Thursday, September 6, 2007

Quiet Thoughts on Fighting

"What can you know about yourself, if you've never been in a fight?" Asks Tyler Durden. Good question fictional guy, but with me it's more like vicious shadow boxing.

"What can you know about yourself..."

You think you know you? With friends, strangers, assholes, even all alone in the tub like a Zazen moron chanting to the bobbing of his own body parts like it was the mantra made flesh. But you don't. Making love or hanging from a rope, you won't get the whole picture. Like trying to make a circle from a square. It's asymptotic: you'll only add smaller and smaller sides of the polygon. Hell, I'm not sure there is a way to know yourself anymore. Every context seems hopelessly flawed.

Speak in public.
Join a gym and train obsessively.
Write every day and read your crap weeks later.
Go to strip clubs and have real conversations with the dancers.

It has begun to lightning outside, and I have all of these thoughts around page 32. It's always around 32. Jesus. Bruce Lee. Rimbaud lasted a few years longer, or not depending on your definitions. I've outlasted them all by more than a whit. I've missed my chance to go out all supernova and pretty. I can't one-inch punch, and I can't walk on water. I just get caught up in books about walking London's M25 on foot and digging the psychogeography by a guy that writes a sentence like looking at the Eiffel Tower. Page 32 and my son goes to sleep on the couch, and I think this is going to be brilliant, so I sit at the kitchen table and look up new verbs by candlelight. By page 34 he's wide awake and wanting to play trains. I fight to be patient. I fight to be a dad.

"...if you've never been in a fight?"

Fight. Hell, I'm no badass. Artists these days come off like they are the next incarnation of the Last Dragon? How many times have I, simply because I've been caught up in the cliche? I can't count that high. I can carry my weight and run when I need to, and I'm wrinkled enough to see that it all sounds like a line from Whiskeytown or Sun Volt. And I'm okay with that, too. But damn if claiming yourself as anti-tough isn't the same thing. A man can't even be nothing anymore. Get up and get your ass to work. Do a long day you'd rather not be doing at all. Come home and try to be a decent husband, father, friend, what have you. Call that guy a fighter.

So go ahead Tyler, ask your cool question, but we'll have to define terms if we're gonna' get anywhere.

Break a nose?

How about a bad cycle.

A fight club?

I'd rather open a cult of love
for everything that's still alive
and kicking.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Gin Remembrance

Birthday gin tastes best, especially when it's Hendrick's. None of that phlegmy twang the liquor so often desposits in the back of the throat. In its place a floral bouquet made crisp, the latter by cucumber, the latter by bathing the whole mess in the vapor of rose petals.
It is extra special tonight, too, since it brings back memories of The Dakota a couple of weeks ago. A night of jazz dressed in fashionable brick faux facade, the chic splash of wine colored cymbal drapes. Another sip and I sudddenly remember where I hid my napkin notes made while a white dragon raised nine-thirty eyebrows with his saxaphone and unexpected madnotes. It wasn't gin at the time, but a dirty brew not likely to be soon repeated. Now the napkins.

Evening star blonde walks out tight but languid diva all practiced jazz chanteuse shoulders and still flat tummy for successful boyfriend and shiny vest made for the C-sharp she starts us with. She looks over at the

who is Joan Baez no lie but no wrinkles either and if sex, we don’t care to see it unless she's got a side we haven't seen. Hair frizzed as if it's grown beyond the need. The gray streaks respect and we do for her demure and comfort before keys not playing but played. Only once a glance and smiled up at us and over to the science professor at trap set thin almost eighties piano tie whose name I heard as

Jay Epstein

but I saw as mad scientist Clayton Forrester with match grip and nodding to years of set up take down and across state for what little is divided among five. A little easier he found it to smile in sporty old lettering thin sweater at Joan’s trickling keys and constant smile of singer turned his once in a while way. In bar glass reflection I saw it in his whimsy—a plant still growing and Take Five. Watching him and old friend kept close, the bassist

Terry Burns

childlike chicken dance elbows to a rhythm that outlasts us all. He's always a smile for a friend. A perfect laugh shares himself and said drumming prof while the corner crone ages with her since 1969 standard now without husband Friday night.
For mine and all the aging blonde stakes her claim toward something vintage. Her smile suddenly authentic stops me, a laugh at staid elder on the sax who 's name sounded like
who now contents to play the chassis of this convertable on twilight back road to third base. See he shook her and us all with star point of restrained solo hijinks that reveal nothing short of a learned and subtle genius. Powered her smile for the remainder of the evening, it did and we.

Sax and drums meet eyes for a higher moment of understanding and personal history. Nothing lasts, and the latter returns to his lot, resigned to let his old colleague take the limelight, but never forgetting that fork in the road all those years back. He connects again with the bassist, who has never let him down, his populist fate which he decides, like every Friday night, isn't a bad way to end a song.
So it makes sense that Hendrick's and a cool night like this would recall that night so. Rooted in that neon sharpness to keep the weekend a thing to covet, it also imparted a little something human, something bathed in the vapor of rose petals.
The myth of jazz distilled
a smile not so much imbued
as right there for all to see