Green Room by !Koss / Flickr
I slept until early afternoon. In the evening I went for some drinks in a hole-in-the-wall down a small alleyway. Old dusty bottles stood in front of a tarnished mirror behind the bar. I looked at my face and saw a stranger. As I was leaving, I heard live music coming out of the bar next door, so I wandered over to see what the noise was all about.
The place was small and dark and smoky. I spied Stephen hunched over at the end of the bar and ambled up to him. He had long before discovered the pleasures of wormwood-derived alcohol, which he called the “little green fairy” or just simply “my goddess,” like the poets of old.
“Greetings Gregory, how are you this fine evening,” he said, swishing around his glass. "Will you be partaking in my goddess also?”
“Yea, go ahead and get me one, thanks Stephen.” He ordered one for me and we turned around to peer at the band. The drummer sat with his back toward us, and the bassist and singer were behind him on either side. At one point the singer, shirtless, stepped up onto a chair. During a slow melodical base line and soft drumming, he spread his arms out head down and the image of the Christ figure appeared superimposed on his chest. He raised his head and sang lines about sobriety and physical and spiritual states of inebriation and addiction and mysticism, before jumping down and screaming out the chorus over a barrage of distorted sound. At end of the concert the band quietly put down their instruments and joined the crowd as the last song continued to play over the sound system, and the band’s image was projected onto the back wall.
Stephen turned to me as the concert ended and the bar began to play rock in the background. He started out mid-thought. “Don’t let my dipsomania disturb you, my dear boy, Jane used to say to me with frightening prurience in her eyes. I gave into her desires, for what else was I, a young lad in the throes of hormones, supposed to do? She was my first lover, or rather I was hers, would be the better way to describe it. She was older and my mum’s alcoholic friend, very fond of wine and young men and tennis. She was quite distrait when I told her we had to put a stop to our little fling, but I felt like a toad beneath the harrow. I was trapped by her dirty tricks. What a woman.” He paused with a smirk somewhere between a smile and a grimace, deep in thought. “Enough of this badinage, what about Martin’s new babe? He’s always been into slatternly women, that Martin. And furthermore, nothing can be proven mate. Haven’t you heard of the Munchausen trilemma? Nothing can be proved, only disproved. That’s where we are in philosophy mate. Fucking nowhere.” He paused and finished his absinthe.
Stephen became hazy and literary, pontificating in the penumbra, and my mind began to wander through the natural silence that a lull in the conversation had brought about, exploring the dark caves of thought. Refreshingly, I was conceiving the beginning of an interesting train of thought that will be picked up again later, possibly in a dream...
“I declare I am bibulous Gregory, I hope you realized it was no secret. My green goddess and me go a long way back, and we’ll go a long way together. She is pantagruelian in her capacity for charm. That concert was refreshing, I might add. Most of the music you hear now, it’s as if the imagination were sere and it’s so tedious. It’s all jejune bullshit mate. Don’t listen to anything any musician ever says. They have the worst taste in music. Ha ha! Ah if only Oscar Wilde were here to see this.”
Stephen and I sat down at a table. He started softly humming a melody and then sang: One fine winter's morn my horn I did blow, to the green fields of Keady for hours we did go, we gathered our dogs and we circled around, for none loves the sport better than the boys in the dell. Then he quietly stopped. "You ever hear that song Greg? The huntsmen, the dogs, the rabbit. It's all about life, mate. We're all one of those at some point, or feel like we're one of those. That or fallen angels. We all fall prey to an acute development of self-angelicization at one time or another, and here we are, angels by day, devils by night." We drank until it was time to go home. I went home, and he went off to another bar.
Some days waking up is really a burden. I am getting old and autumn’s long behind. Winter is leaving its cold wet imprint on my heart and mind. Winter daytime shadows, longer than summer shadows, lurk behind me. Shadows on the snow have colors—you can see it in the impressionists, but now it all seems black and white to me. That morning I was haggard with worry about the passage of time and youth and innocence, having coffee in the flat trying to gather my thoughts and sanity when Perry came in. He looked worse than I did.
“How was your night?” I asked him.
“Julia just left,” he said, and walked into his room and shut the door. I picked up the guitar and the lyrics came floating down to me as if placed there specifically for me at that exact moment, the moment of divine inspiration.
That night I found Stephen at the same bar. I went out planning just to have some quiet drinks on my own in a hole-in-the-wall down a small alleyway. Old dusty bottles stood in front of a tarnished mirror behind the bar. I looked at my face and saw a stranger. As I was leaving, I heard live music coming out of the bar next door, so I wandered over to see what the noise was all about.
The place was small and dark and smoky. I spied Stephen hunched over at the end of the bar and ambled up to him. He had long before discovered the pleasures of wormwood-derived alcohol, which he called the "my sacred herb" or just simply "my goddess", like the poets of old.
The drummer sat with his back toward us, and the bassist and singer were behind him on either side. At one point the singer, shirtless, stepped up onto a chair. Strange psychedelic and photographic images were interwoven with the music. Stephen said he’d been there for the last twenty-four hours, having visions and dreaming about Blake. Was it really another gig, or was it the same thing? I don’t even know what day it is, or if today is yesterday. Maybe it’s time to go home and sleep.
Maybe I’m finally caught in the eternal return.
Chris George (writing as Chris DiGiorgio) grew up in northeast Ohio, and lived in Galicia in the northwest of Spain for many years. He has published essays on the intersection of Galician and American poetry and culture. Short fiction based on his first novel manuscript has appeared in Litbreak Magazine and Ink In Thirds and is forthcoming Blue Fifth Review. He is currently working on several projects, including an acoustic album. He lives in Madrid with his wife, and gets back to Ohio every summer.