There is nothing like, no words to adequately describe, that moment when a cloud- hazed sun lingers wishfully just above the horizon, grasping the sky with brilliant talons of light, fearing becoming lost in a darkness that will, on this night of the new moon, engulf us all in its inky shroud.
We know, or pray, the sun will return in hours, just as the sun knows its work is never done so long as it has light to give, hoping that final collapse is eons away.
As it finally settles beyond sight, we smile, retreat to the table and consume our dinner and wine, our daily companion forgotten until its dawning return.
Children have an innate sense of their ancestry. I was a child of the city it’s streets my paths, always under the watchful eye of my warden – mother.
Dirt was to be avoided at all possible cost, so I never dug my hands into the fertile soil of my village in the heart of Lithuania, or tasted the readying harvest that dirt would remember.
I never stole a nip of poitin only the Manischewitz which, in our home, masqueraded as wine fit for drinking. It is only now in my second childhood that the ancestry very deep in my DNA has finally found purchase in my mind and soul.
Technology has effectively destroyed the intimate dinner parties that once were the core of a social life.
You fretted over whether the souffle would collapse, if the wine was chilled to the right temperature, if the entree was back timed sufficiently to allow time for the hors d’oeuvres and if the guests would arrive at the scheduled time.
Now it is a fear that Grubhub or Doordash will be late, that you must remember to hide the packaging from the heat and serve appetizers and if it will be nice enough to eat outside, or if you will need to check vaccination cards.
I am mystic, thief, madman, all that, considerably more, never begging, always taken what is arrayed before me favor curried, passage guaranteed coins gathered, stored so there are none to cover the eyes or pay the ferryman’s wages. I can turn wine to water and hide fish in the midst of loaves, the trick is to distract you so the order is reversed, a sleight unseen. I am truly the prodigal son vaudevillian and fall guy and the spikes are a bitch but the view is something to behold.
There comes that one moment for each who lives when he steps out onto the silent stage, speaks such of the lines as he recalls, gives a half-intended bow, and in his rage
curses his lost youth like over-aged wine, that is now a shadow of its promise and he knows that somehow this is a sign not of what he was but what he now is.
In the evening mirror he doesn’t know the white bearded face that stares back at him, a far older man who hates the coming of night. He searches in vain for a way to show that the spark that once burned did not grow dim but holds even more tightly to the light.
I can’t remember what year it was, or why I was in his apartment, half sprawled across the sofa, my girlfriend sitting with his, or one of his, he had many, on the floor, listening to Inside Bert Somers, and thinking that was the last place on earth I intended to go that evening.
I recall the wine was good, but then anything a step up from Ripple or Boone’s Farm was good, and the rugs were threadbare.
I was never a fan of Bert, didn’t know until today that he died and was buried in Valhalla, thirty years ago, not long after my youth did as well, although I am here to mourn that at least.