Beware Washingtonians. The excessive hot air coming out of Cleveland lately will be steaming our way this weekend. Time to retreat to a shade drawn room or perhaps a river bank under a tree. With a book. And perhaps a cold drink at hand. While reading, we might want to remember last winter with something akin to nostalgia.
In January the 9:30 Club threw a swell anniversary event, and book launch, but until this week, I had only paged through my copy, not expecting too much in the way of substance. I have to say I should have known better. Whatever the 9:30 Club does- it does well. There's plenty of eye candy here including numerous Mark Holmes postcards, but every page is strikingly visual, full of photographs punctuated with wonderful little stories from those who were there.
The club originated as a hole in the wall, but the space was a godsend for the maladjusted. It was created by brave and visionary people who filled a void and breathed life into a decaying F Street N.W. Thus an edgy kind of refuge was born where misfits could gather together as kindred spirits. We were a strange but happy family.
|9:30 X-mas party|
|photo by Marie Broussard|
Raymond has many talents including poetry which are almost short stories in themselves.
The naming of a dog
can be a delicate thing.
My friend Judith
sent me a Chocolate Lab
for my sixtieth birthday.
I was looking for a female name.
so far I`d used iconic names,
Lucy, from the Ricardo
Gus, from Lonesome Dove
Stella, only from Brando
Wippet, from Devo`s Whip-It-Good
And of course, The Dude
Even Dora Mar,
(She was one of Picasso`s lovers)
but I`m not responsible for that one.
Then I started in on
people I`d worked with.
(There have been a lot of dogs)
I thought maybe
A name that went with Dante
So with good reason
a former bar owner`s name
popped into my head
I thought the 930 Club was
the best run bar I ever worked
And the only place
where an owner shut down for a week,
took the staff on vacation
to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
(I don`t know where those mushrooms came from.)
It seemed right
Until I tried to write this story.
Then I saw the insult,
You never name a dog after a woman you know
No matter what!
You can name dogs
after men you know
We`re used to being called dogs
It`s almost an honor
So to avoid insult
I`ve changed my Lab`s name
(For Dodi Bowers)
Right now Raymond is working on a story called "The Heart of Tenley." Send Raymond an email if you would like to read this evolving piece for extra credit. (firstname.lastname@example.org) In the meantime here is another poem which seemed especially appropriate to pull up for this weekend's heat wave:
A Draft Beer
If it had not been
such a hot Saturday afternoon
My brother and I might not have stopped
for a draft beer at a tavern at Tenley Circle.
Everybody knows that when the humidity and the temperature
are hovering at 100, one beer is not nearly enough
and it was cool inside, the windows all covered
The bar a rich oak with a curved rail
There were big mirrors with glass shelves,
maybe a twenty-foot bar with fourteen stools
and a large open area for people to stand.
We were drinking near the exit
and there was this little pest of a bartender
and he kept hovering
like a mosquito on cocaine
Never shutting up
and it was all profanity
f this and f that, on
and on, and screw them
and G-d them, over and over,
Then I saw the look.
Jerome had this way of tightening his eyes
just before he exploded
-He had it before he went to Viet Nam-
And now his eyes were locked
and that little pest of a bartender
kept right on cursing, right
up to the second an empty draft beer mug
went flying past his ear. It crashed
into the glass shelves with enough force
to send all the stemmed martini glasses flying
Shattered glass flew all over the bar
The bartender’s face turned ashen
He was realizing what would have happened
if that mug hadn’t missed.
When I looked over, Jerome was gone
I told the shaken bartender
I didn’t know who that was.
Five months later
I return from a trip overseas
and now Jerome is behind the bar.
The bartender that day turned out to be the owner
When he found out who my brother was
He hired him; figuring, he wanted
to keep someone that crazy on his side.
Jerome gets me a job as a doorman.
Then when someone doesn’t show up
I get shifts as a waiter. Someone
else gets drunk at work
and now Jerome is teaching me
to tend bar. Sending me
on a new lifestyle
That all started with an if.