Monday, December 18, 2006

Sunday Night Coffee

I walk into the coffee shop and raise an eyebrow at the manager. Pay without ordering, not because I'm cool but because no one has to tell their pusher what their poison is. Sit down with a magazine... the other great addiction in my life with my iPod loud enough to make the room seem silent. Oddly, I can still tell when someone uses the milk steamer.

The young man at the counter winces at the taste of his first espresso.... don't worry boy, the first time is always like that.

The rest of the world, the part that matters anyway, argues about the world domination of Starbucks and the innate moral superiority of the locally owned coffee emporium. My world is content to see a frothing pitcher... in pastoral urbania the aficionado, posh den mother, disaffected college student, the tortured artist all sit together and smile. Unable to contain the warmth that is the community of civilization.

Local artists and author's works sit prominently... I wonder if anyone ever buys them.

There are baskets of newsprint and magazines. The latest issue conveniently summiting the pile. Never emptied, I'm convinced the oldest editions compost, filter out the sides of the basket, and are swept up each night with a regiment of rogue straw wrappers.

Tonight is folk music night... every Sunday night in some sort of odd replacement of worship for those who find no comfort in the company of the faithful. The strings on the choir director's guitar are uncut in what must be a tribute to Bob Marley.... or maybe Coolio.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Love and the Consolidation of Man, version 1

One of the most painful parts of living in rural Oklahoma is the lack of art simply for its own sake. I'm cringe listening to people purchasing Wal-Mart prints to match their sofa. What makes this subject so excruciating isn't however what you would think. It isn't the total lack of an art world in my college town but the existence of an art world without forum that is so disheartening.

Last night I attended the Senior Show of artist Zachary Presley. The show was an impressive collection of mixed media collages and photographs. A collection made more impressive by the short breadth of time it actually represented and the fact that he's currently being shown in Oklahoma City as well. His piece titles, like so many artists, made me smile. The title of this blog is the closest that I can remember... I'm not trivializing or making fun... I mean how are you supposed to say what a work means in less than 10 words?

The crowd was young and excessively hip.... especially the blonde who seemed to be the center of attention until my friend arrived with me... But...they weren't art people... which is what my little town is missing. They were college students, artists, professional cool people... And they played their parts well... very well. But where was the rich middle aged woman who sees herself in every painting? The collectors, the lovers who can't create, and critics... I would have settled for alumni and some professors not from the art department...

Its not the art or the artist that is missing in pastoral urbania my friends... its the audience.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Smoking cheap cigarettes in the rain…

Walking in the cold without a proper coat, collar up against the wind…

Listening to a train pass through town, one whistle short of tying a red bandana to an elm branch and heading to Bangor. Leave the bills, the dog, and the post to those that actually like them…

Melancholy isn't depressed… in fact melancholy is the brief moment after joy decides to go on sabbatical. That moment when your happiness has somehow flittered away like a little boy's quarter down the sewer drain… He knows there will be other quarters but that one won't ever come back. Melancholy has pain… but it has hope.

Melancholy is hearing someone's voice and then realizing it's a digital impost0r asking you to leave a number they already have.

I think if melancholy had a taste it would be scrambled egg sandwich on rye with just enough pepper to taste without being interesting. Oh and a beer… Melancholy always has beer.

Most people don't deal with melancholy well… you can't push it out or wish it away. Its there to be felt… maybe even enjoyed, but certainly experienced because if you don't it will still be there in the morning.

At some point you realize that all you can do is light a cigarette in the dark and let brother Miles soothe it away.