January 30, 2011

Big old hearts

My horizon view's framed by coyote fur as I stop, fall behind, to watch the sun rise Sunday afternoon.

It lights me up again and again, always the best I've ever seen. Harps play in my head -- everybody's part of my cartoon. They're all characters worth seeing through, I know, and creativity might thrive in tragedy but this is just what's true now.

All I want to be is here.

January 22, 2011

Sweet darlin'

I linger by the doorway when the lights snap on, none too eager to poach another pink lipstick-stained cigarette and pretend not to see the fierce hunger in the smudged smile of she who offers.

Soon a rush of revellers will be upon me. Look at them, far off, laughing so slow like they don't any of them have children at home. I'd rather not just stand here, zipped up, gloves on, conspicuous by being alone. But for now it's better than going out there. Even if - especially if - there's someone waiting for me, as usual. Cold, cold, cold.

In the corner of my eye there's that unmistakable ball-cap-molded gleam of white hair heading toward me. He's put down his acoustic guitar, wiped stage-light sweat from his forehead and now wastes no time making for the exit, just as I imagine he's done at the end of every night his band's played here. Till 2 a.m. five nights a week for five weeks, off and on. The same loved songs over and over, even through the occasional bar fight. Just like the Titanic's band.

I call up a tone of sobered earnestness to catch him just in time, mid-stride, door ajar. He turns his lined but pleasant face to me, eyes expectant through gold-rimmed glasses.

"Louie," I say. "Thank you for your music."

It comes out drunk. But I need him to hear it. To understand what hearing him means to me.

"You're welcome." He replies without missing a beat and with no hint of a smile.

"You go straight home now, you hear?"

After the door slams shut behind him I snicker to myself. No, he doesn't understand. How could he know?

Just how many goodbyes I've given during his sets of country-song-singing before the leaving ones even realized they had to go.