I stayed home most days, this past spring, twixt shop and flat, my turquoise chair, ever looking out over street and harbor. Like a garbage truck at dawn, change rumbled the green space where in sat my worry-stone. Rival groups of idle young men, fought and swore, women fought, men and idle young women swore and fought. Evening strollers now turned back at the derelict Sushi-Bar. There was however, still singing, always someone singing….Cold White Wine….
He was truly out of place, about our age old, the suitcase he carried not of the type we sold. We heard his singing, below our window, night before the May Day Parade. His guitar in tune lacked the grubby street patina, as did his clothing, a suit tailor made, he clutched no crumpled bag or beer can, from a water bottle between verses he sipped, and this fellows dog not a skinny, scowling mutt, but an apricot poodle, recently clipped.
“Cold White Wine, he sang, I listened to him strum, cast out alone, my dog and I have come, (I opened the window wider, better to hear him play) “I stomped Rannygazoo over those I felt were in my way”. “An arrogant scofflaw, abhorrent of all, did not reward loyalty, oh no not I, I expected others to thank me for their meager pay”.
“Cold White Wine I would savor, after being rude and demanding all day”. “Now the cheery “Salvo’s” hand out toothpaste and bottles of water, the evening dew beads on mine as it lays in the grass”. “As once, not long ago, did the frost on my fine crystal wine glass”.
Our landlady, Mrs Feerce, hollered “Shut Up” in several languages, yelling , “you could not carry a tune in shoe or paper cup- sound like hammered Shite”!. The bewildered poodle howled at the fire sirens, there were many, it was Saturday night. Two “Ladies of the Evening” disappeared through my wall of illusion, narrowly avoiding a fight. Cold White Wine, a breeze from the sea, Mrs Feerce quiet now, carried the music back clearly to me.
“Epipsichidion”, I’m reading I’d say, or drop names like “Proust” to impress, had degrees on office wall, posh old school photos framed on my desk”. Till the day I came home late, found my dog on the porch, ties, and suits in a box- had come” one last time”, was a box that once held Cold White Wine.
I longed to hear what this twit had done, to catapult his decent, from posh home and career to the #50 bus, and Wharf Streets grimy cement. Loud was a convoy of transports passing, floats parade route bound, like too much Cold White Wine , his words were drowned out in the rabble and shouts, the noise we were now inured to. I rose from the depths of my turquoise chair, shut the window.
In the now quiet flat, I felt Godfrey’s presence, as always in the worn, turquoise leather, “My cup I once filled, said he, the sweet welcomed rain, dripped through wild heather”. “Thirst gratefully quenched with a cold orange, handed by laughing child through a passing car window”. “I savored that orange down to bitter rind, gave thanks for the sustenance of crystal spring. “Higher wisdom is oft sought, but not found, bottom bottle of Cold White Wine”.
Over summer, on my worry stone, oft saw the once pompous chap evening time. Relieved of his suitcase, and shining shoes, dog on a rope now, beard and long hair, gone the guitar he bought, in hope of fitting in down there. No Cold White Wine, no quoting “Voltaire”, he reads a worn pulp novel, a”Travis McGee” mystery. When I see him just sit, I recall the 56th Wisdom of the vagabond Godfrey…
And the 56th wisdom states- “Without gates or doors for to shelter or hide, only then can true higher wisdom be sought”. “Its how little one needs, not how much will sustain you, true joy once learned, sweeter than Coldest White Wine can be bought”.