You sing out girl.
Make it slam.
Music vibes out the door onto the street. People bop without knowing why.
Inside the atmosphere swells. Nowhere to stand so they stand elsewhere. Moving and talking and making due. No problem here, pal.
Everyone’s scoping everyone, looking for clues but lacking a mystery. What’s his story is the talk of every moment. It’s too crowded and angsty to hear so what’d you say man? There’s no one here I know but I came anyway.
The bartender slashes his hands through the air to make a point. No, man, that’s what I’m saying. Who are you? You been here before, you know how this works? Man, there’s no time for this. Everybody pays. Except Willie down there at the end. Willie don’t pay. No, man, you can’t pay for Willie because Willie don’t pay. What part of that didn’t you get?
Two women walk in and attention is paid. They’re confident and light and know where the music is.
Outside is elsewhere, anywhere but here. Here is now and it’s where things are. No man, Willie don’t pay.
There’s a pulsing in the air that doesn’t come from the music. A man seated at the table drowns out the world with the sound of an upright bass that trembles his soul. He’s not the same and won’t be. Magic is no more powerful than this.
It’s a sleight of hand that dominates everyone’s thoughts, the quick change from one moment to the next. Every second is different from the last. What brought you out? Nah, not for a while.
Sacredness moves through conversation. Two people connect but are torn apart by a piano chord of unparalleled beauty. Intent hovers like cigarette smoke, dissipated by the constant twirl of bodies and thoughts.
You seen him tonight? I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing. There’s never a good reason. What’s this song?
$5 gets you in, same as 40 years ago. The promise an owner made to his customers that once intimidated and now welcomes. Everyone got in who wanted in. They never come around so chill.
Heartbeats never raced faster. Sweat never poured more freely. Minds never pondered more fiercely. Far from escape, it’s a place of thought and consideration. Everyone evaluating, everyone calculating. Bar tabs to odds to distances to drinks.
They are philosopher athletes all, pounding out a night of potential and euphoria. It hammers home all they know and upends foundational beliefs. Cocktail-infused religion.
No, man, Willie don’t pay.
Red and blue, occupying one space but never mixing.
Smoke and water failing to dilute the other.
You play, man, you play.
Drive on keep going night can’t end won’t end don’t end.
Why’s he not dancing?
Guy don’t want to dance he must not be feeling it.
Who can’t feel it.
That guy apparently.
He’s just there.
Man, we’re all just here.
Conversations interrupted by friends out of selfishness or concern, it’s hard to tell.
What’s he want?
Not from over there.
I’ll pay for the next one, he lies. He hasn’t worked in a year but the music makes it all go away. The feel. The place.
Nowhere is like this but there are many places like this. Nowhere has this existed but this moment and it’s gone like an eyelash in a hurricane.
Clinging to that, making it count. Making every moment count. It comes alive through force of will. Because they’re here. Because we’re here.
Your name Willie? If not, you pay.
Decades pass in a heartbeat. Everyone is someone else when they’re not here, when they’re not propelled by this combination of music and liquor and smoke and lights and space.
Pass by on the crowded sidewalk and you get a taste, a glimpse that shifts as you focus. A bony finger of atmosphere reaches out and brushes your hair and you turn around and nothing. You know something happened but what just happened. Must have been interesting. Didn’t notice.
The drive continues, the push for deeper connections. For feeling more in the moment, for being more here.
Yoga? No, I come here.
This is where being present is essential. You can be the most inauthentic one here and it’s no big. Everyone’s just here for the feel. Everyone’s just here for the now.
Everyone notices everything. That person just cried. That person just failed. That person just danced. That person just lost themselves. Isn’t that why we’re here?
You hear that?
I said nah.
Oh what was that.
I don’t know man I didn’t hear it.
Move on. Keep moving on. Keep moving. Don’t lose the thread of the night.
Don’t stop caring about everything. Don’t stop knowing nothing. Don’t stop being now.
There’s no other here. There’s no other then.
Now we hear everyone, all in this room.
This tiny room.
No one lives here. Everyone is alive here.
Everyone belongs here. Everyone should here.
A drum beat falls in the cracks of conversation. That’s the stuff man. That’s why.
Embrace the feel, the vibe, the electric, the smoke and the floor and the alchemy that occurs.
Live like now matters because it does and nothing else.
Chase it. Find it. Catch it. Embrace it. Release it.
Willie, do you pay? See, I told you.
Attitudes converge and find solace.
In the now.
Outside the people want in. Inside the people want in. We all want in.
There’s the door. Want in. Want now. Want out.
Ride the guitar riff to better.