Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Restlessness That's In Me

Later than I would have liked I realized there was no chicken.

There's always gotta be chicken in the refrigerator because the dog has special dietary needs, and chicken's one of them. It's too much of a nuisance to wake up in the morning, walk her, and still find time to get ready for work, to cook and separate chicken. I can't do it. So last night, later than I would have liked, I got dressed and went out to buy the dog's chicken.

I recently added Richard Hawley's Coles Corner to my iPod. The air was cooling to that perfct pitch. It's a terrific record anytime, but played in those pivotal hours between seasons it becomes Mahlerian--an auburn punctuation jutting out over nature like a diving board or the chrome fenders of the 1950's .

Also, it's true, and perhaps universal, if subtle enough to have gone largely undetected over the ages, that cities and ex-girlfriends are at their most beautiful the last time you see them.
It's as though you're all of a sudden up and aware of things.

As for this city, a storm might have erupted last night, but it didn't. For a while the winds ran, and the lowest places in the sky, right where they met the trees and rooflines, were full of defining color (Wassily Kandinsky called blue "the religious color"). Best of all was how uncannily empty the streets were, not just of people but of all sound. A cryptic young man at a bus stop solicited me for either drugs or sex--not totally sure which. He seemed nice enough, so I just told him I wasn't into it and left him there. Not another human soul for the rest of the evening.

Coles Corner was written about a place in Hawley's Sheffield, where everybody met, and where everybody's parents met, and their parents, and their parents. He seems to be always merging the soil and loveliness of the city with the descending love that keeps happening there. Many of his songs have the depth of the Romantic poets, whose works must have cued him and fostered that eternal quality.

In listening I was reminded of things I hadn't thought of in twenty years; I could feel my pores opening up. I thought about my cousin, Tammy, showing us the man with an erection hidden in the camel on a pack of cigarettes. The marred toy figure head that always lead me to momentary plots to switch it out with another boy's. I resisted, but carried the compulsion for what then seemed like ages. And so on.

This isn't exactly a record review--one, because of the age of Coles Corner, and two, the obvious fact that I'm distracted, I'll leave it there. Perhaps it's best to add that there's a ton of great Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Roy Orbison manly lonesomeness. Oh and a towering symphonic presence. Maybe a little self-pitying Sinatra too, which is nice. What I meant to talk about was the night, which, forgive me for misleading you up til now, seems out of my reach just now.

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