The Marlin 2017

Without getting up from his place at the door,

The man checks I.D.s with a static approval.

After embracing the warm entrance,

The smell of cigarettes and alcohol violates the nasal.

Moving with soft spoken “excuse me” and “sorry” tensions,

Past bodies camouflaged by the gentle lighted expressions.

The ceiling is decorated with reds, oranges, greens, and blues,

Hues that awaken a feeling of duplication.

They are strangers that all look the same,

Like piles of repetition -doppelgangers sympathizing each other.

Faces bearing evident exhaustion,

Yet a sense of pleasure in the social precautions.

Beside stomping worn shoes and winter boots,

The ground is un-swept and the furniture un-organized.

Signed bills and posters litter on the ceiling out of reach,

This place adorns its unique name with pride.

Character flows to, from, and within these walls,

Inspired by the deep notes of the performer.

The keyboard player who looks up periodically lending a stare,

Shadows veil any sense of aesthetic physical qualities.

Leaving only his music exposed for appreciation, as it may be.

Distractedly, the doorman announces his stuffed nose,

Perhaps from cold that breaks into this basement.

Perhaps from the insistent exposure to the wafting chill,

Of the patrons bidding endless salutations.

It breaks the momentary spell with realization,

That this vice does not grant immortal existence.

Still there is this perception of eternity,

In the glossy eyes that form the audience.

Welcome the next singer,

Who comes in company of her own guitar,

And brings out the emotional melody of a virtuous muse.

A chuckle from across the room –the obliged pitch of flirtation.

The crash of a glass to the floor –the fumble of expectation.

Unfamiliar voices in and out –they swell and smooth,

Like crashing waves at the tail of a drunken hurricane,

Colliding harshly into the bouldering, stoic behavior of sobriety.

In this land of dreamers,

Nothing truly matters.

Except the building rhythm…

The search for sparked attraction…

And the laughter that carries the heart.

In the swarm induced by the spirit of tonic,

Voices and souls uniting in earnest connection,

Forming the most peaceful, jolly grin.

Brings the joy from the outside, to within.

Every Wednesday night around 11pm one could find me down in the basement-bar that is The Marlin located off College Road in Fairbanks.  During this weekly open mic night event, there would always be lots of interesting and unique artists, accompanied usually by easy going excitement in the air that often ended up in dancing or signing along. There was something magical about those moments there, some melodic combination of enthusiasm and contentment; watching the crowd become hypnotized or dance to the songs, hearing the long-drawn notes of one of the musicians, sharing their expression of emotion while feeling this subtle sense of joy… It was something indescribable enough and even my attempt to put it to words here doesn’t do it justice. Those days are greatly missed, and I’m sad to say that the Marlin closed it’s doors during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps it is better this way, where this experience was one of those things only available for a certain time… Regardless, it has a fond place in my heart.

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