sisters and daughters who have been flayed alive on dark highways and byways, or in the burning bright doorways of rock n roll time, even while a radio song almost always plays nearby. It is their likenesses, the young likenesses of their uncomprehending faces as they get caught out as quickly and simply, that started to come through even before Richard could get out of the lurid, swirling pool of blue and red light. He just didn’t want to see them right then, or how it is to keep losing young friends in an undeclared war of emotional attrition, with its collateral damages, or, even, that they were sweeping in to take up another firebird into their company. God damn it anyway, Dennis! Why couldn’t you have learned to relate? For just one first time, in that titan’s young life of yours, why couldn’t you just walk away, say goodbye, let it slide, let it glide? Why couldn’t you have just laughed at the razor burn of a word?


Last edited by Terreson, May/29/2011, 5:28 am
May/28/2011, 6:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Seven



It has never been a long walk to Tara’s Place, except for now with Richard wanting to get away from what just happened. Certainly it was stupid of him to think a circle of friends could let him in their company. His hands and soul dirty with death. When he finally walked through Tara’s doorway, he saw that the synchronistic thing that is always happening was happening in here too. They were all out in the night of Dennis’s demise, many of the lost souls of Sean’s lost soul category, many of the rock n roll extremes with whom a musical theme never plays kindly. The music coming down from the stage was no more helpful, no better able to carry a dreamy boat out of the night’s dark-in-shadow regions. It was the kind of music that gets chewed through an electronic array of synthesizers, keyboards, prerecorders, control boards, amplifiers, and the speakers standing in tiers like some ceremonial magician’s power based cabala. The electronic musician standing behind his tower of music making machines was looking like some cool technician, some convinced scientist standing over the child-thing of an electronic brain. Some energy broker banging out an artificial heart beat. He was sending down a pounding kind of rhythm that never can let loose with the white bird’s high flying blues. Melissa was sitting in one of Tara’s corners with a Morning Star, the both of them looked as if they were trying to turn away from what was going down in the room. Melissa didn’t see Richard when he walked in, or when he made his way through the crowded spaces, between the tables, to where she sat. She didn’t see him until he was standing behind her, until he put his hand on her shoulder, and until she turned around warmly wanting to smile. It was just a small gasp that came out of the earth turned Melissa, as she involuntarily pulled away from his hand and stared up at him as if he was a cold faced stranger. But it was enough for him to see the night had gone too far wrong for him to be sitting with her, to be wanting to take her home, to be hoping to find a sleepy place in her arms where he wouldn’t have to see Dennis’s shot bird face, or the face of any other fallen down dreamer.

So he walked back to the bar to get a quick and simple drink, or to get out of Tara’s closer corner before there were the questions to be asked and answered. And there were just so many of them out in the night, many of the broken down dreamers Richard has come to know something about.

Like the Tennessee girl who, for all the world, is as soft in the heart and as pretty to see as a blonde pinup Venus, and who can never let herself go too far with a nice guy ‘cause it might mean she’ll start caring. It is why she goes back out the door with all the losers and emotional rip-offs who come in here, since, it is safer for her that way she says. Already a Tennessee girl as drunk as a Saturday night can get her until it doesn’t matter anymore. Snaggle Puss in here too, and brooding back down at the end of the bar, brooding over what in the world he is going to do with himself, since, he never can stay a man or a woman for very long, since, he is always going back from one to the other, since, he never knows which way he will be when he wakes up in the morning, or where. He has already lived a burning lifetime, he says, and just twenty-one. Maybe he should turn the lights out, he can say again, if only to come back again, if possibly to come back again, so that he can try, again, with a cleaner slate. Chuck also flitting through the room, in the way he always flits around in the room, or climbing the banister out on the porch, yelling –Come on in, Come on in. - He can never sit still for long, since, the Nam named war still goes on inside of him. If only he had been smarter back then, or better connected or more monied, or younger, or older, or some frigging something. Then he could have gotten out of a grunt’s front-row-foxhole, then he still wouldn’t be sleeping and sweating and dreaming and pissing in that same nightmare foxhole. All so that he could play the part of a pawn’s piece in an insane game of contending ideologies. - And can you dig it, can you really swing to the sense of it? - He once asked. Why the hell wont it stop going on inside his head? Maybe it could if he could find someone to go cross-country with him, go back out and cross the country with him, like a teenager still, go back out and bury the bloodknot of his infantry division that still hangs around his neck. Why can’t someone share the bloodknot of his pain for awhile, just take it from him and let him sit still for awhile?

Or isn’t it strange what a new wave girl will do for money, the new wave girl standing by the doorway said one black midnight. Does she really have to keep turning that red light on? Yes, of course, she has to keep turning that red light on, ‘cause she is getting to where she doesn’t much care for her new wave of loneliness, and ‘cause forty will soon be a new/old wave breaking over her. Not much of a party year to be looking forward to, unless somebody would once stay with her into the morning, or keep her going with enough toot so that she doesn’t have to keep on coming down again. It never can matter she is as pretty a new wave girl, maybe even prettier, in her looking glass morning as she is in her midnight moment of panic, since, it can’t matter to her. And it doesn’t matter to her ‘cause there is no one around to stay around, to keep on coming down with her. Her new waves eyes are getting too shiny, too cold and clear, my dear, and why can’t she just let it rest for awhile, a new wave girl, just put it to sleep, tuck it in, let it be, let it go one night without her? ‘Cause she can’t and that is all she needs to know. It is just a crying shame, the dishwasher can say who stands too far away to ever come closer, the same as who sold his guitar, one day, and whose John Lennon glasses are always getting steamed over from another workplace and another dishwasher; and who is too far down, it seems to him, to keep on trying to climb over, to keep on looking over his little bag of leafy green grass, to keep on thinking he can find another stringed instrument. It is just a shame, he can sing, singing his one clear song on an Open Mike evening, just a crying shame. But, of course, Pulitzer must enter the door right then, bringing it in, and being in a position to supply one or two answers to Melissa’s questioning glances. And what the !@#$? What difference is it going to make ever again? So stand clear, Mr. Pulitzer, stand away for a little while longer, please don’t come any nearer with your lantern, don’t be coming closer. Or might it be better to get out of here, to pass through Tara’s mechanically inclined bar room? Why is it all so god damn driven? Why does it have to be that some machinery of darkness can almost always have its way with any one of them, with some shot bird of them who will no longer fly, never have the chance to try one more time?


May/29/2011, 6:24 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Seven


Richard made his way out of Tara’s precincts, quickly passing back through the underwater cavern of Tara’s room, keeping on the move, and passing Pulitzer who was trying not to look at him. He stepped off the porch and onto the street. He walked on down the side street, and into the next one, then passing through the darkened downtown business district and on through the darker streets of neighboring safe-cell houses. He kept on going to where the shrimp boats, the sailing boats, and the fishing vessels dock, down by the scallop plant and the boat yards where the marshy places of the lowering tide water can start folding back over a bad moon night, where the marsh quiet can almost always be counted on to spread out over, and turn back under, the harshness of a bad moon night. He probably would have kept on walking, kept on hugging the water line, and holding to a marsh river’s more gentling night-tide; kept on passing beneath the blue-black night sky, kept on going along the finger-docks, and on around the marshy rim of town. Maybe he would have kept on keeping on until theymarshy bed of town was rounded back over in another dawn’s light, except for what surprised him while leaning against a dumpster out behind the fisherman’s bar everyone knows as Shrimphaven.

The bar is down below the commercial fishermen’s line of boats. Not that it is the kind of bar that actually has a name, or a sign to hang outside its door, as it doesn’t really need one. It doesn’t need a name because the only customers that go in there are the fishermen coming back to shore. Anyone else is barely welcome. It is its own kind of haven that keeps open for its own clan of workers. But it was closed now anyway. The hour being late.

Richard leaned against the bar’s dumpster backed up against the river, smoking a cigarette, while looking down inside the blue-black water and wondering when an easier tide might start coming back in, might be coming back in, would it ever be coming back in again, or taking them back out not so harshly? He heard a familiar voice then speaking, except for the metallic ring that seemed to have it closed in. Then it spoke again and in those same soft vowels and rounded consonants. The voice requested of whoever stood outside a sacred garbage receptacle to either go find his own blessed dumpster or give to the person speaking from within a holy cigarette to carry said pilgrim a little further on his way. Richard looked inside the dumpster and, using the name he thought might belong to the self-same pilgrim within, asked if it was Hugh the great sailor of the seas? And it was Hugh, the voice gave testimony to, as he raised himself from where he laid on the piles of garbage and trash, who deferentially took the lit cigarette being handed in to him. When Richard asked, as deferentially, what he was doing in there, Hugh replied by asking for the time. When Richard said it must be past midnight, Hugh then wanted to know what Richard’s opinion might be on when he could expect the dumpster’s mother truck to come along for the pod in which he himself was ensconced. When Richard allowed that, by his most earnest calculation, he would place the watch at sometime just before dawn, Hugh let it be said he didn’t think he could wait that long. And did Richard, perchance, have the resources with which to see Hugh to an early breakfast? But, in any case, would he assist a great sailor man in climbing out of his berth? Which Richard did, while at the same time asking again of Hugh what he was doing in there?

It was a shaky sailor man, an all-night drinking sailor of the seas, who climbed out of the garbage bin. Saying, as he did, that as he had already intimated, he had been waiting for the great beasty to come along, to come looking for its fish heads and collectibles; to carry them home, to bring another Jonas come rolling home, to let the great wind out of him, and to return his compactable bones to the square root of every great hero’s first and last fetal stance. Hugh and Richard then standing by the dumpster for a few minutes more, while Hugh savored his cigarette, and while he took possession of his land legs again. Then the older sailor abruptly starting them in the direction back towards town, back inside their seaside town, to where an all-night eatery could serve them an early breakfast. The same place as what would have already fed an after-hour bar crowd who, on a blessed Saturday night, was like so many pop-eyed dreamers still trying to keep the week’s end from losing ground again, still trying to keep themselves somewhere inside a working dreamer’s margin of work-free time. The same weekend, then, as what almost always got the better of a great sailor man, the same as what had done Dennis in. And was Sean taking himself home, or was he already there? Was he safely enclosed behind his green house curtain, was he already there?

So it was starting to happen again, and without anyone having to do much more than keep themselves somewhere inside a tide-wheel’s motion. It was starting to turn again, starting to turn back in on them, and taking them back inside a seaside reverie that, momentarily, had been split open. It was just a feeling starting to turn, slowly to turn back inside the ebb-tide places where any one of them can get stranded, beached, left out to dry. The same slack-tide that can turn any one of them down an irrevocable place of self-destruction. Hugh wasn’t talking as they left the docks, except to ask for another cigarette. Which cigarette he took and savored as much as the first. He was still pretty wobbly as they stepped down the streets, even if he wasn’t as shaky, or as precariously leaning forward. As they walked back towards the middle of town, walking slowly enough so that Hugh could keep on the move, Richard thought he heard a kind of cry, a kind of heart-riven cry getting carried on the incoming night-tide. He had to be hearing imaginary things, he figured. But it was almost like a girl-child’s uncomprehending cry of pain, like a shore strand’s moan of lament. And how could that be? Or can there actually be such a thing as a neo-archaically-plotinusly-platonic-idea-thing as a world-living-soul? If there isn’t, then what did Richard hear? What did he certainly hear while walking with Hugh through the late side of a marsh rimmed town in the dark a.m. of a midnight morning? And why did Hugh suddenly start to walk as if he heard it too? Starting to walk like a sea captain again, like a great lover of women again, like a sailor man starting up to go chasing after the white bird of morning again? It was like a moan spreading out over them, a moan already changing, already chase-changing, like another catch-me-if-you-can, like a don’t-leave-me-lonely-too, or like a we-can-make-it-if-we-do. It didn’t keep over them in the night air for long. That cry of sharp sadness, like a night heron’s cry, quickly becoming coquettish. So maybe it really could be – A goodnight, Dennis, and better luck next time if what Snaggle Puss says is true. Goodnight, bullman, the gate’s been let down for you. - Just as Hugh started to walk as if he was new again, looking ready to do battles with the blues again. An older sailor still keeping to a secret, moonlit, a secret path to come cart him home.

It’s hard to say why Hugh started talking, then, except that maybe he felt some of his strength coming back. After taking a light on a fourth smoke, Hugh started in by saying as how he is as incomplete, unfinished, as anyone else he knows. Maybe more so, it sometimes seems to him, in spite of everything that has already shaped and smoothed the plane of him. He couldn’t say for sure, and maybe there is no way of telling. He sometimes thinks the only business he has in living is to keep on doing what he is best at doing. Which amounts to really just living, he said, and not working, or teaching anthropology, or getting productive. Just living, he said, keeping on leaning into the wind, while doing the sailing thing he does, and loving, and hating, and making, and breaking, and turning back to where he has to start doing it all over again. Like the women who still find something worthwhile in him, or like the boats that keep luring him back out to sea. Like the love-time meetings that keep as one night things. Or like the drinking that, no matter how much he tries, never gets the better of him. It is just that, sometimes, he is hard pressed to find the pride in what he does, or in how he gets carried along. He has been carried along so many times, and carried through to where he comes up on the other side of his fortunes, he has started to wonder if he has lost out on something. Or missed out on whatever should have carried him over his own bottomed out fortunes. This being what occurred to him while sitting in Shrimphaven, getting drunk, and feeling himself getting mean and meaner. He just isn’t seeing the pride in how he is turning back over to go sailing back out again. Maybe he should have picked a fight with anyone of the fishermen in there. They would understand without letting on they know. They would have had it out with him on the floor, and no one minding the punches, the kicks, the bruised bones, the bloodied faces. But he wasn’t able to see the pride in that either, Hugh said. Which is when he decided he was ready for the dumpster truck to cart him off. What a darkness he felt in that bin. It felt like a pair of black wings coming over to cover him. And he hated that feeling, hating it more than when he can feel sorry for himself, for what he has come to.

It is that he had a son, once, Hugh said, stopping Richard where they walked, looking at him straight. He had a son who will never be looking for him again. Can Richard understand what that might be like? Richard noting the great sailor man was not talking with his affected Caribbean softness and island ease. The boy fell from a building, Hugh said, when almost a man. He had climbed up the exterior of that high rise, carrying a bouquet of flowers in his teeth to give to his mother whose birthday he meant to celebrate. The boy miscalculated and so fell five storeys to the pavement. She still hasn’t forgiven Hugh, the sailor man said, for giving her a son so much like him. Maybe he hasn’t forgiven himself either for letting his son be so much like him when it doesn’t seem anyone else can survive the kind of chase-changing life he has always wanted to sail in. So when he saw those black vulture wings coming down on him, he understood he could end it all, and that he had found a way to carry himself out. Only, it made him too angry, Hugh said while starting them walking again. He wasn’t able to sit still long enough to let those dumpster compacting wings come down over him. Just like it was when he first heard his son could never sail with him again, and every time he sees the boy is not coming back to him; like it was when the faceless names in the war games were pointing guns at him; the same as how it seems whenever he is caught in a stormy sea, or seeing the backside of another fair weather friend. He still doesn’t think he can let himself go, he still doesn’t think he can keep quiet long enough to allow those wings to come down over him. Maybe he will have to start up some mischief, even pretending he is still a young man, or his-own-son-come-back-to-him. Even if, Hugh said as they came near enough to the all-night diner’s lights to bring an end to how he was talking, he has to keep sporting with this new kind of suffering. The chipping away, wearing away kind. But already the sailor man starting to grin his goat grin again in the all-night diner’s short pool of light.

Jun/25/2011, 10:25 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Open Faces Seven



It was an emptied out greasy spoon by the time Hugh and Richard stepped through the room’s glass and aluminum doorway and into its fluorescent light. The waitress on duty was facing the jukebox when they came in, and she was looking over the display of song titles she must have known already. There were three other people sitting in there. Or four other people if you count the lithographic, and imagined, likeness of a man whose portrait hangs on a side wall. The same as what Richard almost always turns his back when there. The waitress let Hugh and Richard seat themselves unnoticed while she finished pushing the keys giving her her musical choices. So it was thanks to Hugh, or to the table where Hugh decided to sit, that Richard found himself squarely facing that picture anyway. The best he could, by way of getting clear of someone’s Indian-wise notion of a shamanic man looking at the moon, was to turn his seat sideways and face some other portion of the room.

But what difference can it make, Richard started wondering in a sideways fashion, how well the waitress might know her late shift’s selection of songs? Maybe she was just looking for something new to have been entered into the juke box’s catalog since she last worked. Some twist on the musical theme that might have been added to the juke box’s chart of emotions. She is like a night time, overtime sister of mercy, their late night girl who soon finished making her selections, who then went behind the counter for a coffee pot and two menus, and who stopped by her three other tables before making her way to where Hugh and Richard waited, while the first of her songs came on about how long it has been, and how long a lady has been waiting, since she had last been with the captain of her heart. It was a random selection, she could be sure, just a shot in the dark. The mercy of her, Richard has seen before, is in the way she has for smiling while never saying very much, and that makes her seem like a sister humming a soft song, the same as what can take any dreamer through the hard edged night. It is the talent she has for effortlessly making her way through the dingy spaces of the town’s greasy spoon, even when it is a crowded place looking to split itself open with the after-hours bar crowd. She moves through the gloom as if showing how easily it can be done to anyone who might be watching. Or how you really can keep yourself safely tucked inside the juke box’s music while passing through a diner whose reality must be anything but neat and clean for her. Or even how easy it can be to pass behind that emptied out, ebb tide hour of a night-time’s neap. If she never says very much, as if keeping her secret self to herself, there is still the way in which she is almost always smiling. It is a faintly traced smile, the kind that can describe a first arc of new moon light. Especially when she stands over you to take your order. As now with her standing over Hugh and Richard, pouring coffee for them. It was that same softening gleam of light, that same risen half-light, that same promise of liquid light that can fall over any dreaming one of them, even after having slipped across some hard and darker edge of time. So it was that a great sailor man was letting the soul-strangeness get dissolved in him. Hugh then saying, as their night-tide waitress walked away with their order, that he could see he is falling in love again.

Maybe also there is something as merciful in the music she sends through the room, the same as what textually fills it out; and that was getting sent, just then, in an older rock n roll song about how it would be if the land got dark and the moon is the only light to be seen. He wouldn’t be crying, the singer said, he wouldn’t shed a tear, just as long, he was singing in the beginning, the middle, and the end again – Just as long as you stand, stand by me. – It was the only song right then, it seemed to Richard right then, that could do rock n roll battle with the electronic beeps and bursts of bombs, even the space age kills, coming from out of the Star Wars machine built like a low, acrylic-topped gaming table. With every so often the waitress’s music getting punctuated by a simulated blast of gun power, even truncated by a close and rapid series of hits that rendered an entire star fleet into so much space age debris. The big woman sitting at the gaming table sat with her back to the room. Richard has seen her in there before, the lady whose width is too great for the stool that somehow manages to hold the weight of her. She always sits where she was sitting then, playing that game of seek and destroy, of hurtling herself through a weightless kind of hyper-space, while firing her missiles and laser beams through the continuum of a far off space game, just another war game. She always seems as immovable, as large, as self-centering, as much like her own ballooning universe in which that one game gets played over and over again. Richard couldn’t see how her fingers must be deftly manipulating the controls and firing lines of her star ship, making it even harder for him to see the connections between the ten or twenty rapid bursts of the big woman’s quick precision kills and the sitting-still mass of her. Just as it is always a surprise to see how easily she lifts herself up from her gaming table and walking back out the door to get into her subcompact car that will somehow carry her home, somehow carry her home, somehow carting her off to carry her home while a song plays about the smoky pool halls and the dancing girls, down on main street, on any girl or boy’s first midnight main street. Richard can never figure out, after she goes, if it is a lonely fix that brings her in, if she has been looking to patch up a hole deep in her feeling for space, or if it is to shoot down another low flying ace.

Hugh kept looking after their late night sister of mercy, occupationally biting at the inside of his lip, when the big woman finished her game and went out the door; even as the juke box played another song about two American kids growing up in an American heartland, growing up while chasing young thrills inside their own kind of heartland. Richard felt his tiredness by then, but it didn’t matter. Not at least for a little while longer. And when Hugh went back to talk with the waitress who was making their breakfast, Richard gave a passing thought to striking up a conversation with the man sitting not too far away.

He is a man Richard nicknamed Mr. Plutarch, one night, after he noticed how he sits in there, reading, and finger following the old town Greek’s book on proceeding down parallel lines of living. It just struck Richard as funny. The man is a strange one to be seen sitting inside a late night diner; except for maybe the hour, for the late-night time that makes everything seem a little less strange, even a stranger. But Mr. Plutarch will sit at a table, as he was doing again, reading, never eating, while smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and with a light jacket over his shoulders. At first Richard figured he was another of the town’s clipped wing characters. Like Leo who was in that night too. Richard has thought that maybe Mr. Plutarch isn’t actually reading. Maybe he just follows the kind of lines that can give a straying mind something to lean on. But Richard finally decided that Mr. Plutarch does operate in full capacity, since, there is something about him too fully studied to be haphazard. Such as the coat always hanging from his shoulders in an old world gentleman’s fashion, or the deliberate way he has for poising his pen just before underlining a sentence. That is when he is like a patient hunter. There is also his beard to consider, as long as an ancient scholar’s might be, and as wistful. His beard being the clue, Richard decided, to the man’s sanity. Just as there is something in how the man sits in his chair that persuaded Richard of what he wanted to know. He always sits straight backed, and attentive, as he follows the ways in which some other scholar peeled back the layers of his own sliced away days. Maybe it isn’t so strange Mr. Plutarch sits in there. Maybe it is easier for him to hear another man might have been thinking, when he can follow those thoughts in the late night’s ebb-tide hour. Maybe, also, some part of him still needs the immediate variety of an all-night diner’s chance activities. Both at the same time. That night what kept Richard from going over to Mr. Plutarch was the same as what has kept him from disturbing the man’s containment before. He didn’t know if he should interrupt a scholar’s thoughtfulness, or if he should disrupt the progressions of a give and take conversation a man like that will have with shade of the past who left a schematic of how things seemed to him way back when. And there it was for them, for anyone who might be listening, in the way the juke box played another song; a song whose singer sounds like another year’s oak king coming down from the North country, singing about avarice and greed, about getting dropped over an endless sea, about sailing on some ship he calls a ship of fools, and about getting saved from someone else’s idea of tomorrow, whatever that might mean.

Certainly Leo couldn’t hear what a singer sang, being too busy with garrulously working out the closer terms of an ancient complaint. Arguing with himself, in the corner where he sat, over matters too obtuse for anyone to help him in the understanding. Or is it just the argument, Leo, Richard has wanted to ask him? Is it the pleasure of contention that has you going in your clipped wing direction? The same as what first led you to take the point up with yourself after everyone dropped out of your range of hearing, and even when your own convictions left you with remorse over, over what, Leo? Over what are you still defending that unassailable position of yours? The same as what has become perfectly fortified in the corner where you crouch like a lion pinned against the back drop of some dead end canyon. And, for sure, for sure it is better, Richard almost told himself aloud, to go swimming back inside, dive back inside the juke box’s tune then playing, gathering its own momentum, about what it is like to go living among night side creatures, to lose one’s self-control, to lose on all points of a gamekeepers scoreboard, just to go swimming again, even if it means coming up foolish one more time. Which is maybe some part of what was happening in the greasy spoon’s kitchen , then steering a great sailor man back out to the table.

It was Hugh the goat grinning sailor man who stepped back out into the room, who carried the two plates with their early morning, dark AM breakfast. Judging from how he swaggered back in, clearly it was Hugh who cooked the eggs, turned the bacon, and spooned up the grits. And it was their sister of mercy who came up behind him with a refill on their coffee cups, who then sat with them as they ate. Sitting with them and listening to Hugh tell his tales. Hugh who is never so happy as when he is talking to a woman, what is the marvelous thing about him. The way he has for coming out of himself, going glorious, whenever a woman sits close to him, and the metamorphosis taking place.


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Re: Open Faces Seven



Richard can’t say when it was Hugh turned back to him, to tell Richard he would be leaving within the month, and to ask Richard to leave with him. Maybe it was when their night-light waitress had gone back to the counter to get more coffee for Mr. Plutarch, or when she cleared the plates from off their table. No music was playing when Hugh asked Richard to go sailing with him. Hugh asked once, only once, but in such a way that Richard had to face the man. To go sailing, to go sailing down inside the islands, to go skipping between the islands. To be scooting through the straights and to windwardly seeking nothing in particular except for every sweet water promise the Caribbes have ever held out to another sailor. To get tacked on a breeze when the sun’s light actually goes green-gold in first light. To let go, to go and let go of everything that keeps on encroaching, of all the baggage and freight that keeps on crisscrossing a man’s sphere of delectable choices.

Richard has probably never said no to an adventure before. Maybe he wouldn’t have said no then but for that picture of an Indian-wise, ochre colored shaman who, he swears, was staring down at them; the same First Son vested in red and black, who stands on some stark plateau, whose face is as sculpted as sandstone, who looks like some energy king seeing through to the wavering edges of his own domain, and who was staring down the sea lane of what Richard’s question just charted for them. Maybe instead of saying no Richard should have pointed to the picture hanging on the wall behind Hugh. Instead of saying nothing else maybe he should have tried to explain to Hugh how he didn’t think this is a trip belonging to him. Only, he didn’t know if it is something he could explain; the way in which a picture can sharply decide questions involving directions. So he let it go and Hugh let it go. They let it go back to where it could keep between them, two journeyers whose lines have crossed, and who recognize that momentary face of friendship. Like two dark eyed pralos in a Spanish caravan, they recognized the face of their friendship while their waitress was standing by her juke box, looking for another tune. It looked as if she had actually found a new song to play. It was a rhythm and blues kind of tune about no longer being a first-formed angel, no longer a stranger to dark streets of shame and darker pains. The singer singing as how he is ready and willing to go robbing the cradle, to go driving a young girl crazy, to keep on defying the odds of a dream’s waking failures. Then to let her in to where a young girl could go spinning with him if only she will lead him back to where he has been, knows he can be again, when still a child of sweet changes. All they have to do, the singer sang while the band played its invitational blues, is to fall back down through the streets together.

Then the sleepy-eyed Melissa coming through the door, who had left Richard’s apartment to look for him, even if she hadn’t known where to find him at that hour. She had already driven down by the docks and along the bay front’s river wall. When she talked to Pulitzer back in Tara’s Place, she said in the way she has for slipping the connecting thing in, she didn’t know what else to do except go home and wait for him. Only, she hadn’t been able to wait any longer. Nor had she been able to fall asleep. It was all she needed to say in the way she has for using few words, for waiting to say what else she might have to say when you’ve gone back home with her, and in touching her fingers to your cheeks as she moves to sit down. She looked so tired in the dark A.M. Seeing how tired she was finally broke through the steel and concrete keep of Richard’s soul-strangeness. Or was it just seeing her and sitting where he was finally sitting with the dark eyed Melissa again?

So the bullman actually is gone, Richard could finally start to agree, and letting go. It must be so if Pulitzer said it was true, having said so to Melissa. The bullman has been carted out of their seaside town, the same as what saw the last of his own small tragedy. The berserker man has been taken down by the sea and washed clean of his fury. Melissa then saying as how she wondered if Richard was ready to go home; which was her way of trying to get him to move in a direction a little closer to them. Yes, he was ready to go home, and was Hugh wanting a ride back to the Lord Jim? And, no, Hugh would wait around until their night-light waitress was ready to go home too. He would take her down to the boat, he said, and give her a tour of an old sailor’s schooner. He wouldn’t be waiting for long, he said, with the back side of dawn about to turn, this being when their waitress would be free of her station, and Hugh already asking if he could take her down to the dock, show her around, and ask her in. As Melissa and Richard walked out the door, after leaving his money on the table, Richard went to where a phone was bolted to the side of the building, wondering if Sean was home, or if he would answer. Yes, Sean was home and, yes, he would answer, thinking it might be Richard. But, no, he didn’t need anything, except to be left to himself inside his own small greenhouse, and could Richard cover his shifts at the Jacaranda? Sean who was backing himself inside the greening middle of his variegated home where he could stay sleeping for two days or more, where he could keep inside the sensate center of himself until ready to come up feeling again. It is strange to Richard how that night was both the night of a bullman’s demise and when Hugh came up smiling again, came up determined to keep to the game still the best game in town to play.

Melissa and Richard finally made their way home where they sat out on the balcony while he told her the main part of Dennis’s crossed out story. They sat out there through the dawn’s dew of a high summer’s morning, or until she took him inside to lay him down with her; to where she held him close as she fell asleep, and where he also fell asleep for an hour or so, or until he got back up again, still having to keep on the move. With Richard keeping on the move, and with Melissa patiently waiting for him to come back to her. Just as she is waiting at home tonight, waiting for him to get through the chapter of a bullman’s ruin. Maybe there is no way to dissolve this kind of thing. This death thing that can easily come down on them and stain them all in red rain, this ugly face of a scarecrow’s hanging that seems as if it can take on a life of its own of you let it, if you can’t let go long enough to start up pretending again, start up playing Hugh’s game until you can get back to where the pretense really is the thing, the imaginative-life-living-gaming-thing, so help you you goat-grinning-god-thing. Even if it can let you down, sometimes, letting you fall through to where you don’t know if you can get up again, and smelling like a garbage heap of collectible fish heads and !@#$. Maybe there is something to learning a new art, such as the art of letting go, since, it doesn’t seem to do anybody any good to keep on remembering. Maybe, also, it is time to let a Morning Star go home too. To help her turn out the lights and lock the door, to let her make her sleepy way back to her marsh bed home. There is supposed to be a surprise waiting for Richard, Melissa had said. Something silly and a little crazy. This being reason enough to ask a Morning Star for a bottle of champagne. Something green-gold and liquid, and a little crazy in the morning.

Jul/10/2011, 4:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 




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