the spoils of our lives
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the spoils of our lives (existentially, a happy man)
Wednesday night was amazing.
Although it was a late night at the office
I was thankful for having to linger behind,
for it was just long enough to find
a wet sheet of cool rain covering
the grimy rues of Manhattan
as I left the building.
The gleam reflecting off the city streets
seemed to say, in a glimmering way,
that the laboring grit, the political grime,
the stains of sin, and the sordid crime
all had been wiped away—once again,
swiped clean from the blathering
face of Babylon
And so, I walked on in wonder of how fresh it all felt.
A tingling thunder of ions crackled loosely in the air,
the iridescent effect coloring brightly everywhere
every vibrating, happening hue.
And as I breathed deeply
in the late lush of the evening’s splendor,
I sighed an ode, sweet and tender,
in utter awe.
This pleasantly invigorating passage home was the perfect preface to what was to be a rather musically pleasant evening.
For after stripping away the monkey suit and stripping down to a pair of twilight-blue shorts, hunger drove me to meander to the cutting board where I sliced off a chunky quarter of a round pound of fresh mozzarella and slid it between some smoked Bresaola and two halves of one slice of toasted sourdough, which I drizzled with golden-green extra-virgin olive oil and peppered delicately with a sprinkle of dried chipolte chile. Yum.
The fact that this savory-flavory and fun food was waiting for me in the fridge also pleased me to no end, for I cannot deny that fortune has left little reason for me to complain or claim want of any delectable nourishment.
So, after the meticulous preparation I sat down eager to consume my masterprize of appetizing dried meat and white cheese, and with equal vim put on my headphones to sink into an incredible world of euphony and ever-transient enchantment.
Moreover, I got to watch my favorite moving picture—the undulating, turning, twisting, stasis-defying illusions of the iTunes random-ator, which dives and drives magical swirls of music through cyberspace. Its swath of synchronous aberrations invigorate the soul as red and gold flowers come and go and a techincolor garden blossoms before your bedazzled eyes in insubordinate counts of time that ignore the usual run and rime of the seasons. The variety of visual trickery was ever so delightfully beguiling in its ephemeral way, alternating between psychedelic displays of floral flourishes and surreal portraits of animate fauna—spaghetti bowls of worms whirling and twirling, riding upon waves whorling down white holes to burrow at the center of this sonic mayhem of electronic chaos.
The audible odyssey I was ultimately to sojourn upon for the next few hours was a fantastic journey where I stowawayed en lieu of much needed sleep. Fighting against prudence and existential common sense, in the end whim won, and I stayed up mischievously until midnight.
Oh, and what a delightfully fey truancy it was…
The sweeping, swinging, swaying buzz of compositions orchestrated by Billy May, inviting Dino Dean Martin to sing carols of True Love, and quickly an reverently put me in the mood for the gay melodies and siren calls and pulsating rhythm which were all to come.
Next, Frank tantalized with a croon of “sighing sighs”…and soon my eyes and ears were seeing and hearing and feeling the music in the breeze.
Every song and rap and ballad I played seemed to tease my with devilish guile; and the all the wile of vibrant and soothing sensations filled me with such positive flare and élan, that I got the urge to get on the table and lithely tiptoe a moonlit ode to Fred Astaire.
Elvis soon lit my heart on fire, burning it with a strange desire, as he asked me to Surrender, while the moon shined bright above. And then, with his trademark riveting snarl, he borrowed a little stardust to take this night of magic and make it into a night of love.
Oh, how these earth angels above did sing! And to think that their divining chant was all for me!
Like a Dummy pining aloss, I pulsed in yearning to a Portishead melody, which haunted me like a Stranger wandering wearily in search of his lost dove; in respite, Stereolab invited me to Come and Play in the Milky Night, while Luther pleaded and professed there is Never Too Much love. The Beastie Boys raucously bragged about their Brass Monkey—that funky monkey, chunky, funky monkey—and Stanley Black dotted and dabbed and stabbed a punch of keys into the piano playing Os Quindos del Ya Ya.
For dessert a sweet blurt of Mexican trumpets were followed by a blaze of the amazingly versatile voice of Bobby Darin, whose Splish Splash tossed me catatonically, as I joyously danced in my seat.
And to top it all, Claude Challe offered creamy libations to Buddha, the taste of which made it all seem like the wonderfully sonorous dream that it was.
At intermission I treated myself to a triple-stack of light and gooey, deliciously chewy, Pamelas’ peanut butter all-natural cookies. As I masticated in ecstasy I thought, “Life cannot get any better.”
I continued on my fantastic journey by turning off all the lights, leaving only the stars and candlelight to illuminate my thoughts as I penned them to paper.
In the shadows of my private romance I snuck in a scratch, grating with careless whim, scraping with a sanguine vim that made me feel Alive! Vigorous to the quick, the abrasion made me tick with great eagerness to return to the plush tenor of my headphone-enhanced transitive journey.
At the edge of midnight, a duo made of the majestic romance of Mozart as interpreted by Metha, Perlman, and Stern, and a dulcet set of boleros, those moving Spanish ballads of love and loss that I adore, worked ensemble to lull me into a state fit for a few good hours of slumber.
In retrospect, not only was the night filled with wonder, but Wednesday, all day, actually was quite wonderful in many more ways than one.
For starters, I wrote three new pieces; I participated in a important project with my boss which he has been belly-aching over for a while, and one which I took over while he is out for the high holy days. Positively, as a result he exalted my contributions and was especially satisfied to see that I was so easy-going about having to stay late.
And then, of course, I stayed up late to lounge and listen in the private sanctum of my music library, and what an incredibly satisfying and euphonic experience it was. It was made all the more gratifying when I realized how lucky I was to be conscious of the effort to actually enjoy the spoils of our lives. Because, quite like pirates, many of us never really relish our hoarded troves, as we are always on the go, out and about, sailing the seven seas, searching for more opportunities to plunder and vie for more.
Moreover, I got to sleep alone and wake up alone, undisturbed by anyone.
So let it be known, should suddenly my soul not wake or some menace decides to take me away from this earth, I did not perish in vain, for on Wednesday night I realized how truly happy I existentially am.
“When I am at home, I am more often than not in my library—as fine a one as you will find out in the country. It is situated above my gateway; and beneath me I can see my garden, courtyard, farmyard, and almost every part of the building—in a trice I can overlook all the concerns of my house. There you will find me thumbing one book after another in snatched, without method or plan. Sometimes I muse; sometimes—walking to and fro—I make notes and dictate such reflections as you now may read.
My library is my kingdom, and here I try to make my rule absolute—shutting off this single nook from wife, daughter, and society. Elsewhere I have only a verbal authority, and vague (at that).
We should all of us set apart for ourselves a little back shop, wholly free and out own—there to establish our true library, our solitude and retreat. There we must entertain ourselves with ourselves—to laugh and talk as if without family, goods, train, or attendance; so if it comes to pass that we lose any or all of these, it will mean no new thing to do without them.
Unhappy is the man, in my opinion, who has no spot at home where he can be at home to himself—to court himself and hide away.”
~ Essays, My Library in the Tower,
Michel de Montaigne