Monday, June 28, 2010

That Band Down There

M. and I go see the girls play whenever we get the chance. We call them the girls even though F. and his battered Martin stand front and center when they play their magic. But those girls, man. Up there in all that young and pretty and pick-your-jaw-off-the-floor-Mister talent. LM has more young than the rest. She was only 15 when M. first found them playing for tips down there. Carried herself real mature and professional though and even then you'd have sworn she was every bit of 20 at least. The kind of girl that'd make you sympathetic to the ways of Appalachia. Ol' M. looked crestfallen and snake bit when he learned her real age. I laughed at him. We all did. LM is a fiddle player is what she is. Me, I fell hard as a diamond for S., the dark-haired beauty on mandolin. Ethereal is what she was and is. She carries that mandolin slung low below her waist and wears it all out effortless like she was Keith Richards or somebody. AD over there on the right's on fiddle too and she's as good as LM and probably better. She's crazy as bat shit too and the kind of fun you wish you could be even once in your life. Sometimes her short hair is blue or pink but usually California blonde. She's got a real high voice that should be annoying but isn't. It'll make you smile if you are given to smiles. And F. He's a little guy. Wild all over hair and bears more than a pass at a young Charles Manson. The boy can play. He looks three quarters fucked up up there, grinning crazy or lost behind heavy-lidded eyes or white sunglasses. But he won't pass by you during break that he won't smile or stop and talk if he must. He's got some shy to him but he steps around it, always, for the band and fans. And he's Kind, like you wish folks could be. So kind it makes you want to do better yourself. Did I tell you the boy can play? Yes. M. and I don't talk much when we go down there. But about 33 times a night we'll turn and grin like simpletons at each other over a special lick or note or jam or whatever. It doesn't seem possible, even years later, that a band could be so tight and right--family or no. So we drink bottle beer and listen and grin and move our feet to the music. Wishing it would never stop.

The New Bartender

The new bartender with the raven hair, unfortunate make-up, and heavenly large backside can cradle six beer bottles in the crook of one arm and pop the tops in machine gun fashion with the other. It is a fine show and makes you want to order six beers just to see it again.

You don't fawn over her as the other patrons do. But you appreciate her and reflect it in her tip. She doesn't give a good pour like your regular bartender but that's o.k. She just doesn't know you yet.

Still, you'd like a long pour. But that's o.k.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Poison Ivy

You scourge. You stealthy fuck with your scarring eyes and hurt finding me each summer. No matter how defensive, how proactive I am, you find me. Snaking your whispered tongue up and down my arms, my ankles and knees. Sometimes you kiss even my cheek you foul uninvited lover. You scar and scale and swell my flesh. The wonderful agony you inflict. My forearms you make grotesque, textured now like turtle skin and red with rage. To not react is agony. To scratch is orgasmic and then agony. Ugly new armor weeping and sticky as my nails scrape furiously over what you've wrought. And shower water near scalding makes me cry out near ecstasy as it slaps at the caked leather of my arms. I look and feel like a burn victim. Goddamn you, you hateful bitch. Goddamn you. I am powerless and so scratch and scratch, making worse what is almost unbearable.

And when finally you have run your cruel course, inflicted all the hurt you can, I will miss you. Under the sweet and perverse cover of night, I will miss you.

June Bugs

Those little beige or brown bastards drunk on late spring night air dive-bombing you on the porch when you try to read or write and smoke and drink. Slow and dumb and drunk like maybe little insect cows coming around to fuck with you while not even really being aware of you. All haphazard and zagging drawn by the porch light you call your friend and hitting your cheek or head with a thump. And when you slap them out of the middling space with a notebook or open hand, they lay still as dead where they fall but sometimes stagger down the front steps. And then more come to party at the light, cutting the air in side to side or up and down crossings to assault your person and impatience. Sometimes they sound like incoming choppers and remind you of old MASH episodes. And other times you read your book or magazine piece and catch a close-up sideways glance at one of those little fuckers perched on your shoulder like a pirate's parrot or some goddamned thing. And you cuss and holler and flail at yourself like maybe you've been too long away from drink. And even though you aren't the self-conscious type, you hope the neighbors aren't watching through the slats of their blinds.

And sometimes when you visit the porch in daylight to pick up your books or papers or empties you see leftover willow-wisp wings on the mottled ground where those goddamned June bugs last lay when you slapped them out of the crowded space between you and solitude. You sweep with the thrust of an old broom those willow-wisps and wonder why are there only wings and not the whole stupid drunk dead beetle cousins. Did maybe a bird or cat or some other thing take the rest of them away during those quick hours before sunrise? Did maybe the ugly drunk flying things walk away from the waning pulse of their wings? Wander into the yard?

And who cares really where their stilled corpses lit? Bastards. Dive-bombing you. Making you look and feel like a fool alone on your porch at night. The neighbors probably watching and laughing at the silent cursing man, his arms in a seizure of pretend calm, defenseless against the night terrors he knows too intimate.