21MAR2012 – Sitting in the Crown Inn on the first good night of the year…

Bought a salad from the former tattoo parlor across the street and a left-hand stout when I walked in the door.  Something old and folksy on the radio lasted an hour.  Now I’m looking up at the bottles behind the bar as markers along the road, remembering.

(I know drink is slow poison, but for now it’s the only game in town.)

Bottles in no specific order: Crown Royal (when mixed with ginger ale) makes me think of Angela, my former roommate in D.C. Great girl. Took me to my first Nick Cave concert, had a hand in my discovering Clutch and Admiral Browning, and turned me onto The Flaming Lips.

Those bottles of Jameson’s and Maker’s Mark represent time spent in S.I.N.F.U.L. partying with Mike Lutz, and the seven-hour loop of time that is Murphy’s Irish on King Street in Alexandria.

There’s  Jim Beam, my first drink at the age of 13.  The sticky sweet darkness still reminds me of graveyard sex with a certain Scottish art school student I dated for years.  (As the music switches to T-Rex, I can still see her brown leather jacket, her wild smile and her paint-splashed Doc Marten’s just as clear as if she were sitting next to me…)  

That bottle of Grey Goose reminds me of the Sarah Connor to my then-Kyle Reese — the mother of our John Connor… a lot of time, a lot of words.

That bottle of red wine  takes me back to one very special night on a beach in Chincoteague, where the horses roam and heartfelt words flow off into the pounding surf, but even the best nights have to end eventually…

(Bottles of white will now and forever remind me of turning everything inside out and this-way-round whilst seated across from Ms. Fuller.  Cats pace the room.  Share the Mac power.)

Radio plays Lou Reed’s ‘Satelite of Love’, and I can hear people all around me murmuring along.  Lou owned this town while he had the chance, back New York was just as filthy on the outside and surviving here meant you’d really accomplished something.  It’s a playground anymore, but I suppose it’s better that way now.

The moment feels precise, like the pads of fingertips touching, as if this somehow communicates the closeness in the room and emotions I’m no longer in touch with.  Something between a hypodermic and a fountain pen… drinking is my Brigadoon.  Light rising and falling across the page of my notebook with the flicker of the candle at my elbow.  At the sound of the tone, the time will be 8:30 p.m., 1,000 years ago…

The Crown fills up eventually but it’s the memories that drive me from the bar. I feel overcrowded now, as though I were buying the next round for a cast of thousands.  Note to self: re-read Lester Bangs’ memoirs of his NYC time.  

First there is a mountain,

then there is no mountain,

then there is

08APR2012 –

“San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something.  Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world.  Whatever it meant…” – Hunter S. Thompson

Been a wild few weeks.  There was a lot of uncertain noise and rumors about a possible transfer and a promotion, which, after a bit of gamboling about has finally settled into fact.  Apparently I’ve kicked a sufficient amount of ass in the game of NYC to earn an extra life: I’m being transferred to San Francisco later this summer.

I’ve been Google Earth-ing/Craigslist-ing the shit out of the Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda areas, looking for a place close enough to let me bike to work.  A new rail system to memorize, new sights to see, new memories to remember, and new logistics to sort.

Finished my second trip to Newfoundland on Thursday, returning to Brooklyn just in time to turn 41.  Headed back up on Wednesday for the at-sea wreath-laying over the site of the Titanic. We’ll fly 375 NM SE of St. John’s, open the tail of a C-130 and deploy out a stack of wreaths in memory of those who lost their lives a century ago, effectively turning the page on this chapter in history.

Finish one assignment, move on to the next.

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