Saturday, July 13, 2013

Always good to see the circle grow


Danielle and I are hard at work. trying to finish up a rough week. Sergeant Keith comes in, looking downcast. He’s received bad medical new. His story is his to tell, but he talks about the difference in facing an enemy in battle and one inside yourself. I tell him just as he has rallied troops in the field to defend the line, he’s got to rally those troops inside of himself to defend, cast out the enemy. He talks of his daughters back in Texas, how he wants to see them again. Then he looks up at me, For the first time I feel old.
How old are you?
63 (Just like me...)
You’re not old, Keith. You’re not old.

We’ve got to find him a real place to stay. In the meantime, he promised to get the steps back under control.

One of the Ethel violinists comes in looking for misplaced sheet music. We search the balcony. No luck.

The prophet is sitting in the steps. Dressed in normal clothes. It’s still hot.

RL and I get the chapel set up for Open Mic night. Then he goes up to his studio to rest. I walk by at 7, half expecting an empty house. But much to surprise, the house is filling. 

Some new folks. In addition to the regulars, there’s RL’s lawyer Michael. A young man from Montreal with a Quebecois accent named Eli who plays a decent classical guitar with his own creations. A young African-American comedian named Koshen who usually works Long Island City. Another old P&G regular, here for the first time. And a half dozen or so new audience members including Sergeant Keith.

Mandola Joe is doing an Irish set tonight in honor of orange days over there. He plays an orange song, a green one and one mixed. Our real Irish guy Pat gives us some Loudon Wainwright, McGarrigle sisters and Jackson Brown.

Koshen works his set
Koshen’s situation reminds me of the scene of the  Blues Brothers in the Country-Western bar. I can see hm reworking his material, trying to rework his set. I admire the craft work of comics, writing down their observations, trying to spin them into  a tale or joken or just ironic conclusion. Koshen comments on needing to practice working clean.... just in case he might make it someday and have to be on tv or something. 

When I get up to play, I offer him props for a brave go. He’s got a good spirit. 
RL finishes with his Stay awhile, after telling its story. He doe not want it to become his signature closing song. But the crowd does love to sing along. 

People talking about how they love the place. For me, the postwar Berlin, viejo Havana and pre-gentrified Brooklyn ambiance is growing old. No longer ruined romance. Just tired as I feel. 

It’s officially over but a bit of a jam continues led off by Eli. He’s only been in the city some 30 hours. Found us online. Later, completely by chance, he finds several of us at Mc Aleer’s where poet Tim tends bar. Mac’s not only an Irish bar but also a cop bar as in NYPD Blue. Eli finds us. Feels he’s found a welcome in New York. Before he takes off for Jacksonville ala a character in an RL song. Always good to see the circle grow. 

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