The Tavern: Is It Safe?

Is it okay to drink and not feel like you’ve committed a crime these days? Is it me or are the local drunks going the way of the hobo? I used to enjoy drinking when it was more of a guy thing before the amateurs took over. The local bar isn’t dead, but it has had an image overhaul. It’s not as rough around the edges as in days gone by. Some folks spend hours in bars and drink little to no alcohol. What’s the deal?

Back in the olden days twenty or thirty years ago, the bar was our safe space, a refuge of smokes and nicotined bar mirrors staring back at us. Us being drunks, the casual blue-collar type. It was a place to duck into to check yourself or lose yourself depending on the time or day of the week. I could spend hours catching up with misanthropes or mill workers, retired postal workers or lounging musicians.

I’m starting to think the fun has drifted away. When did it end? Is there a year? A decade? The ’80s? Did MADD kill the romanticism along with bringing us the unconstitutional traffic stops?

Local bars always rank higher on my to-do list. Give me the cheap shots of booze for the afternoon buzz. A bee in my bonnet, whirling away the day. Tommy James and Mouth and McNeal on the jukebox in the corner next to a cigarette machine with way too many options – Lucky Strikes and Chesterfield(!). Easy women playing hard to get like bad actresses auditioning on a smoky, Bukowski-esque stage. The smoke. I’ll be obliged to take some of it home for the washer and to remind myself that I once carried the smell on my own as a suit of armor, my chainmail made from interlocking smoke rings. My proof of appearance, or disappearance, into the hazy dream of the local establishment. Proof that I played my part like a pro, the part of the happy-houred millworker freshened up by stale pretzels and Calvert. The Marlboro Man minus the open range, preferring instead the horseshit-babble from the mouths of babes and stoned softball players. The Babble of Avalon, the Babylonian. Drunk on his own pseudo-leather saddle stool.

Trump Presser

trump-presser

I watched Trump’s presser. When I say watch I mean I watched much of it. Not all but some. I watched some. Maybe 40 minutes. Maybe. Maybe less, maybe more. It went on for awhile. Not all day but for a long time. It wasn’t very very long. But it was, as press conferences go, a kinda long press conference. He talked. He talked a lot. He talked about a lot of issues. Many, many, I say, many issues. Some good, some bad. Not all bad. Maybe mostly bad. He started by saying he wanted to announce a few things. Just a few. More perhaps. More. And then some questions. But nice questions. Nice people questions from good reporters. Nice reporters. Not all reporters but some. They won’t all be nice or professional. They should be. They can be. Maybe they will. We’ll see. Be professional that is. We’ll see about that. I can tell you they can be sometimes. They can. I’ve seen it. Melania has seen it. The kids. All the kids. Not all. Most sometimes. Perhaps. Professional reporters ask professional questions. Ask them. They’ll tell you. Most of them will. Most. Donnie Most. Donnie Most was on Happy Days. Most of the time. Not all the time. Most. Fonzie. Fonzie and Donnie. Mostly Fonzie. Fonzie asks professional questions. Ask him. He’ll tell you. And the grandkids. The grandkids will tell you. They love Fonzie. And Donnie. Or Donald. So. And we know good questions. We know some. Some bad, some good. Some in the middle. Sum it all up. I’m summing it all up. I’m a summer. I sum. I’m summing.

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Tern Away

I get to the beach a lot throughout the year, and I’ve taken an interest in identifying different species. Some species are year-round on the coastal sands while others seek warmer temperatures in the winter and head to Florida or wherever. It never seems to fail that for every season tern, tern, tern. There is a reason tern, tern, tern.

Looking Up

hunters-moon                                                                             A Snow Moon, a lunar eclipse, and a comet are all appearing tonight. Stargazers in ecstasy. The neighborhood dogs are barking, one of them in mid-leak. The ducks have ducked into the darkness. The cats have also vanished, even the black ones. Where are they? In my woods? Fishing in my black-pearl pond? The earth has stopped spinning to get a look at its runt cousin. My smartphone camera takes stupid pictures of the harsh mistress.

Wyoming Knott and Professor Bernardo de la Paz are tied in knots, restrained by Heinlein nursing a Heineken. They crater lunarly in the wheel in the sky, imprisoned in the misty halo. MF

Long walks at night– / That’s what’s good for the soul: / peeking into windows / watching tired housewives / trying to fight off / their beer-maddened husbands. “And the moon and the stars and the world” Charles Bukowski.

 

Vodka Dreams

red-square-1

I guess they’re waiting, aren’t they? Waiting for some vehicle, some magic ship or bus or plane to come and take them away. The great diaspora of the 21st century. Maybe not. Maybe they know better. “Who would want us?” they wonder.

It’s hard to get a good read on the Russians. Always has been. Sipping their vodka-flavored Chinese tea in the second-rate, 1980s-style carryover cafes. Nothing says boredom like the out of work Russian mill worker, the industrial byproduct of a bygone era.

I’m not sure if I’m more worried about their government’s latest military venture into Syria or about the powderkeg of nonplussed citizenry waiting for the return of Red October to transport them back to the proud days of waiting in line for toilet paper.

I’m  reminded of the voices varied and absolute:

“Russia…they’ve wiped their feet with it. Anyone who wants to can smack her in the face. They’ve turned it into a Western junkyard full of worn-out rags and expired medicine. Garbage [Obscenities.] A trough full of raw materials, a natural gas tap. The Soviet regime? It wasn’t ideal, but it was better than what we have today.” Interview in Red Square, December 1991. Secondhand Time, Svetlana Alexievich

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia  forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Ronald Reagan

“They’re professionals at this in Russia, so no matter how many Jell-O shots or Jager shooters you might have downed at college mixers, no matter how good a drinker you might think you are, don’t forget that the Russians – any Russian – can drink you under the table.”
― Anthony Bourdain, A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
―Abraham Lincoln,  Lincoln Letters

“The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia.”
― Otto von Bismarck

 

Ain’t Life Strange

“Ain’t life strange / ain’t it funny / nothing matters much but love and money…cigarettes make the sun come up / whiskey makes the sun go down / and in between you do a lot of standin’ around…she wrapped it all in darkness / and I can’t find my way…I’m just another man / with an empty-handed heart / in an empty-hearted town…shoulda done / shoulda done / that’s my song…” WZ

Imbibing in alcohol is an illegal procedure when you have nothing more to say…shark bait for dark seas made for poetry on moonless nights.

My last meaningful word was in a bar…will be in a bar. With my harried history I will make the interstellar deadline when the time comes. I’ll have calculated my straight-lining for the unreal real estate in the undiscovered country. I’ll have the grain-like appearance in a full metal jacket of flasks and patented axes. Bladed in the fold of the knife, my senses sharpened by an illegal substance. Polarized by amassed options, I’ll brood for a day or so. Mood on the word in the saloon. Moon over the last meaningful syllable from a second-rate drunk. I’ll net work. I’ll scroll the nets and wind up in the last catch. Belly up like bad business. Winded.