A Silent Night Kind of Afternoon December 28, 2010Posted by Mark Folse in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
There just something Odd about the week between Christmas and New Years, that week of vacation you have to burn but you seem to have forgotten the matches, a hollowness like the watery sun in the sky that can’t kill the chill in the air. a space that seems as full of possibilities as the blank page but you mind goes just as blank with an inclination to idleness, a feeling there is not much doing and you’re not the one to do it. A cup of coffee outside a cafe seems a genuine holiday miracle, black java in a white mug bringing the warmth the sun can’t manage is the pinnacle of alchemy and after you’ve mastered that what more can you expect. You close the book you brought and read the leaves of the evergreen oaks instead.
Once you’ve left behind Jesus and Santa Claus there’s not much miracle in these days and New Years has always seemed to me a sound stage holiday, something people in old movies do while Guy Lombardo conducts in the background and we’re all just extras in paper hats pretending to have fun. For a few years after we moved back the bonfire seemed the height of the season, a spontaneous celebration full of energy and joy and my son and I would run three times widdershins so close you would come away with half a sunburn on your face to show for it but then the city shut it down in favor of the staged fireworks on the river, an inducement to come into town and spend some money you know you don’t have after the heavy bills of Christmas start to roll in.
So you sit around not watching the pile of movies someone loaned you because none of them seem quite right for the middle of the day, picking up and putting down books and listening to way too much John Prine because at least he takes a look around on a day like today and something comes out that makes you smile as often as not, but you know it’s probably time to shuffle him off the I-pod when all your words start coming out in rhyming couplets:
It’s a Silent Night kind of afternoon
and the sun hangs there like a big balloon
but its cold as the light of buttery moon
and if something doesn’t happen around her soon
there’s gonna be some kind of trouble.
God that’s awful. Be glad I never learned how to play the guitar.
Since I was forced to drive myself out to Metairie this morning to drop my son at his driving school, I at least managed to find a decent pair of khakis on sale for $10 to replace the ones I left in a hotel room, picking through shelves as empty as my head, and another warm shirt so I don’t need to rush out and do laundry on a day like this. The dishes are done but so am I, the yellow plastic vacuum standing there idle, the top of the handle crooked like an accusing finger but I’m more inclined to sit like a lizard with a cigarette in the midday sun now just barely warmer than the last of the morning coffee. If you’re looking for me try that coffee shop just up the way but I’m liable to be the man who wasn’t there, still as a stump and mind all squirrelly up in the menthol green leaves of the oaks on Esplanade writing songs in my head nobody is meant to hear.