There’s a little bar in town called the Redlight Redlight. I say “little” though it’s no longer so, having moved twice since I wrote this piece. But six years ago, it was in a little upstairs space in Hannibal Square. You just looked for the “Bakery” awning near the Chez Vincent, and next to that, the “Bar” awning over the stairs leading up and in. It was dark and brick and exposed pipe, and on this night, a place for writing.
Thursday Night at the Redlight Redlight …
Energy here is cool,
a 30-something wanna-be beatnik chill of
live jazz trio
(Stand-up base, guitar, and drum):
hip-casual cats who gather to play for other
hip-casual cats because they enjoy it,
play with it like
a fine wine rolled on the tongue
some evening, in jeans on the back patio
once the weather has turned to just the cool side of balmy,
laughter and chatter dancing with the leaves of
Wisteria, Jasmine, antique rose
languishing on the arbor …
glint of drink glasses and wine glasses glittering with
the light of oil lamps set out to
scare away the late September mosquitos,
eyeglasses shining with the sparkle of ideas
their coveted eyes leak,
laugh lines crinkling and
eye teeth grinning through the wide-mouthed conversations of
comfort with friends.
Back from fantasy, I find myself
temporary party of one, watcher of belongings, left to my imaginings at a table
full of clutter — empty cans and half-full glasses abandoned for
the moments to smoke a 21st birthday cigar.
I was asked earlier this evening to come up with a bit of wisdom —
some vaguely recognizable thought-meme to to plant in my baby brother’s brain.
Live the life you love, and
Love the life you live.
I could sit here for the evening, listening to the
texture of language,
catching only the occasional word,
and laughter cutting sharp-quick through the murmur, like
a jumping fish momentarily recognizable before
falling back into the water,
to leave ripples, hints of passage, here …
I try to pin to drunkenness the effect of
losing the distinctions, but
deeper thought shows me that it’s a thousand different currents making this sea of sound.
not just the mood of every vocal individual,
or the sound absorbing properties of every silent one.
It’s the totality – set by beer and food and human interaction,
flavored by the passion coming from the three musician’s chatter during break,
and with their rapid fire answers to the questions posed,
responding quick and lively with an inner fire,
burning through the names of guitars, amplifiers, nationalities, and
vagaries of use,
before heading back to stage to play another set.
© Naomi Butterfield 2007