Monday, December 22, 2008

I Feel It In The Air, Summer's Out of Reach




First off, as this is a continuation of the lyrics from "The Boys of Summer," Harry would at this point be growling that this is a song about chicks, man. Well, its about that big old desolation boulevard, too. I'm doing a double post tonight, look for "Answers On A Postcard" later. This first part is about my trek to Oak Park and the tribute to Harry. And there will be a tossing of the ashes on the vernal equinox, but, this being Chicago and all, it will probably only be thirty come March 21st. Here's the thing, I left the house fully ready for the fifteen below wind chill, but it somehow morphed into a crazy THIRTY-FIVE BELOW near the time I hit East Avenue on the Forest Park like. When I crossed Rehm Park and the first full gust hit me in a literal whiteout, it was like I had gotten punched on the bridge of my nose while pure ammonia was being shoved up my nose in some ethereal way. Disorienting enough that my body just flopped to the ground out of pure whatthefuckedness. The gathering itself was stupendous, and I will indeed address this in a few hours, a wonderful remembrance of HE Fassl. Let me back track a bit though, and relate the subway incident. To get from the Red Line to the Blue Line, you descend even lower underground and walk a tunnel two blocks in length and BAM, up the steps again. I heard the Playing Card Man while I was still in the tunnel. He was an enigma himself, balding white guy in his thirties, ver nice black car coat, banged up old suitcase with wheels, and quite definately off his meds for at least a few days. There was a deck of card on the tracks and a dozen or so lay on the platform. This guy would pace, either fighting obessive-comuplsion or just not knowing what decision to make, then he slapped a card over, grabbed his head and screamed O MY GOD! THE THREE OF DIAMONDS! Maybe seven of us in the frosty tunnel, no one moved back, we are used to this. O MY GOD, THE TEN OF HEARTS! From thirty feet away, the cards blown onto the platform in odd places from the wake of the previous el train. He was still grabbing at the snakes in his head by the time the train arrived, and I found it strange that he never called out a club or a spade, maybe he truly was angered and/or astonished that he always flipped up a red card. Walk in circles, bend down like slapping a live wire, cry out. The train turned west a block up and barrelled above ground at UIC. I was impressed enough by this guy that I've worked out a story in my head, but of course my own obsessive-compulsiveness will not let me start it until I have a title. So that's what I leave you with for now, the guy who drew only red and me falling to my knees in bafflement of the whiteout, my destination still three blocks away. Heading west into the black...Wayne

6 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

the man who drew only "red". A great title and a fascinating story in the offing there.

horatio salt said...

for a title: red ball express

HemlockMan said...

How did humans ever settle in that part of the country in the first damned place? I'm thinking: lots of fire wood.

As for the crazy dude--all he had to do was shuffle the freaking deck. They come that way, you know. All in order.

Michael Fountain: Blood for Ink said...

Growing up in Benton Harbor and gaining painful experience other places along the lake shore, I always thought the song was about that feeling when the summer people are gone and the girl you had in the summer has gone back to wherever they go. It's very like the green light at the end of the dock in "Gatsby" (that book just gets better and better the older I get).

Michael Fountain: Blood for Ink said...

If you ever get around to the masterwork I suggested, "Chicago's Out of Reach" might be a chapter title.

Steve Malley said...

How about 'Flush'?