An Absence of Place

When the Past Vanishes

Anybody who is familiar with my journos will know that I tend to sentimental sketches and ramblings at times. If you are new here consider yourself warned. I once read that if you sit in one place long enough you will eventually run into everybody you know (I’ve spent enough time in bars and coffee shops to think there may be some truth to this). I’ve also read that if you live in one place long enough you will see pieces of your own past vanish (I’ve lived long enough in one place to think there may be some truth to this).

Broken Dreams (#205-edit)
“Broken Dreams”

There  used to be this just low class enough, just dive enough bar that I frequented in my early twenties. It was one of those kind of places you would go with friends to drink heavily and try to meet someone (or a least be a wing man for one your friends who was trying to meet someone). It was the kind of place where you would spend a good chunk of your week’s pay on not too cold beer and watered down whiskey drinks. It was the kind of place that had a second rate DJ on Friday nights and third rate bands on Saturday nights. It was the kind of place with long lines at the bathroom and a haze of cigarette smoke (showing my age here) over the dance floor. In short, it was the kind of place that was the source of many good times with friends, many of whom have faded away over time.  It’s amazing how we move from being friends who drink togehter until 3:00 a.m. to friends who occasionally “like” each other’s social media posts.  If friendships of youth vanish it stands to reason that the places , those dive bars, would vanish too. There were many nights spent at Dreams with Brad, Chris, Dano, Drew, Ken, and others. Dreams is gone, a fire burnt it to a shell, and I’ve lost touch with most of those friends, two decades can cause people to fade away.

Burnt Dreams Nostalgia (D70-edit)
“Burnt Dreams”

An absence of place (an old dive bar) and friends (moved on or faded away) can make you feel as if a part of life has vanished. But life isn’t a collection of places and proximity. Life is experiences and how we react to them. I went to the upscale bar and grill that has replaced Dreams a few weeks ago. I bought their cheapest beer, took a sip, closed my eyes and realized that the important things will never vanish if you care enough.

-K-

Some Thoughts on Vanishing

Keeping Track of What Vanishes

Ever wonder where things go? Where do plans, places, old friends, and missed opportunities end up? Sometimes we can pinpoint the exact locations of these things, but other things simply vanish. There is the slow fade that we don’t notice until that thing we admire, desire, or hold close to us is gone. Then there is the quick vanishing act, as if some unseen magician has played some sort of cruel trick on us.

As I grow older it feels as if more and more things are vanishing (maybe I was too busy to notice them when I was younger). We live in a world of vanishing things such as objects, animals, places, and languages just to name a few. There are those things that have a personal impact on us when they vanish for one reason or another, and entire cultures are impacted when other things vanish. As I write this the word “thing” feels vague but when dealing with such a wide array of concepts what other word works (there are probably many better words that could be used but the 90 degree weather and the sixer of Miller High Life may be impairing my vocabulary)? Maybe the best we can do is to remember those things that vanish the best we can.

Empty Hospital (D70-editj17
“Empty Hospital”

Whether it is a slow fade out or quick disappearance things vanish all around us.  Some of these vanishing things impact us on a personal level and the vanishing of others may impact entire cultures.  This month is about those things that vanish and the impact their absence may have on us.

-K-

Black Coffee and Cigarettes: The Mix Tape

1. “Coffee Girl”–The Tragically Hip

2. “Smoke Rings”–Sam Cooke

3. “Cigarettes and Coffee”–Otis Redding

Red Cup (Optio-edit)
“Red Cup”

4. “Rum in My Morning Coffee”–Jan Smith

5. “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray”–Patsy Cline

6. “Don’t Smoke in Bed”–Nina Simone

Apt. Cigarette Break (edit)
“Cigarette Break”

7. “Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women”–Jim Croce

8. “Coffee Blues”–Lightnin’ Hopkins

9. “Never Get Out of These Blues Alive”–John Lee Hooker

-K-

Authors on Coffee and Cigarettes

Better Nickel Worth of Wisdom

• “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it a thousand times.” -Mark Twain-

• “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.” -T.S. Eliot-

• “A cigarette is the perfect type of perfect pleasure. It is exquisite and it leaves one satisfied. What more can one want?” -Oscar Wilde-

Break in the Cold (P7000-editj17.132)
“Break in the Snow”

• “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” -Albert Camus-

• “That’s what I do: I make coffee and occasionally succumb to suicidal nihilism. But you shouldn’t worry-poetry is still first. Cigarettes and coffee follow.” -Anne Sexton-

-K-

A Final Thought on Doorways

or the Odd Machinations of the Writer’s Mind

Another month is in the books. May was about doors and doorways, the literal and the symbolic. We all encounter doors throughout life. We pass through some and we are denied passage through others. It feels as if the past few months have had more than their fair share of doors. I’m going to end the month with an odd instance concerning my relationship with doors.

I have a fear of knocking on doors. I’m afraid of ringing doorbells too. Why, you ask? I don’t have clue. I don’t have any bad experiences or weird memories (my only explanation is that I’m an odd duck of sorts). I just don’t like knocking on doors, and here is on such experience to give you context.

#515 (#62-editj20.115)
“#515”

I’m at my best friend’s house. I’m standing at the back door. The back door is open so there is only the screen door, the kind where the top half of the door can be either screen or glass depending on what season it is. It’s summer so the screen is in the door. My friend and his wife are expecting me. I’m standing there looking through the screen into their house (that’s a creepy kind of sentence). I can hear the TV in the basement. And me? I don’t ring the bell. I knock so quietly I know the sound won’t be heard over the TV. I keep doing this, knocking quietly. My friend’s wife comes walking through the kitchen and sees me. I act as if I just walked up and quickly ring the bell. She says, “Wow, perfect timing.” I agree because telling her I’ve been outside knocking for over a minute would put me in the running for the mayor of Crazy Town.

What’s the moral of the story (beyond now knowing that I’m a bit odd)?  It’s not the fear as much as it is how I deal with it that I want to share. The fear of knocking on doors has never left, but I deal with it by texting people when I arrive. No more knocking on doors when all I need to do is send a text. So, what’s the moral? If you can’t through a door then try a window (or maybe a text).

-K-

The Dilemma of Locked Doors

or A Rambling Metaphor

Ever bust your ass to get to a door only to find it locked? Ever find out that the key you thought would open a door isn’t the right one? I’m speaking about doors as metaphors, but some doors just can’t be opened.

We hustle and grind only to find doors locked because of who we are or what we’ve done. Keys to these doors are given to a select few. If you aren’t the right kind of person with the correct opinions no keys will be given to you. The requirements for being the right kind of person and the list of correct opinions are conveniently listed on the inside of the door. There are also doors that don’t open with the keys we’ve struggled so hard to earn. Those who guard the doors can change the requirements for the right kind of person and the list of correct opinions one must have at will by changing the locks. This leaves us with useless keys.

Second Floor Door (#157-edit)
“Second Floor Door”

Life presents us with numerous doors. We can pass through most of them with hard work. But some doors remain locked no matter how hard we work because we aren’t the right kind of person or we have incorrect opinions according those who guard the doors. So what’s a person to do? I’ve found it’s useless to try to be the right kind of person or to change opinions (unfortunately I found this out after spending way too much time trying to be the right kind of person and changing my opinions). I suggest that we kook for the doors that open for the odd, the outcasts, the rounders, and the ramblers.

-K-

Blues at Your Door: The Mix Tape

1. “Back Door Man”–Howlin’ Wolf

2. “Don’t Answer the Door”–B.B. King

3. “Next Door Neighbor Blues”–Gary Clark

4. “Howlin’ at Your Door” –Fiona Boyes

5. “Don’t Turn Me From Your Door”– John Lee Hooker

Ivy and Iviry #4 (P7000-editj19.142)
“Ivy & Ivriy Club”

6. “Knockin’ at Your Door”–Bobby Rush

7. “Right Next Door”–Robert Cray

8. “The Hearse is Backed Up to the Door”–Lightnin’ Hopkins

9. “Backdoor Love Affair”–ZZ Top

10. “Back Door Man”–Willie Dixon

-K-

Some Thoughts on Doorways

The Physical and the Metaphor

Grand entrances and quiet exits. We arrive and we depart through a variety of doors, both the physical and the metaphorical. There is the thrill of walking through a doorway for the first time, and there is the relief of walking through a doorway for the last time. Doorways are a part of our lives.

Bus Stop Doors (Optio-edit)
“Bus Stop Doors”

Life is full of doors. Some doors have welcome signs while others tell us to keep out. There are doors that are closed to you due to who you are or what you’ve done. There are doors opened for you because of who you know. There are doors that open to empty apartments at 3:00 in the morning and doors to cold doctors’ offices. There are also doors to family homes you can always walk through without knocking and doors to friends’ apartments that will gladly open for you at 3:00 in the morning (sometimes with the disapproving frown of a spouse). Some of these doors are real to the touch an others are ideas.

Whether they are physical doors or doors as metaphor we pass through many of them in our lives. This month is about those doors, and more importantly, what is beyond those doorways.

-K-

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