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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

"None of us are Free"

That's Solomon Burke, singing in the dark in my studio.
And then he says "One of us are chained."

If one of us is chained, none of us are free.

It's more than a provocative thing to crow about, on a darker blues compilation I recently discovered. The world is getting very small. I share thoughts, perceptions and jokes with people thousands of miles away. My night is their morning, and we laugh as one. There is something really comforting about this. I may walk alone, pulling my scarf close to my throat on strange sidewalks - - but I am surrounded by people that care.

I recently threw a golden ruble into the street. It had rested in my left pocket for almost eight years. It was supposed to bring me luck, and I protected it religiously. I did let anyone touch it. In truth, I do not think it brought me anything but heartache and false hope. One night a few weeks ago, I passed some street musicians and randomly decided to give them a handful of the lucky money from my left pocket. The sheepish, mumbling fellows dropped their guitars and chased me down the passageway to thank me and shake my hand. I suddenly realized the golden ruble was one of the coins I had given them. In a heartbeat, they had inspected the change and realized I had given them some gold. The dark haired one quickly gave me the coin back - -he knew it was a mistake. Of course, I felt relieved and went on my way.

It was later that very same night that I realized the coin was desperately trying to get away from me, and I had screwed up a beautiful escape plan. I promptly went out on the balcony and threw the golden coin into the darkness. It fell on some grass, or a clump of dirt. Not as poetic, but hopefully free.

Maybe someone will find it in the spring, I thought.

Comments

brenda said…
yeah, like me, maybe. Find it in the spring, i mean. i would so love to be there, m. i miss it. but you, you are my lifeline. Even in the very dark times.

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