st barths chronicles, part iV

you may blame Puccini for this poor joke

Day 5 – 11  




walked past a jeweler’s store at dusk. a high end store, full of colored flourescent lights and glass shelves and cases. every surface either light-emitting or reflective. all the moreso for its emptiness, even as tourists and locals bustle by almost caustically on the street.

through the glass doors, the jeweler can be seen. he stands, tall but beer-gutted, before one of the displays staring intently, almost longingly, at one of his own products. a sturdy, silent, all-too-perceptible sadness emanates from the man as he stands there. hearing nothing of the outside — even as the outside world sees nothing of his torment.

i imagine him saying, “so, this is it.”



full circle. a ringleted rainbow circumscribes the just-shy-of-full moon. at night before the set, standing alone on the balcony. staring across still, maybe, stagnant water. there are lights on a genteel promenade beneath the rocky cliffs. lights.  eerily fashionable lamps so that, from this distance, there is more shadow than light. more imagining that observation.

like some antiquated portrait of a southern delta town. the yachts look like riverboats — only missing their bright red paddles. and the tiny european cars move slowly in the tiny roads so congested with way-farers, like laterned coaches. 
and from this distance, i can see the ladies in their hoop-skirts and petticoats, bonnets and lace, fanning themselves as they ask the footman to mind the cobblestones.





the sun is so bright, and the cloud so fluffy and ghostly that they cast fat, slow-moving shadows on the scrubby cliff side. it is hot and i am sweating. sweating is not even the right word. i pour. i have removed my shirt, my undershirt, and my shoes. my shorts will come next, though it will spare me little to continue to sit out here in the sun in my underwear, still pouring — drenched as if i leapt into a lake. a lake of warm, salty water. 
the web of dissipating cigar smoke probably adds to the relative feeling of too-warm closeness. but better than the lotions and sprays and the little yellow candle at my feet: it keeps the bugs away. indeed, i can actually see them at the boundaries of my expanding fog. testing the outer-most skin of smoke. now that i am more exposed flesh than anything else, they almost seem mad to have at me.

the roosters just on the other side of the wall are crowing furiously. at, i suspect, nothing. they are jerks. they wail all night. and most of the day. are they just complaining? “it’s too hot! it’s too dark!” more likely: “it’s too quiet.”
it is beautiful here. but it is never quiet. things on boats in the harbor… they start clanging and rattling early. speeding across the water and bouncing off both sides of the harbor (which is walled in by cliffs on one side and… us on the other). it is never quiet — the insects would be loud enough if the birds weren’t convulsing their high-pitched sirens at irregular intervals during the day. even the wind, disturbing all the flora on its way here or there — it’s loud. if i don’t hear the usual sounds of Brooklyn: a drunken man staggering home singing tuneless doo-wop; the distracting doppler of ambulances headed for the hospital; an idling car pumps biggie smalls and the bass rattles the windows and trunk like loose teeth in a big mouth. all those regular interruptions back home of tomb-silent city-corner. and they lull me to sleep.

here, the constant, ever-shifting noise prevents the ears from ever falling on any one thing at any one time. it is troubling. wild and untamed. disordered, discordant, disturbing. and yet, if you step back far enough, it is a perfectly white canvas of never-ending noise. 

and little, heart-felt melodies stand out like blood on a white fence. they stand out. and, like blood, they will stay there if you don’t wipe them away quickly.



more bright, artificial lights. salt air. low slung tables. raw, particolored fish in long, supple dishes. time spools out slowly in this hub surrounded by the ocean. 
so many people in white. clothes either so loose they look like happy scarecrows — or so tight, my eyes trip over bumps in the flesh beneath the breathless garments.

cigarette smokes mingle in mid-air with at least three distinct languages. often, four. 
my Nord keyboard is, i realize, in a moment of internal mirth — a crappy old joke: black and white, and red all over.
drinking. glasses. geometric music-shapes. smiles disguised as pouts. desires disguised as hands. every one throws lighting through the air. the musicians are walked through, like shadows. sometimes, trespassers shiver, look around themselves, and move on.
i feel like i am all teeth. all gnashing.
but every thing is soft. un-cooked. and ripe.




About akiebermiss

pianist, composer, singer, writer. hater.
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