30DEC06 – Sometimes a hundred thousand volumes of deep cosmic wisdom aren’t enough. And sometimes, one word is too much. Regardless, I write, seated tonight at the far end of the bar at the Alaskan, right next to what used to be the coke room. Once upon a decade, a man could sit in seclusion at a rickety table in that comfy little closet of a room, and talk things over with the White Bitch for as long as he could afford her time.
I pause, listening to some rather deep and meaningful music and examine the weary fixtures of the place. Even the shadows on the far wall are mismatched, confused as to where their loyalties lie. Should they suck up to the overhead lanterns, choked full of old cigarette smoke and the laughter of false women? Or the pale pearl light as it sneaks in under the door on this grey evening at the end of another year?
In addition to my coffee, I’ve got an idea, a thought, sitting very deer-like in the crosshairs of my loaded mind, wondering if I’ve seen it yet. It’s a strange feeling running through me, like something wonderful is about to happen. Well, aside from the things that are always happening, the things that never stop happening, and the things that will never happen. (Which, if you think of it, is just another way of saying that those things happen anyway.)
So I sit here with my wine (red), my coffee (black), the music (loud), and my mind (open), waiting for something inside me to break loose and float free, some morsel of momentum to move through my body until it reaches my fingers and propels them to speak, plucking and plinking at them like the tines in a player piano.
I’ve also got a half-finished notebook in front of me, a reliable pen, a tender stack of ones and the bartender’s favoring gaze. So for one holy moment, this is all I need. I turn my face to the lanterns again, gazing through the smoke and the rafters, up and out, imploring the very stars to halt, asking the gears of the Blessed Machine to linger for just a moments more. But you can be sure and certain these moments will eventually fade like pictures on the wall, as they have for all the people who’ve lived and breathed and laughed before me. Even holy moments end. They die and become ghosts, mingling freely with the rivers of time. Eventually, all memories become something to be questioned.
The future is coming, and change rides with it. (Remember, it’s nothing personal.)