Busking was never painless work. You’d work your fingers bloody trying to entertain people who mostly didn’t care. But over and over, your confidence was reinvigorated when someone would stop and listen and throw you a few bucks. Jank and I found a place to spend a few hours sweating our backs up against the claustrophobic blue tiled dome of the subway. Brightly lit and with the omni-scent of urine, the tiles and the dome above our heads made our music echo in wonderful ways.
To Dive Bars:
The wise and the young,
The sensitive plenty,
The pleasure seekers luring
Foolish students and
scholarly deadbeats hitting on
30s-somethings office workers.
Few of them paying.
All there to witness
the messy scene
Dripping with bodies
Moving from music.
Sunday Photo Fiction – July 9th 2017 Hosted at https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/sunday-photo-fiction-july-9th-2017/
Walter and the White Horse Wateringhole
© A Mixed Bag
When the White Horse was filled, Walter whined. Wouldn’t you expect a drunk to wind his way past crowds for whiskey? Even if the dive was weathering tourists. Instead, Walter witnessed the crowds wistfully behind ivy, wondering at his solitude. When Wednesday wandered around, he wound down from work on a worn stool, whittling stories to tell his wife.
“What God-given will has an old man got in this world?” He wondered aloud, washing the empty bar with his wasteful musing. Women avoided him and men wanted no part. Whether wounded in memory or simply wanting a worthy watering-hole, the town would not find out. The locals waged no wars with Walter and watched him battle wits with himself. They wondered if he would be forgotten, and most who witnessed him thought it so. But Walter would win in the end, as the bar stool named after him.
My music had been whored. I’d been used. The blood was streaming down my face as I was chased down the dive bar stairs by a tumbling guitar case while a junkie general manager cursed me and everyone I knew. I was deposited onto the sidewalk strangled with an anger so tight I felt like a guitar string ready to break. After months of toiling, I don’t think anyone would have blamed me for giving up on a dream that seemed impossible.
And yet, after months of selling anything I’d had to get a shot,after living the life of forgetting the face of every girl I’d ever been with, it was this night that a chance meeting and the dive-bar scene saved me…
This is the story of my ascent out of the gutter, though I didn’t get that much further in the end. The tales of a city and our music only made possible for me through the friendship of a sex-crazed bandmate, the guidance of an older musician turned professional, and the love I never thought I was capable of from a street-goddess muse. That night was the turnaround, the elusive 4th chord to the song I’d been dying to live. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll have to start at the beginning when all I really had to go on was belief.