Monday, July 25, 2016

Six straight nights up at the wine bar, four of them by myself.  Friday, all by myself, busboy.  Saturday, same thing.  Sunday night, no busboy.  Monday, some help.  Tuesday, alone, no busboy.  Wednesday, some help.  Jazz night complicates things intensely.   I'm the last to leave.

Two days off.  Unable to get moving in the afternoon.

As he lay there, tired, adjusting to the medicine, not having to go into work, he had the sensation as if below his breastbone in that energy center of intersections there was something like a box, a small cubicle chest, and that in it there were the physical memories of a particular person, a young woman from some time ago, that each and everyone of his dealings with had somehow tickled him, entering him.  The times, the circumstances, the words that happen, the events that can happen, they might not quite reflect the gut physical reaction.  Human, one might even act logically contrary to the wishes of the inner body and nervous system.  But that small chest full of the sensations that built upon each other had gave meaning, that was always there too, and required of him a reaction, such as would come out involuntarily, a voice cracking, the sound of the voice as it reacts to her action, a tonal musical quality which is uncontrolled, like the octave of a vessel being filled with water.  There was not anything he could do about this, about that center, like a chakra, of gut reaction to her person.  It had all happened at a vulnerable time anyway.  One of the last times after being where she was, he had vomited.

That was the thing within, that he had no power over, even as he tried to turn from it, escape from that which resided under his breastplate in a small central chamber.  There was not anything he could do about it now, but live with it, under some form of Buddhist philosophy, passive, accepting, the wiser for knowing a physical truth.

Working at the bar had been an effort along such lines.  A way of trying to distract himself.

Shakespeare.  Shakespeare.  He understood that people needed to talk, and that, also, and very importantly, people could be geniuses at it, and do great and almost infinitely--taking in dark matter and dark energy--gifted highly intelligent things of great compass.  Such that when a political convention comes along--I mean, just to use the example, because that example is now highly present--one could each, within his own his or her self, come up with good and vital things to say, things worth listening to, things built on the shoulders of a million disparate dreams that happen to us in our sleep, and that come out, meaning something, unknown to us, but a process.  I could speaking at that convention.  This is what I would add.

Thus, now, the possibility and popularity of certain mediums.  And one can take the event of a political convention and understand it in terms of meaning, maybe symbolic meaning, well, of course.

The leanness, the lack of anything superfluous, observed by Amherst College President, host to JFK's October, 1963 visit, Calvin Plimpton...  And he, JFK, was one of the great speakers here and now in our knowledge of the political world.

Words at a convention can be taken anywhere.  Many models there are, looking at the offspring.  Many things can be said, many things can be spoken, many people can speak, and it's a choice, a rehearsed thing, but that you know when you are hearing someone whose speech you trust, words you trust, thoughts you trust.  And all that can be up for grabs, when the dreaming person who is a potential voter listened, to the extent that they can listen.    What to take away, what to take seriously?  Where is the meat, where the gristle, where the healthy vegetable and the fiber, and where the bread?


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sometimes, after tending bar for a number of nights in a row, I wake up very tired, and I sleep and sleep.  My mood could be described as depressed, but it's a matter of processing.  And this is what the long sleep, the laying about, the doing of very little, accomplishes, perhaps like the process of molting, getting rid of the skin one had to wear to get through a few things.  It happens seasonally.  Sometimes when great bouts of rain fall, cold, darkness falling early, the simple need to curl up and sleep and sleep, and not move, to let the fibers of the body and the mind reweave themselves out of the tangles and broken strands, the electric disruptions, the noise, the aches that make you think of other aches not as physical, but still physical as the loads of work, literal cases of wine and and heavy plates to clear.

The day off, the words of Jefferson, often quoted, on the back of many a good bottle of wine, imported by Kermit Lynch, "I find good wine a necessity of life."  And this too is, the glass of wine, at the right time, is part of processing, of reaching back to the Gospels, the applicable truths of life deeply understood.  A glass of Ventoux refreshes the perspective.  It raises the psyche out of darker places, encouraging forward motion.

The challenge, how would I describe the personal experience of being a barman for twenty five years longer than I might like to admit.  I've had more wine than I might like to admit over those years, too, but hey, maybe I'm not totally alone in that.  There is after all, the Christian mention of wine, in the Gospels, in a central parable, and on into the legacy of interpretation, notably, the scene of The Wedding at Cana, a central chapter in the reading of The Brothers Karamazov, Alyosha, the youngest of three imagining in dream the truth of the departed elder, the remarkable Father Zossima.  Dostoevsky himself turned to such people, when he was hurting, having lost a son, in the course of his own difficult now almost unimaginable life.

But where, impossibly, would I start, with this, without being a fake?  How would I bring out my street cred, such as many a waited-on party might seem to have missed, not asking too often of my wisdom, only the occasional embarrassing reference to 'the book I wrote,' or the songs I recorded of Irish music and put up, embarrassingly on Youtube.  The Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds started out as pub and bar owners, with their own two hands, and there is a Catholic vibe, a Christian opening-up in such a line of work that might be absent in offices of the sort we all must now live by, but still craving that little moment of freedom, sometimes glimpsed at ten PM, the beauty of a glass of wine at a favorite bar as it winds down into the night.

Reference the darkness one personally overcomes, on a daily basis.  I don't want to be light about it, I don't want to be, certainly, heavy about it.  It's all garden variety stuff.  But stuff from which we might take away meaning, even if meanings are obscured, and we have to look in impossibly high places for them, places seemingly reserved for better people than ourselves.

Getting ready for work, that's the hard part.  Friday, 4:30 PM, is your own workweek's Monday morning, and you went out to dinner the night before, a celebration.  It takes a lot of prep, green tea, the searing of lamb sausages and then into the oven, shower, folding a shirt, loading the courier bag with the essentials of work and modern identity and modern tools, the Parker steel ball point pen a thrown back, a charged iPhone, wallet.  Oh, man, you know you'll be by yourself up the wine bar.  Get out the door, on the bike, up the grand avenue, and into the woods, where, in the shade, in the quiet, I call my mom.  And at this point, I'm still, today at least, in a sort of gloom.  One invitation meant canceling another, and when I talk to my mom, I reveal my sense of how, as if habitually, again, I have bolluxed things up again, the disappointing of a particular sort of person one should and does not ever want to disappoint.

And I'm hinting at my thought of how I have irrevocably, again, messed things up, I don't know, out of loyalty to steady friend, out of nervousness, shyness, social anxieties, a lack of dating...  It takes a great mom to give the lesson such gloom deserves.  "If you're going to think like that, you're never going to get out of that hole, and by thinking that way, you bring everybody down."  Ouch, it's true.  But, I suppose, it's a thought I've wanted to get off of my chest for a long time now.  "I'm sorry, mom, you're my sounding board.  That's why we write, to get all that bad stuff out you know."  I feel bad.  I've made her blood pressure go up.

I don't know where the nerves come from, but they come from somewhere.

Stand up comedy points the way to writing.  Writing points the way back to the dramas of old that let playwright and poet have a toehold of established profession.  But there were only ever a few of them, a very few, a very very very very few.  And then consider all the people who spout of with things to say.  No wonder Shakespeare took to the game of classification, as if drawing out species of birds.  Falstaff, the archetype.  Hamlet, Romeo, Juliet, Caesar, Prospero, Puck, Lear, all taken from the templates of humanity that you and will see if we with open eye venture out, wary of the kaleidoscope of human integer and feathered disguises, tropes, a mirrored surface of many confusions as Liberace's piano and suit.  I am no better, nor no worse.  I've, like we all do, as professionals, fallen into that archetype of what one should be, without really ever knowing why, or how we came to be who we are.  I know.  I play a role.  It makes less and less to me every day, this character, lonely figure who does his job and does it well to go home to a vacuum after dealing with a lot of junk, graceful processing of junk good tidings, waited on people, conversations that are not real, the lackey's flourish of good will no one really gives too much weight to.  Even though it goes back and back a long way and some people thankfully see that.     At this point the writer is now generalizing, and that is poor writing, sweeping statements, a waste of mental space...


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Song of the Mountains, on MPT, between 4 and 5 AM, "Jessie McReynolds & the Virginia Boys," from 2009--here's a venerable man from Grand Ol' Opry, with grandchildren playing good music.  It is fuller entertainment than just music.  Bluegrass, it is called.  But one subliminally remembers Hamlet, awake, troubled, his enthusiasm for the players, for they will catch the conscience of the king, get to the kernel of the issue.  Here it is, calming entertainment for the insomniac, from The Lincoln Theater in Marion, Virginia, and a pretty granddaughter Amanda's voice to grace the band.  "These people are born able to sing," because it's not that easy, I would know.

Compelling material, heartbreak, dreams, 'it's you I'm thinking of my heart echoes the love words you've spoken, .... won't you answer a heart that is broken, and make my wishful thinking come true, my wishful thinkin' come true.'

The old guy is in good shape.  Black Muddy River, a Robert Hunter-words/Jerry Garcia-the music song.  Good head of hair, dark, a Lincolnesque face, though not a tall fellow.  Harmonies.  Strong jaw and cheekbone, a hawk nose, inherited by charming granddaughter, a kindly face, a kindly way, a man comfortable being himself on a stage, nothing more, nothing less than what he is.

Three chord songs, more or less, with the alternation, one to four, to one, to five, to one, and so on.  A ribbon of paper clipped to the tuning peg of the mandolin.

"Let's get back to the bluegrass," he says, and it's Shenandoah Valley Breakdown, an instrumental.  Fiddle, now banjo, claw hammer style, then the feverish mandolin, the earliest of rock'n'roll strumming style, and the ballgame continues.  Shave and a haircut, six pence.  Grey Grand Ol' Opry style Western jacket, grey.  The grandson, a hefty guy in a black suit plays the standard D-28 with that good thump.

People from coal mining towns.  The crowd, elderly, a happy audience.   A final song, grandfather
and granddaughter singing in harmony in the same microphone, That Air Mail Special of Mine, and the crowd stands, applauding.

Song of the Mountains dot org.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

It's a matter of self-analysis.  Putting yourself on the couch, understanding the hymn to the great personal depths that are private that a writer can reach, the privacy of Proust, of Kafka, Kundera, Vonnegut, Knausgaard...  Has to be true, thus potentially embarrassing.  That's why I liked working in a pub, a bar, that there was conversation, the climb, the peak up above maybe never reached, where people really talked to each other, talked about their old man's death, the deeper things you wouldn't share without some ritual like Mass, like your Delphic wine server, clown on the heath, person to talk to in flux.  Could you find such a person at a booth in Penn Station?  Well, maybe.   The species is still sensitive to itself.  That's maybe why people ask me for directions.  I must look like, or act like, someone you can talk to.  I guess that role is like that of a therapist...  you could go this way, or you could go that way,  I'll tell you a bit about them, maybe, but it's up for you to choose, to do, to discover...

But, the understood privacy, entered into, between the writer, his/her self, and the distant potential reader, who exists only as the vague possibility of a person who might ask for directions over some simple matter, "I'm at the Japanese Embassy, how do I get to Connecticut Avenue..."


So, the writer listens:

I guess it was like it all hit at once, around the same time.   The spiritual view, given what I was learning from Eastern religions, of passivity in action, that intersecting with meeting that girl I liked, rather awkwardly, that intersecting with that strange pull of writing, the commensurate withdrawal into an arena too private for normal people...  Even while wishing and believing in and enacting the most perfect of communicational habits...  Or can it be too solipsistic?  I don't know.

This writing life, to me, old, and new.  Was it unhealthy shyness?  Well, you feel the way you feel sometimes, and I could get down about all that, or I could try to understand it and put it into some form of perspective to make sense of it, which is work to do on a daily basis.  That work itself is done in writing.

Of course, in many ways, it all fell apart then--well, I won't say, 'fell apart,' just, got real--the descent of a strange spirit, the shyness to constantly battle, the job an extension of anxiety to be met, in a good way.  That shyness drew me into the work, like you go to work in a vineyard...  It's work.  Go face people.  Prune vines so they stand and produce good fruit.  Tend to a garden.  It's work.

Shyness, the need for privacy, other peoples will interpret, seeing things, judging, qualifying, suggesting.  In the end, no, you're just a writer.  An odd bird, maybe...  A hell of a habit to have, or claim, or use, but maybe, principally, the work matters more than any final product you could, say, sell.  You could only sell as it an industry, as if to say, we all, at least some of us, need to make our Model Ts, an assembly line, a finished thing with wheels...

Writing you can't be afraid of.  It's more innate than anything.  No particular talent.  It's like breathing, inherent, a property.  People try to put it in boxes, but it's everywhere, waiting for you to catch up with it when you can.  Just write.  Even if...  maybe it has to be, embarrassing.

That great need for privacy, the nerves, those are just part of the writer's habit, and not much you can do about it.  But that is all related to the detachment, the perspective, that path to the Bhagavad Gita and the awareness of a different kind of action...  Buddhist philosophy.... Grabbing on to calmness as best you can, staying within the boundaries of your mind's comfort.  What were the last words of The Buddha?


On days off from work at the bar, the need for privacy is intense.  Yoga and meditation, done alone in the apartment, going to a class almost too much for all it will open up to the still tender mind.  Peaceful calm, even if it sounds anti-social.  Away from decision-making in a world broken into dualities.  Digesting.  Working all you saw and did, all you heard from people, all the interactions, taking all that and putting it to that anvil, putting it back into the sphere of the practical measures of thinking that are the legacies of psychological wisdom of spiritual health, the walk, the hike, the meditation, the headstand, the lotus seat...  The shitty thing, the Dostoevsky office hours of writing, when the world has gone quiet, 3, 4, 5 in the morning...  The time that vegetables do their thing between water and earth, energy of sun.


Find a writer who is not deeply perplexed by the world, from the perspective innately his.  In a world where people like clear answers, event he writer's profession, his work, his calling, his path is all a mystery to him, and yet he knows it's all there, away to an understanding deeper than conscious thought and rule of logic.  Thus there can be a soreness attached to his efforts, his steadfast perspective, his point of view.

About the restaurant business:  I'd long outgrown the desire to go to the bar open late after a shift.  The work was too hard anyway, you just wanted to get home with the energy you did have.  Oh, sure, there had been some stupid misled stuff early on in one's career, the convening of elders at the old Grog &Tankard, beer, avoidance of a shot of GM or Jamo, restaurant people, Tim and Daphne, Herb, Pedro, Tom...    But generally, the professional life, Generally, I'd eat a plate of dinner, at a thirty percent discount, at the bar by myself when I was nearing done, have a couple glasses of wine, usually all alone, or close to it, maybe listening to the chefs talk about food costs, service, specials, differences in the restaurant.  There could be long monologs, with some mysteries, ended by, "okay, I have to go," and I'd be left there still with things to do.  Maybe Pandora.  Bike home.  Have a last glass of wine, watch some TV, PBS, Weather Channel, History Channel, Vice Network, News, RT, NHK, On Demand, maybe a little YouTube, maybe play a little music myself, the long quieting down process, the therapeutic stuff, epsom salt bath, candle light by the Buddha statue, the quiet of night time.  The bar was a very studious business, after all, and really it required out of you a sort of Zen monk kind of a life, awakened by green tea whenever you could get up, listening until the water in the kettle on the stove sounded like wind through pines up on a mountain, steeping three minutes, also hot water with lemon, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, the green tea with a tablespoon of flaxseed, a burger patty, grass fed, iron skillet sear, into the oven, for breakfast, when the shift meal turned to chancy things, things I shouldn't eat, pasta, filling but detrimental.  And how did all the years go by?  Well, they did, honestly enough.

On the one hand, a huge amount of wasted time, on the other, attempts...  honest as anyone else's, a need for an MFA perhaps...

All along, the message, the story, the reality, was compassion, plain, bare, compassion, as long as I was a vessel of it.  We all are.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The sleepy eyed waiter is sitting hunched over his smart phone at a table-clothed table back against the left wall before the mural in the dark restaurant when I come in, and I have to run up and use the john, fresh from my half hour walk to work between downpours and lightning, talking to my lovely mom I miss so much on the phone, the guts doing their thing, no time to say hi to my friend.  A customary sight, a placid server looking at their laptop in leisurely mode, about to be done with a day shift.  Upstairs the wine bar has been left as standing from a difficult night of serving dinner in conditions of live jazz under a full moon, the trio bringing along a little white dog who various people get fixated with, one a woman who sits at the bar drinking white Burgundy on ice (a wonderful person to talk to at the end of the night with her beau, as I drink a light red, Beaujolais maybe, on the rocks myself, splash of soda), and then the couple who manage to walk out without paying their check as they got up from their table and mingled with the musicians as I brought out their dinners over in the couch set in the corner, slipping away, forgetfully, unintentionally, I'm sure, in town from California for a conference, ordering cocktails when wine is better...  My fellow server, distracted had three friends at the bar, going away for the summer, bought them dessert, a nice kid she is, while loose ends of the night's service floated and a cook sat for a drink, and a woman who habitually arrives late on jazz nights wanting a tasting of whatever wines I want her to taste arrives with a couple whose anniversary it is, the woman of the couple, hair long, a guitar with her, a Yamaha acoustic, a veteran of the Sixties folk music.  Can you take a picture with your iPhone and then send it to me?  I am fixing the dishwasher's time clock report, and running for more sparkling pink as she asks...


I start setting up for Tuesday night wine tasting.  Oaky, at least I got here ten minutes early.  The low teak tables are out of position, misaligned for the night's requirements.  The woman swept during the day.  None of them are set up.  The busboy from last night's joy told me before he left that there were silverware set-ups in all the table drawers, with a few exceptions, and a need for a general wipe of their tops and some with bread crumbs and a few sticky spots.   I have silverware to polish with a cloth napkin with a sprinkle of vodka, hot water for tea and coffee thermoses to fill, butter ramekins to ready with cut butter patties, napkins to prepare with silverware, and I begin to gather it's another night with no busboy, one two-top on the reservation books, great.  Mineral water to lug up from basement cage.  Grab a couple bottles of champagne, you never know....  Soda water six pack.  Downstairs busboy to plead with, hey man can you get me some ice, and he being generous remembers to bring the usual brown paper baker's bag of baguettes up just a few minutes before the front door opens.  All this in addition to the usual stocking, the fruit, the placement of wines in bins and cooler, the checklist.  And it all seems to take everyone by surprise.

There's good news.  Ron, our oldest steady long serving wine rep from the good company of the massive portfolio tastings that have Kermit Lynch wines, will be showing up for the wine tasting of the Carcassonne wines to help me out, not that Wine Tasting night here has anywhere the pull it used to, before 14th Street, before H Street and Barracks Row and City Center.  And very solid and supportive friends who've brought great practical help to me of late arrive, and the sharing of conversation is good, we all need a base.

It's a long night, and in the end one of our two officer retired colonel friends shows up and the second is going to meet him, as they are buddies in the end, and things to talk about bearing upon life in a therapeutic insightful way. At which point I too could use some therapy and sit at the bar with the new Cabernet Franc wine from Carcassonne, La Roque, and eat the reheated portion of calves liver I saved from last night in the cooler, drinking with them as they talk, of wives, pensions, male health issues, etc.

And when I arrive Wednesday it become evident from the dishwasher shouting at me down in the basement, "Yes, Sir, How are you, Sir," that there will be an alternate to the usual busboy.  (I do not appreciate loud greetings when I show up for a shift, generally speaking.)  Sleepy eyes joins me upstairs after I've been at it a good 14 minutes, to help set up for another Jazz Night.  He has a day job, and I cannot blame him.  The main thing, given his positioning, at the gate of the upstairs wine bar where I am behind the bar's mini fortress, is for him to get people seated, often enough the main battle of coping effectively with the older people frat party of live jazz in a restaurant's dining room.

At the end of the night he's putting the little plug in candles away, blocking the mouth of the bar, as the downstairs server, who's ready to go home after a slow night plants the night's last couple, ordering dinner late, and the couple is sat just a few minutes before their dinner arrives, and there it is, but everyone's clueless, and it takes the boss to say, standing at that crucial point at the top of the stairs, hey, serve the food!  I can't help being very irritated.  Boss looks at me, and I express my feelings and the need for traffic direction with my eyes.  And soon enough, as kitchen guys come up for their defacto shift drink continuum, the busser is no longer loud but reveals that he is in bad pain, in his arm, and able to use only one, and this is at a ridiculous late hour at which it is very hard to get dessert out of the kitchen for the last couple, thank you, coquettish server from Brittany who by now is home in Virginia, God willing.  So that's what's been up with him for the last hour or so...  Shoulda told me before you lugged the bottles from the recycling bin away in the thick plastic garbage bag down the stairs and out the back.  "I'll sweep up, man, get outta here..."  His face is tight.  Mysterious, or different of how he expresses himself, often good at it, now he is very quiet, and there is seomthing solemn and serious, deeply serious about everything he says, so here before me is another mode, another mode of a man who reads the Bible seriously.  He has to go back down to the basement to change out of clothes stylish for a server, let alone a busser, and in the end the tall Nigerian basketball player dishwasher in town for the summer and happy with the Lebron James outcome holds the door and his bicycle for him as a very muted form of himself leaves into the night for his journey home.  With one arm hurt, I am concerned about him biking home, via metro.  There is lots left to do, in an almost ugly way, and I will have to do it alone.


I wake up very tired the next day.  This schedule of work is hard, different, isolating a bit.  The closer who closes the restaurant every single time he works wondering whether this pool system that gives equal renumeration for day or night shift, bar or main, up or down, weekend or not, is something perhaps some people are allowed to play to their advantage without being cast into the late night, the long un-wind, the bad habits that foster their own continuation, to the discouragement of pursuit of other professional or volunteer activities.  The night wound down with viewing the PBS biography of George Plimpton 'starring himself,' having to turn away from the deep rough spot of the intimately encountered death of Robert Kennedy, too much to take alone at night, turn it off, find what Bear Grylls is up to.  What do I put into a shift?  What do I make happen? What do I clean up after, leaving the bar stocked, clean, in good shape, perhaps for not having much life elsewhere...

And to this end, the writing helps, it helps a lot.

How many times do I wake up feeling bad, feeling bad over interpretations of what might have or might not have happened years ago.  What bad influence got to the sweet student earnest kid, fostered in him an inappropriate reaction to the college he graduated from, all of this up for interpretation.  What happened to him, why did he become a writer, why did he not end up in the literary world of New York and Paris Reviews and Bob Giroux and so on...

But to such lonely thoughts, one remembers the inborn need to write, to sort out thoughts, to get out what is painful and wild and overgrown and imblended with weeds and poison ivy there at that level of forest floor where taller stories grow from...

I suppose this is why stories are necessary, hard to tell, long, very long, deciphered on an individual basis, Frodo escaping the dragon, symbolic, to survive, with help, and fight another day...

And there is something about this work, undertaken for perhaps the same reasons Mr. George Plimpton might have found for it, the engaging in of an activity, a job, a role, a physical duty, a societal position enmeshed in a pecking order, a team, a collection of humans, something to give you grist for the mill, and thereby some way to study or comment upon the nature of writing and literary arts.  Such that one day one hopes to have written enough about things, things in general, maybe like camping a night in the mist on a ridge with the managing partner of the restaurant, who did his national military service in the Alps, that you have enough to reflect upon, enough stashed remembered things, enough to feel like a writer.  And from that point, feel worthy as far as knowing something about the process.  Did the raw material matter?  Wasn't it all finally some form of yoga, Bhagavad Gita style.

Just that it takes, like the whale I like to write about, a lot of sifting, a lot of swimming, a lot of distance in oceans that would appear blank to those who do not swim.  Why write?  Why swim?  But what other interests and enthusiasms do I really have, but to cook, clean, have wine and keep afloat and room for friends, in an honest way.

Walking down in the woods, the stream running brown from the majestic downpour three days ago, down to where a young small beaver has found a starter dam by the pilings of the small pedestrian bridge over the creek near the parkway, where upon the woody detritus a large brown snake rests, its molted old translucent skin there like an empty sausage wrapper closer to its usual spot here, impressively long, walking slowly, shoulders still sagged from the personal burdens, I find a bit of fresh air.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Behind the bar there is the ice bin, and to the right of it, the bar's stainless steel workbench of three sinks.  Arriving, the wines are taken from the ice bin where they have sat overnight, and they are placed into two of the sinks.  To the far right I put the whites served by the glass in an orange Veuve Cliquot bucket which fits into the sink, four bottles open.  Into the middle sink, plugged simply with a champagne cork, I put the sparkling wines, the rosé, and the wines of the week, and any leftover.  If it is Tuesday night wine tasting, I rest unopened bottles down on their sides, plug that sink too, so that there will be enough in case customers ordered the discounted bottles of the white or rosé or sparkling on offer, last week a Jurançon sec.  The same process will happen if there is a private party back in the wine room, wines chosen, but how much will they need?  Once the bottles are in place I scoop out the ice that has sat in the ice bin, and pour it over the bottles in the sink compartments.  And then I pour hot water into the empty bin, give it a wipe and then another rinse.

Then I will turn to the cooler behind me, and take out the fruit tray and the juices in quart containers, placing bottles of mineral water, sparkling and flat for the night.  There is silver ware to ready, mis en place, the set-up, so things will be there when you reach for them, the clean knife, the escargot forks, the dessert spoons, the coffee spoons, the dinner fork to replace the one that falls on the floor with a clank.  The red wines served by the glass are on top of the cooler, foil cut for the first two in the five bottle row of the six on offer.  There are three back-up of each wine back in the corner beyond the stove and the cutting board in the busboy station, the recycling bin, and above, the shelves with wines laid on their sides, popular ones from the longer list of wines by the bottle.

After four nights of it, closing, the writer part of the barman has kind of lost it.  It is strange, dusting one's self off, putting away that crucial business of what he does for a living, rent, health insurance, food.  What is there to write anyway?  Awkwardness.  Too many thoughts to sort out from that lost Liberal Arts realm.

The words of the therapist held fast in the mind from early in the week, "I wouldn't want to talk to someone who'd said that to me either."  "Leave her alone!"  Okay.  I will.


The day off comes.  And from being surrounded by people to interact with, then we go to shyness, quiet.


Work seems like some form of self-codependent lie, a masquerade...

Is this why attempts at higher communication, in Shakespeare, usually end in tragedy?  Are such things as words and love meant only for the old campus?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

And that is the thing.  The law of the Universe is such, the departing, the distancing of galaxies from themselves.  Beethoven must have been famous for being private, and Mahler, echoing that...  Not that this essaying here is trying to sound smart.  The thing is privacy, the space free from outside question, the space from where creativity comes.  Yes, almost a cliche.  But that it's true.

Emily knew it.  Her departure from the rest, her sensitivity to the cosmos, her little witnesses in plants and bird chirps.   Indian pipe.  The divergence of species.  The bee is different from the butterfly.  The iris is not the larch.  Her natural instinct to seek the most private of spaces, confidences with little nieces.

The obscurity of the creative process.  Shane MacGowan's process is unknown to James Fearnley, the songwriter a crazed hooligan to the accordionist of the Pogues in memoir form of Here Comes Everybody.

You can't share.  You don't want interruption.  The mood comes, you try it, you finish a sketch, do a few more, losing energy.  That it all piles up, builds on itself is good, but in the meantime, there is rawness, a sense of adolescence, which perhaps is inevitable, one way or another, seen or unseen, it's up the personal choice of an artist, do you want to paint the hungered saltimbanques in all their thusness and all their sadness and emotion misery, or do you want to put yourself out there, Guernica, or some other way to say it.

That's the thing,  Creativity?  You want privacy.

A sensitive father, even though a different blood type, lets a son create in his own privacy, hard as that must be, very hard.

Everything pulls away from everything else.  This is the law,  The law of dark matter, and energy, and at the center of every galaxy, a black hole spinning things in, as if a balancing energy to that Big Bang which set everything into this suchness.  At the very center.

The tragic black hole at the center holds us in orbit to each other
in the black blank space, fixtures of our night's sky
to look up at or out to in the great distance,
compelled to a point for lack of action,
not lack of potential of love.

And the flesh that lumbers on unknowingly, with some increasing great self-confidence, some vision, those can be the foolish of people, the less than wise.  The ones who can call the artist's sketch the work of a blithering idiot.