The Hour From Night to Day…The Hollow Hour…

There’s a playlist I sometimes forget about that I made on YouTube…

I recently watched what I now consider to be my favorite Ted Talk to date.  It is titled “Rives: The Museum of Four in the Morning” and it’s about our fascination with this obscure moment of time when all should be quietly asleep and the general absurdity of someone being up and about at this “ungodly” hour.  It is the perfect embodiment of storytelling at it’s finest, I highly recommend that anybody watch it. (Fair warning, it’s 14 minutes. But I guarantee you won’t notice a second of the time go by.)  Afterward I kinda looked around a little for personal references to this “4 a.m.” in my life and was somewhat disappointed to not find any.

This playlist I have on YouTube is the only one I have marked to private.  It’s a collection of songs roughly 2 hours long that will rip your heart out while cradling the back of your head and whispering in your ear as you lie on your back in the middle of the floor.

There’s a comfort in the familiarity of sadness and sorrow.  A place to look forward to.  Where everything is soft and dreamy.  I used to drink, a lot.  I would drink until I found this state of sleepiness and consciousness.  This place in the dark with the stars glittering overhead, some margin of not quite in the ocean but not fully on dry sand.  Soft warm waves would roll in one at a time and wrap you in them, lifting you up as if to carry you out to sea.  And then just as gently as they rolled in they softly lay you back down in the bubbling sand, only to return to rock you blissfully in that dreamy state of comfortable sorrow.  It’s as if the moon was looking down from above at you in the middle of the night, tucking you in to sleep, pulling the covers over you, over and over again while rocking you to sleep in the ebb of her tides.

Sometimes when I’m looking for some preferred music to listen to, be it to entertain or just as some background noise while I go about my chores, I scroll past this old playlist.  It makes me yearn for those moments of security and comfort and I want to go back there to wrap myself up and hide.

In the city I live in on any given day, there’s a good million or so people coming and going from the surrounding areas.  Either for work or school or shopping, leisure, recreation, what have you.  A large portion of those people traverse the road out in-front of my house.  It’s a busy road even at night.  Except between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m.  It can get down to dead silent during those two hours.  And there it is, right in the middle, 4 in the morning.  How does one get to that perfect moment of silence, that calm of peace and quiet between 3 and 5 in the morning?

Tonight I scrolled past that playlist again.  That 2 hour playlist I started so many years ago.  The name I gave that playlist, what I filed it under, it’s titled 2:00 a.m.”   Named thus for the time of night I felt I could slip away to hide by myself in the surf of that sea of solitude, sorrow and safety.  Two hours of soul caressing, heart dripping music to take me by the hand and lead me to that magical hour of Four in the Morning. 

That hour where if I could pause time I would.

That hour where I didn’t care if I lived or died.

That hour where I could leave this world behind.

That hour where I have lived a thousand lifetimes of pain.

That hour where in the hollow oblivion of emotions and memories, the Moon could cradle me forever and ferry me to the other side of the river,

to sleep,

safely,

sound and secure.

Oh how I long for that hour…..

 

 

this is the last song at the bottom of that playlist, “2:00 a.m.” 

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As Time Goes By…………………………….

You wouldn’t recognize the song, but you should.  It’s been too many years.  You burst through the doors of my little gin joint.  Ran up a tab and crept out the back in the middle of the night.   What did you think, I wouldn’t notice when I went to balance the books?  Well you left your purse behind in your haste, but don’t worry.  I put it in the safe, it’ll be patiently waiting for you.  And your tab, I keep it open.  I hope you don’t mind, I put a bottle or two on it whenever the song comes on.

watching a movie at ten something fridaynite

A Girl Named Whiskey

What if I hadn’t asked you to give me a ride that day?

To go and have a beer?

What if you had said no?

What if you had just dropped me off?

What if you had never moved here?

What if you were somebody else?

Would we still have met?

Would I still have loved you the same?

Would you still haunt my memories like a wine stain on my soul?

Would I still see you everywhere I go?

Everywhere I look?

Everytime I think?

Would I still yearn to hear your voice, your laugh?

See your eyes looking into mine, breathing your breath,

Biting my lip, holding you close.

Would I have died? Should I have died?

Is there anything that can drown you out of my head,

My memories, my heart. Or is that it?

Is that all I get?  This awful pain,

Missing you, wanting you, aching out for you?

Or do I just call you whiskey…………………………….

precisely three fifty-eight in the morning

   Echoing up the hall. Again. Bouncing from plank to plank. The old stained wooden boards absorbing the metallic Birrranng, then catapulting the sonic distress further down the hall.  Birranng,…rolling over, Birrranng…..Birrraanng.  “What in gods’ name” I thought in my sleep, BIRRAANNG! “Ah shit!  The phone.?”  BIRRAANNG!  “Jesus, what the fuck?! Who is” BIRRAANNG! Springing to my feet entangled in sheets and a fisherman’s madness of linens I slammed into the edge of the already open door. BAMM!… Thwomp.

    “The floor? What? Why am I on the floor, the cold hard…….slippery?….Wait…..Sticky, Floor……?”  BIRRAANNG!  “Yeah, the phone.  Who was it now?” BIRRAANNG! “Oh, I need to get the” BIRRAANNG!  Stumbling back and forth down the hall, sliding against the walls, knocking over everything in my path trying to grab hold of anything I could.  I fell to my knees and started to craw through the darkness.

     There, in the kitchen, I made it.  Birrinng… The phone. Birring…. It seemed to be getting further and further away. “Is this a dream? No, no, I’ve got to get the phone.” Birring.. I make my way to the wall and tug on the cord.  Wrapping my fingers in the twisted spirals I whip at it. Birring….Again, Whip! “Bring one foot up…Stand..Reach…up,up,up, WHIP!” The phone handle jumps off the wall and I yank my hand to catch it. Forgetting my fingers are still entangled in the cord it smashes into my face. Right on my forehead.

     I close my eyes and wince at the sharp stabbing sensation on my head. There’s a voice, “hello….hello..” The phone, yes the phone.  I pick it up as it tries to spit out from my hands that are still caught in the cord. “Hello” I reply, putting my hand to my forehead, realizing the blood on my wrist and dripping down my sleeve. “Huh? Yes, that’s me.” Pulling my hand away from my head and realizing I was bleeding profusely from somewhere and my brain hurt inside my head so loudly I couldn’t tell where I was actually bleeding from.

     The person was talking again, “Yes, yes, I’m me, I mean, ugh.. What do you want?” Almost falling asleep from the pain, it was so overwhelming. Swirling around it was no longer pain.  Just, like this recording of sound pushing out slowly in all directions, hurting, telling me to sleep, but not in words. Not throbb-ing-, just one constant never ending THHHHRRRROOOOOOB….pushing and pushing “WHAT? Huh? It has my name?…Who is this?.. I don’t understand. A note? A piece of paper…you’re not making any sense”

    There’s someone on the other end of the phone, talking.”Yes! That’s me” Pulling myself up in a chair. “No….They’re where?” I drop the phone, my jaw gaping. I bend over trying to pickup the phone and stand up at the same time.  I can’t reach the phone. I’m  trying to run back to my room and yelling at the phone.  My body twisting towards the phone, my legs carrying me away towards the door.

     “I’LL BE RIGHT THERE, LET ME GET MY…I’M COMING!!!! DON’T DO.I’M ON MY WAY” Shouting as I run for the.  Where am I going? What do I need?  Pants! The door! Plotting my actions, trying to put them in order, to get out the door before I can finish thinking what I need. Counting the seconds, ONE..running back up the hall slipping though my blood on the floor, almost flying.

      Two….Thinking, “foot down, don’t slip, hand on wall, next hand out.” Jamming my right foot into the first doorframe as to not slip, I feel and hear the three little toes snap and break backwards tearing the flesh in between the two/three split ripping them out of their sockets. I push off with all the might I can muster with the two toes curling around the outside of the doorframe.  Left foot down again, off the wall, through my bedroom door I slam my left shoulder, all of it, into the frame spinning me around I go flying to the bed and bounce up.

     Three…. Grabbing my jeans I tear down the hall feeling and ignoring the pain in my right foot now.  I slide across the kitchen ’til the blood’s no more, my foot sticking to the floor vaulting me in the air. I reach out with my jeans in my hand and crash into the backdoor,  bouncing my head back violently. I flail at the handle trying to get my feet under my body to no avail.  Reeling backwards I swing my arms like a windmill to catch my fall.  I land on my ass bouncing a few times.

     Four…..Back in the middle of the kitchen I spring forward grabbing the handle and explode through the snow wildly.  The door hanging crooked and swaying as the December air gushes into the house…………

Burned out Furnace

     The old man woke up and felt the bitterness of the cold.  He turned over and curled up pulling the thick wool blanket up tighter around his neck and head.  Nodding off back to sleep his wife shook him on the shoulder and said “I think the furnace has gone out again, go try and fire it up.”  Poking him in the back.  Gruffly he replied “Just be glad you’re not in Bastogne.  I’ll check it when I get up.”  A few minutes went by and the old lady says “Do you feel a breeze?  I think I feel a breeze.  How come I feel a breeze, is the fan on?  I can feel a breeze, go check and see  what that breeze is.  I’m freezing.”

     “For Christs’ sake! Can’t a man get any sleep around here!  God Damn it!” As he’s getting up she continues to peck at him. “I don’t see how you can sleep with a breeze like that.  It’s just too cold to sleep, especially with a breeze.  Don’t you feel a breeze?  I know I feel a breeze.”  The old man grumbles, putting his robe and house shoes on “Breeze, a breeze.  You got a problem with a little breeze. What’s a breeze?  You ought to be happy there’s a breeze.  How can I sleep?  I’ll show you how I can sleep with a little breeze.  I’ve slept through a million breezes.  A breeze ain’t nuthin’.  Try sleepin’ through a blizzard with a thousand Krauts throwin’ mortars at ya’.  Blowin’ up the trees, and puttin’ holes in the ground, grown men screamin’……………….”  As he shuffles out the door.

     Getting to the top of the stairs he pauses.  Hmpff.  Thinking to himself ‘Wonder what that is?’  Walking back over to the heat register he puts his hand over it.  ‘Well the furnace is blowing hot.’  He crunches his eyebrows down and looks through the corner of his eyes towards the stairs suspiciously.  ‘Somethin’s gotta be open, the door, window.  It’s too cold for just an open/shut.  And who would be coming over at this or sneakin’ out sometime in the night and didn’t latch the door.  Tryin’ to be sneaky, tryin’ to be quiet and didn’t get the door shut.  Busted, I know you’d be causin’ trouble tryin’ to get away with messin’ around. I’m gonna put it to ’em!  Think they gonna pull one over on me like I’m too old for ya’ huh?’

      The old man tightens up the knot on his robe and heads down the stairs assuredly confident he’s as sharp as he ever was.  

     Upstairs his wife is wrapping up to come down and start some coffee and get the stove cooking.  She mumbles, “It’s already after five now, by the time I get some coffee going it’s gonna be six.  Might as well get started, he’s going to be hungry when he gets back up from the basement.  I just know it, he’ll be wanting some”  She hears a loud noise. Something’s happened, she rushes out to the stairs.  All of a sudden “GET DOWN HERE, QUICK!  NO, CALL THE LAW, CALL THE LAW! GET THE SHERIFF OUT HERE!” 

      The lights are blaring through the windows, casting disco shadows across the fields and trees for miles.  She’s standing on the front porch, radios crackling and flashlights bouncing through the woods, officers streaming yellow tape back and forth across her shattered world.  The sheriff tries to comfort her some while explaining everything the best he can figure for now.

      “It seems ma’am, I mean, what we’re pretty sure of, from the evidence that is.  Somebody must have gotten in the house, and, with all the blood from the back room all the way to the kitchen and out the back.  There was a confrontation. And you say your grandchil came to stay with you  couple a few months back now?  Well the phone being off the hook and all.  We think someone was trying to call for help, but there’s no blood on the wall mount so they didn’t get a chance.”  The back door’s busted up pretty good and the tracks and blood lead out towards the woods.  That’s where we’re kinda stopped at right now, being so dark and the snow coming down so hard.  We’ll know more round noon or so.  The old alarm clock from the back bedroom, we think they used that as a weapon, in defense or maybe….   You woke up past five, and called us shortly there after.”  She nodded, he continued “the clock is stopped at just about four”

     Just then, they hear some of the officers down in the woods hollerin’ and shouting out “Here He Comes” her husband trods out from the trees and walks up to his wife.  “Sorry hun’ I couldn’t find ’em.” And wraps his arms around her as she starts to cry.

Was It A Dream

She appeared as if from nowhere. Standing directly behind me I could feel the heat of  her breath as she whispered gently. Suddenly, so awestruck and dizzy in the moment, her words flowed through my mind peacefully like a wave retreating stealthily  into the sea under the cover of night. She breathed, my love, my love, my love.
I felt I had left this earthly world, carried off by a cloud. Floating with the weight of a feather, on the breath of an angel.  Her presence radiating into me, filling me with a calm warmth, rippling down my arms and up my spine. Her arms moving under mine wrapping themselves around my chest up to my heart as she pressed her head on the side of my neck. Her cheek laid on my shoulder as she breathed ever so slightly, my love, my love, my love.
Reams of hair rolling down my back and arm, across my chest. Exhaling magic spells from her heart, my love, my love, my love. I slipped into a dream, my love, my love, my love.
I lay here awake at night, staring into the darkness, asking myself where have you gone, my love, my love, my love………………..?

On My Way Home

   Everyday I ride the train to work. It’s a long ride so I find myself watching the landscape as I rumble along. We pull into station after station to pick up and release different passengers on their way to their next stop. On, off, on, off, on, off, it goes.

   One comes accustomed to the faces, some you remember, some you only think you remember.  You learn to memorize their patterns. Like this one lady always wears a bright yellow dress on Mondays with her hair pulled back. And another fellow starts his weeks with a dark blue suit, coffee in hand, briefcase in the other. Never takes a sip, I always thought he needed a hat.  Brown, like in the 50’s you know. Wouldn’t match his shoes though, he’s a black belt, black shoes guy, everyday. Then there’s Suzy, I call her Suzy anyways.  She never wears the same thing twice, at least at the same time. She dresses, very fun I might say. Very wild and colorful, different, hip perhaps.

  But there’s this one guy. I didn’t notice him at first. But now I can’t imagine a day without seeing him.  He never gets on the train, But he’s always there, even on the way back home, out of the city. Everyday. He just stands there, looking out into the distance. It’s not the clothes he wears that I remember, It’s the expression on his face.  A look of solace and despair, of hope and loneliness, a look of love and regret.  

  It’s this expression on his face, it haunts me at night.  It provokes stories and questions and thoughts of my own.  What is he thinking, is he thinking.  It’s been over four years now, and there he is still. Still like a tree, like a great oak standing atop a mountain.  Alone, looking out over the land with that same glaze, for a hundreds years. 

  See, he’s not on the train, he’s on the platform. Waiting, waiting for someone, someone to come home.  Someone he’ll never give up on.  He’ll be on that platform tomorrow, he’ll be there the day after that.  And in a year, he’ll still be there.   In two, in three, in four and five. Even after I stop riding that train after twenty years or so.  After I’m done and gone, and long long after that, he’ll still be there. Waiting, waiting on that platform.