It starts off with a trickle. A door opens .The people don’t yet know they’ve been invited in. With time they begin to appear out of the mist. One by one or sometimes in pairs the curiosity seekers find their way in, come to sit by candlelight.
We start off with an etymology lesson. Resurrection of languages unheard these many hundred years.
Then a man whose only problem is he plays too many instruments too well. Suddenly we are transported out of Galicia circa ages ago to some dingy roadside diner on a highway without a name or number. All us curiosity seekers become sad-eyed lonesome lovers looking for strangers to share our miseries with. We are dashing as fast as we can towards redemption under some long forgotten bridge, coal smoke billowing from endless chimneys behind us.
We slow as we approach the bridge to catch our breath a little. He takes the girl he loved by the hand and offers her a sip of whiskey. Throws a blanket down under the one gold leafed tree planted in that vast expanse of gravel.
We sit until we stop heaving. Stop tossing inwards like burnt stars. We are happy, riotous even. Sitting here tapping our toes. A spiteful kind of hope.
It is amazing how a voice can fill a room, change the air. ”Two sad ones in a row” he warns us. We brace, each one, for tumbling melancholy. Benevolently, we are left with one last rollicking good time. We are racing back to that bridge again just to feel the air in our lungs, just to feel our legs stretch – sheer lust of adventure.
Enter the poets. This is, after all, a room for story tellers. A place to share genuine bootlegged mythology normally stored in newspapers to keep it from scratching, keep dust out of the grooves so you can hear the warm crackle of heartbreak months later, decades, good to eat a thousand years.
Together we recollect dances danced miles away from anywhere, where the flick of some nameless beauty’s wrist rings out in eternity.
It gets dark then. Dream space. Ominous illusions to shit and piss and sex acts you wouldn’t dare euphemize with your mother around. We all have our fevered hash-cloud dreams of Morocco.
We are brought back to the old town. Nowheresville that could be anywhere. Still dreaming, still hopeful, still determined as gravel to hold the shape our bones make against the endless roll of gravity.
Sad songs, but we’ve come to love the lush progression of melancholy. It is a cold night outside these walls. We remember but are protected. Wishing and wishing on starts and stars and stars and falling leaves. If ever there was a voice for telling stories it’s his that sounds like gravel, all that centrifugal force flying in the face of gravity.
We dream and soar and dream and soar. The song doesn’t care, it soars too. And since were flying why not flip the bird at all those clueless cruelties below. Let’s trail a big red banner that says something clever, something true enough to draw blood and laughter from the crowd we’ve gathered. All it takes is one uplifted face, one hand pointing.
Re-enter the poets. They are trailing healthy skeptics and some admittedly sickly looking soldiers twirling guns. These are all true stories. Only the poets remain happily unmoved. Still as stoics but (I’m told by an actuary) ten times as likely to react to pain.
Slowly the uninterested I’ve been fabricating trickle back in again. I want to build an island with this poet, just we two plus pets and loved ones. We will colonize the pacific garbage patch. A free verse anthem will be written anew and sung daily by the ghosts of boy scouts past. The unidentified human animal clutching the catfish in the front row can come too. Together we can abolish benevolent cotton, punch another hole in the earth, tell more true stories by candlelight or otherwise.
There are two kinds of sky: the word sky and the song sky. One is made of clouds and the other is just an illusion protecting our brains from the explosion-inducing reality of unadulterated eternity. I cannot guess which is which.
We anticipate the accordion player. When I am surrounded by old folk songs I want to be an astronaut a thousand years in the future hearing these sounds perfectly preserved in time and space.
It is amazing how a voice can fill a room, how faces concentrate in candlelight, in repose, rapt and glowing or mid chat flickering like old film strips of conversation recorded without sound.
Technical difficulties notwithstanding, before the wires got crossed there was a son and his father. Singing together for the hell of it, for our enjoyment, for the first time in too long. “We are only young for a little while” he says. And technical difficulties notwithstanding, we can always save our days for night time. Drink while we’ve still got out livers. Here we go, and we do, another true story.
Walking around an old city flights and flights from here. Gathering fictions, getting the details just right like the light in this bar, while that crunching gravel voice paints in the angles.
This is an entirely different room. Most of the candles have gone out now. Everyone has come to listen and be moved. These are new songs and now our ears are new, having drunk until their bellies filled then drunk some more. A giant holy wail of a song.
“A little less epic but no less sentimental’ she says.
Again I am in the presence of something bigger than myself: The Professionals, who are a different kind of big than the crush I had on the girl who opened for them. With that flush still fresh on my cheeks They say “a lot of trendy bohemian poltergeists in here” but I am too keyed up to learn a damn thing.
We press on after a moment of mustache fright. Even without candlelight there are still glowing faces. A whole slew of wide eyed lovers, curiosity seekers. We have all trickled into this room. Our hearts are waltzing through a marble foyer while the party rages behind heavy doors. Our hearts are waltzing while the prohibitionists bang down the heavy doors of the party. We escape unscathed riotously recounting a story of near misses.
I want to be so much more than this mustache, though it tickles my nose so tenderly. Suddenly I know you are going to hear this, all of you assembled in this room. I want to collect these rooms, use beautiful sounds to make them shimmer, bring them back all wrapped in this mustache and offer them up like a gift. For all who widened their eyes in search of curiosities.
First the piano strolls around like it owns the place. The troubadour weaves his magic over our illuminated faces. His song shuffle-ball-changes, half moon half crazy. Don’t we all have a little more than a little fight in us some times? “The angrier we get, the funnier we must become” The Troubadour tells us.
The set changes, and the crowd, and the mood too. Two musical children of musical parents conjure flames. They are floating around the chandeliers of this room, and we float too, ready as ever for something completely new.