Saturday, August 18, 2012

the end is near

i danced by the bedroom window, where every few minutes a white face bobbed onto the black field, a black block of night, a negative shadow puppet.  the boy in the window was outside in the garden, on acid i was told, and i wondered how the plants were faring or if we'd find all that summer vegetation trampled in the morning. ryan was dancing next to me, drunk.  he had just snatched the half empty can of tecate out of my hand, declaring, "this is exactly how much i need.  you should get yourself another." he looked very satisfied with himself.  a quiet boy with thick, dark glasses and dark hair danced in the middle of the room, someone i did not recognize.  and john stands to my left, facing away from me, facing toward the wall, his hand levitating over two turntables and a mixer, soft red lights glowing miniscule.  the record spun under his hand as he lifted the needle.  beyond john, his kitchen was filled with young men, most whom i don't know.

john invited this small crowd to his apartment to continue partying after mattachine had ended at bar bar, the throngs of the most faithful.  it was loud inside the apartment, heavy with music and chatter and movement and the hiss of beer cans being opened.  but as i was dancing there next to ryan, behind john, i imagined how quiet n. mississippi ave. must be outside.  the last of the revelers dancing home.  and i imagined how quiet portland must be.  and how dark america was with night sufficiently set in over the western hemisphere.  these hours, as the sun sets on the international date line.  we're on the edge of the world.  whenever i think about what living at the end of the world is, it's like this.

these are always my favorite nights: the nights at john's place listening to music, drinking beers, dancing around the apartment, a revolving cast of characters.

the weekend before, the weather had been unbearable.  in the afternoon, i biked to the lucky lab on killingsworth to meet zebra, john, and mikiel.  air conditioning, necessary in the hundred weather.  after cooling our heels in that cool air for a while, we swung back to n. mississppi, crawled into the dark recesses of the atlantis lounge for a couple slices of pizza and some beer.  a grotto in the back of mississippi pizza, the atlantis is lounge remains dark, cool, and cave-like, one of my favorite places to beat the heat.  and windowless, it becomes timeless; one can easily loose track of time there.

it had cooled out significantly when we crossed the block to john's place.  a package of tecates wre purchased.  hours passed.  we sat outside in the yard.  the four of us danced around john's house.  john played roisin murphy's "dear miami" for me, and john denver, and a sound of silence cover.  exhausted yet still giddy, i dropped to the floor, embraced its gravity, and invited mikiel and zebra to floor dance with me, which involved sort of swimming motions in the air with our arms and legs.  writhing.  i had consumed no drug, but the heat and drink and pizza and music had apparently compounded in my stomach to produce a delirium inducing swill.  zebra exeunt out the back door, with bryan and aaron suddenly appearing.  aaron, just off the boat from san francisco, found himself being dragged across the street to amnesia.  "welcome to portland!  you need to try the dopacetic they're serving at amnesia!"  then bryan and aaron left us to drink and chris showed up, tanned and fit and smiling and visiting from california.  we laughed and smoked and lay on john's carpet listening to music.  drinking, drinking, drinking.

when i woke up the next morning, i wondered who had seen me in that embarrassing state.

last night i found myself back at john's house.  john, mikiel, a pack of bud light.  we sat in white plastic lawn chairs as john puttered around the back yard, pruning back plants and shoveling dirt from a strip of land where john has slowly been installing a brick walkway, a railroad track extending east from the pond.  the tall thick cypress trees concealed us from n. mississippi avenue, a proscenium curtain from the pedestrian audience, still admitting however the shouts and laughter of the patio at amnesia.  mikiel and i chatted casually until the sun had completely set and we could no longer see the empty beer bottles on the ground next to us.  john stepped inside, opened his bedroom window, and began playing records, preparing for his next dj set.

the sun set on portland and had set on the century.  the sun certainly set on the british empire, and maybe america is waning now.  the country is certainly changing.  the sun passes over the international date line and the calendar flips over another day, each exhausted from east to west.  we will work and talk and drink and fuck and we will pass this great burden of living to others.  here we are, right at the very close of the day and always at end of the world.

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