Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blues, at 55 Bar

A smoky Saturday night at 55 Bar, a sun-baked girl slipped up to the mike. Eyes cut through thick swirls of musky scents, tall crinkly hairdos – alive and swaying to a deep blue rhythm swung in to listen closer. Glasses stopped clinking. An Asian couple crouching on the street outside peeped into this downstairs speakeasy womb and soon after, slunk into its dank warmth. A large lisping sad eyed ticket seller with a failed sales pitch settled on a nearby barstool.

A sweet, smiling, knowing sibling sipped slowly on baileys relaxed and unwound on a bed of ice. My girl, she thought, has found… something.

The bartender winked across his messy bunker, he knew how nervous she was. Three dirty martinis. That’s what it took for her to read, in ragged whispers, a love letter in blues.

This is for you, America.


You knew, didn’t you, that day when into the flat blue of the Houston sky, I sang along with a special lilt, this sweet sweet song on the radio. That’s when it occurred to you.

That with you I smiled, as I explored the gridness of NY, giddy with your softness seeped into me, the glad tint of all that I saw, through your eyes, through my eyes, the crisp newness of New York. The unfamiliar sharp cut of its skyline, the romance of its parks and the glow of its gilded statues, the abandon of its spirit and the intensity of its thrust in the heaving curtains of a heady underground rush that hung over sidewalk grates. Of its screaming sirens and steaming potholes, you listened and you watched, holding my breath in yours, as we gazed together upon eccentric brush strokes of unknowable dreams, veiled like this secret love burning in my gut.

In Chicago we caressed tips touching, the smooth surface of the Bean. Pressing down index fingers – yours on mine on the clicky button of a new D60, devouring new sights, cruising down Lakeshore Drive in a skylit mercedes. We plunged limbs entwined into the wide sweet emerald blue green open of the Lake, brushing wet toes, brown on white, grinding our feet into singing sand on a moonlit beach, exploring crowded corners of happy clichés, making them ours with unabashed pleasure.

And I too was with you, streaming soft fingers through your tresses on a balmy weekend highway, slipping through hot cracks between your head and helmet. No, it wasn’t the wind my darling, think again. And yes, that was me perched on the hefty swell of that sunny tank. Me imprinted on it. Me. Yours right then, for eternity.

You cheered, that evening, when for the first time I sang tortured karaoke notes. You laughed along, delighted as I was, at how much fun it is to be up on stage, a singing star. You knew then for all my life, how I’ve wanted to sing. And you cheered, knowing, as everyone who’s ever heard me, that they wouldn’t sign me EVER even if I was the last man standing. But I was a rock star, your star, for that one long jagged note.

It was you who circled my waist at Marquee the other night. So cheeky and self-assured, weren’t you, creeping up on me like that, without apology, roaring into my ear, flirting outrageously, touching me without permission! You thought your black tux and slick hair would seduce me, hanh? I thought about it later… what if it really had been you? Would I still have said no so vehemently?

It was you I turned to, at the last concluding frames of Wristcutters. You were the eyes at the end of the tunnel beyond light and life. You were in the curve of Rogen’s shapely rump [I’m sorry for the crassness of it, but it’s true] in his goofy smile and his crumpled shirt. We laughed together at his weeded up, bong hugging, doobie craving, ball grazing, posh-white-girl loving badass humour. And later, you loved the ‘u’ I put in humour.

Don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming. I don’t believe for a moment you didn’t know that feeling in the soft of your belly, the zero spot of your head. Examine it, my darling, and there, at the heart of your disbelief, you will find me.

We missed the absinthe party together, you and I. That, I shall always regret.

Someday, perhaps when you’re weary from digging into a distant past, and I am, well… I can’t give it all away can I? We’ll share that absinthe together at a crazy halfway rendezvous spot, somewhere above a mer-people’s den, engaging our wings above the Atlantic.


The brown girl, she slipped away into anonymity again. Big hair resumed its deep blue sway and the bartender; he went back to tossing glasses. A pair of like-headed siblings [one less tidy than the other, thanks to Turbo] cabbed a yellow ride home, and somewhere, across a fragrant, sleepy cornfield, a spider spun silver against a moon-bathed window sill.


B. Ditty said...

"exploring crowded corners of happy clichés, making them ours with unabashed pleasure."

Loved those lines, the post and words. I yearn for such beauty in my own writing :)

H said...


‘Tisn’t as long as you’d expect, na? Broke the spell, though.

lost said...

Welcome bck.
There is bit of "thank god, there
is a new post!!!!" kind of lov for u
at my blog

H said...

Thank you Lost. Am honoured. :-)

NanNan said...

You're number one star in my rock hall of fame-- heartfelt soulstirring words transcend karaoke machines and Atlantic ocean-

H said...

Aw Nan, you've set the bar really low for your rock star, hanh? ;-) I'm not complaining though. [Will even sing on request. Not suggesting, just saying.]

Witness Street said...

"Tortured karaoke notes" sound like me on San Mig Strong Ice.

But your words are the real music. I can imagine a silent montage of NYC images, being played to the sound of my reading this post.

You make me cry!

H said...

Migs. dear dear Migs.

I don't believe you for a moment, 'cause I've heard you sing. But the montage - you just ALWAYS, get it! Soon, and guess where? hahaha.

Non-Sensei said...

That was...
Thanks. :)

H said...

NS Bwoy
'twas. :-)

Prude said...

Loved it! It' the big western dream..that seems to hold us tight wen we get there and before we know it...we're stuck in its silver weaved web...and we are loving it!

go(ld)phish said...

i feel vicarious, illegal for eavesdropping. it's like a dream i almost had...
you're going to be pressed for details, be warned. you can't get away with so much s*&.

H said...

Prude, you really think so? Such giddiness, surely, is a personal thing, for each, na? It could’ve been Egypt or Vietnam, save for the blues, I s’pose.
But I like the upbeat tone in your words. Glad to know you’re enjoying your big western dream, little girl. :-)

Phish, hahaha. If you can make sense of it, sure. ;-)

Ben Ditty said...

So when do we get another pretty post H'y? :)