The Music Book – an excerpt – Chapter 4

The Music BookHere is the next installment in our series of excerpts from The Music Book. We hope that you’ll consider purchasing the it and/or the CD to support local writers and musicians.

The Music Book is available at Barnes & Noble stores in the Seattle area, at Elliott Bay Book Company in Capital Hill, and on Amazon. The Music Book CD is a benefit for the Wishlist Foundation.


Chapter 4

At home, I have the Young Evils CD in hand and their set from last night still fresh in my mind, but I place the disc on my desk without even opening it. I rather have the idea running through my brain that memory is like a poem. It isn’t a story with the whole plot and all the subplots and minutia. It’s just moments, expressions, only some details, a few of them exaggerated and embellished, maybe even made up, others perhaps forgotten. It’s free from rhyme and the constraints of form but a poem nonetheless, and here nearing four in the morning, I am reminded of a night a couple weeks ago on which I went to a bar called the Little Red Hen up by Greenlake. I’m not much given for country music, but a co-worker had told me that it’s easy to meet women there. “All you have to do is ask one to dance. They’re just waiting for it. Ask a few women and you’re bound to meet someone you can talk to, and then, well, it’s just a matter of talking.” I went there on a Friday night seeking something, someone, no one in particular, just someone, but sitting here now alone, it seems a fragmentary experience. It happened, but all I can remember is being

out for a night of country music
at a countrybardrinking and reading
and watching the pre-band dance instruction
at the suggestion of a friend.
The learners step, twirl, slip side to side
as the instructor instructs. Their movement is
a distraction from bookand even beer,
and I realize I like women
too much for depression
to come over one.
There is the blackhairedwoman with legs
and upper body of equal lengths
and hair so straight as mine and hanging,
settling, snaking its way almost down
to her ass as she circles the dance floor.
There is the woman with hair
both blackand blondand withangels
tattooed on her right bicep.
She’s wearing a maroon dress
which drops down
just below the knees and lifts
up slightly every time she smiles.

There is the nondancingvoluptuous blond
in an overly tight Lynard Skynard tee shirt
and brown leather boots, middle-aged,
looking from guy to guy for some shred
of hope for the outcomeofthe evening.
She stops to offer me
a smile and I smile too and raise
my glass meaning to ask, “Drink?”
but it comes out like a command,
or perhaps a statement of the obvious,
the thing I have in my hand,
So she moves over to a tancowboyhat
at the end of the bar
and places a hand on his shoulder.
He doesn’t speak. His hand goes up
and the bartender comes over.

There is the brunette, largebreasts
largehips, large lipscoloredscarlet
and leaving remnants
of themselves on her cans
of Rainierbeer as she walks
past our eye contact and out
to the dance floor.

The dancing goes on, the drinks go on and on
and then the night is over, and I sit
in the Jetta in the dark of the wee
hours as the beer still swirls
in my brain, and I contemplate
the swervingquiet of the drive
home where the only woman who matters
is not. She is at her place, alone I imagine,
I hope,
where I have in times
slept, and other things,
but where I have not been invited
for far too long, and where her last words
sustain in the deeper parts of me,

And then it does come …
and like a motherfucker

SoIbegin to make drunken promises
in the silence of the car while waving arms
about and speaking to the steering wheel
in the hope that it will relay
one simple message,
“I’m here.”
I stop then and wait
for the phone to ring
so I can answer to
that belovedalmostforgotten
voice, “Rob?”
“I’m here.”

But there is nosound, nolights
lighting up on my phone,
and my heart stammers, explodes
in the absence and continues
to do so weekly, daily, every hour
of every second,
and will not heal
if ever,
as I still hope
for the hope of the miracle,
still whisper into the dark
of the mornings, days, nights
and latenightdrives home,

“I’m here.”


Previous: Chapters:
The Music Book – Prologue

The Music Book – Chapter 1

Chapter 2 was published over at the Monarch Review: The Music Book Chapter 2

The Music Book Chapter 3

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