Daily Archives: June 14, 2004

A Different Kind of Shore

When one looks out past
the breaking waves at ocean’s end
those across the sea

seem much less remote
connected by this expanse
of constant movement.

Away from the sea
In a great endless valley,
peering at the edge

of the horizon
where the sky and land connect
the mountains rise

dark blue and somber;
they separate more clearly
expanse on both sides.

Yet the more finite
space of the wide sprawling plain
is not the desert

hugeness of the sea,
it does not shift and not shift
change without changing

it just dries to dust
and then turns again to green
is lost in deep snow

and each spring flowers;
the ocean’s chameleon
greens, grays, blacks and blues

breed deeper hungers,
suckle darker fears and dreams
and know their own gods.

religions are born
of the deserts and the seas —
seeking to fathom

the underlying
pulse that moves without travel
swallows with no trace.

14 JUN 2004

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A Study In Contrasts

Presented for your consideration, two parts of an otherwise normal weekend, filled with taxiing teenage daughters, reading online journals, laundry, pondering work (yes, I am a closet workaholic), sleep (a necessity after the grueling workweek of endless conference calls and quality assurance “light” reading of things like Software Management Plans and 500-line Gantt charts), cooking, light cleaning and grocery shopping.

The first part was a trip to The Spider’s Web bar a few short blocks from my house. The occasion was the birthday of an online friend of mine, bigrob, who I had previously never met. It was a great time, although truth be told I should not be drinking in public (LOL). It was loud, the jukebox featured a great variety of Music, and the bartender, Amber was terrific. The conversation ranged from Music (Rob’s roommate is a songwriter as am I, and Rob and he are both Musicians) to literature and politics. I even played some pool after an abstinence from that sport for almost a decade. I woke the next morning feeling old, hung over and somewhat anachronistic, however. So much of my life has been spent in bars discussing, playing and evaluating Music. I was not accompanied by stardances, my wonderful mate, on this occasion. To be honest, I have to say that probably the volume alone made this place, although kitschy cool in its way, not really that much my scene. That, and the preponderance of single people on average 10 to 15 years younger. An interesting adventure, nonetheless, and probably one that I would repeat. But I felt like I had to work really hard to do something — although I couldn’t exactly tell you what that was.

The second part, however, on its surface seems much more mundane. Our new neighbor (of about four months) invited Star and I over for wine and barbeque in his newly organized and re-gardened backyard. He is 59, and has traveled a great deal and recently moved back down to New Orleans from Vermont to teach. There was no Music. The conversation was quiet, although animated and lively, and incorporated travel, family, ancestry, hippy remembrances and other topics of intellectual bent. The wine was excellent. The food was exquisite. One realizes, after hosting many a party, that the key element to being at home in another person’s house is whether or not they are an able chef. That, and being comfortable finding and using the bathroom. I think both Star, I and our neighbor agreed that the evening was the most enjoyable we each had spent in a great while. It’s nice to simply converse with others, as equals, without the pressures of proving oneself. It is refreshing and relaxing. I woke the next morning feeling peaceful, intelligent and part of a community. I appreciated Star for the same reasons that I have always appreciated her — her life experience, humor, intelligence, insight, passion and creativity. And I felt appreciated in the same way.

Perhaps I’m just getting old. Star and I are going to see Patti Smith tomorrow night at the House of Blues here in New Orleans. That we both know who Patti Smith is (and have known, for a long, long time) is important. Because we are not just hippies. We are both old punks. Hell, I’m even an old Goth (I remember where I was when Bauhaus broke up). I think now, however, we realize that at least Musically, and probably in many other ways, that volume is not a substitute for or expression of power.

Or something like that.

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