NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 100

III IV V On the dock, boats drifting lightly in the wind alongside, Zock smelled the kelp and seaweed. Oh, wildest of women, our oldest mystery and ancestor, and always young. How can this be? You strike unending chords when we join you and even sing us your stories in our dreams. Could this be why I honor you like a mother? To be cleansed by each tumbling wave, each time my senses discover a new sensation when I see, touch, smell you, listen to the breakers, scan the textures, and breathe your deepest currents. You’re a complete drama, Sea. Do you know that? Of course how could you not. Tonight, even the moon glows in your name. And the stars are also your keepers. They know your depths speak for their children as well. The night has told me its party time. Turning the corner of Sixth Avenue, music blared from an open window whirling out blue notes of light; notes of percussion, notes of brass, notes of saxophones. He hesitated when reaching the outer door, not sure what he would say, if somebody stopped him and said, “Well, who are you?” He climbed the long stairway with his bottle of wine, slowly though, and with some reluctance. He reached the door and knocked three times for luck. A young woman appeared, and said, “Come on in, we’re a friendly house of strangers.” With his pace no longer aimless, no longer directionless, his shoes clicked with the dark a rhythm that eased him into an easy step down the street. Besides, there’s the thirst; the desire for a drink. No escape; I had my escape down at the beach. Just a drink or two, to have the noise begin again, to hear familiar chatter, laughs, witness the occasional smile, see those occasional eyes ablaze with song and yearning. To leave the eyes and follow the line of the nose down to half-opened lips, moist and iridescent. Yes, with a little luck, I might meet a woman who is interested in sitting, having a drink, without becoming frightened, without being afraid to let her hair dangle in her face, without worrying whether her make-up is still on, without needing to run to the mirror for assurances, or go to the other side of the room, to withdraw into herself. And maybe this will be the night there’s no struggle in saying how are you, and I’m terrific, and what’s your name, my name’s, Zock. Maybe this will be the night when I say, ‘Hi, I just came from an incredible walk by the sea, and don’t you know that the sea’s almost as alive and sweet as you,’ without feeling nervous, without needing to qualify the moment, or to say, ‘I had a wonderful early evening, and it was a pleasant interlude to meeting you.’ Well, so much for that. At least he’s inside. He thinks the woman’s a bit flip, but sure has a cute little butt. Swish. Swish. Swish. He looked around the room bulging with people drinking in the elliptical light. First impressions brought no one he knew into focus in the clanking darkness. As his eyes adjusted to the blue light, he drew back abruptly; his muscles tightened. On the far side of the room was a man he had hoped never to see in this condition, or in any condition. “Hell,” he says under his breath, “he sees me too. At another party I made the foolish mistake of calling him nickel and dime. An ego-maniac. The creep looks like he’s about to jump on his war-pony and gallop off with my scalp. Help. The air’s as spiky as the room’s tense. The guy looks as if he wants to carve his hate marks across my face.” Zock wonders if he should show him how it’s done? Since the guy saw him right away, it’s certain he can’t leave. The creep would give anything to call out loud that Zock’s a coward. What a bad joke this has become. Zock’s trapped in the guy’s hostility. How long has it been going on? 98 He stood in the moonlight among the red cedars, not moving, thinking, or losing, and listened to the green churn settle in his bones and float through his veins. “Right, you are,” bellowed Second self. “Time to play.” BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 98 3/29/15 11:42 AM