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what i was reading at the noontz on 10/08:
gone good are days of long and lonely suffering when the window shingles (fermata, algernon, and caribou) conspire with words like reckon or dragoon master willister to confound us.
Ours was the house seen from the road. But only the back door and the bedroom window above, framed by trees on either side. If you had a pretty dress mother or one moment to rest upon the stairs I would have told you that not far from here I impressed a girl by saying: ‘the trumpet is the most beautiful sculpture I’ve ever seen’.
Years ago The Noontz was one of my favorite places to go because not only was The Noontz itself a place to go but there was a place to go inside The Noontz that not many people (maybe 40?) knew about. There was a room behind the coat room that we could slip into through a kind of half-door behind the coats. We called this room “The Room” as in see you at The Room at The Noontz. This room shared a wall with one of the smaller bars inside the Noontz. On that shared wall was a small window that opened and closed (we usually kept it open) through which we received our nightly fuel. The Noontz is still open but new owners have walled over the half-door that led to The Room behind the coat room. There wasn’t anything fancy about The Room—no talking lions or white witches—but we felt we were each “one of the living” in there. The feeling was good anyway.
The first time I went into The Noontz itself some guy introduced himself to me as Archie (nickname for Art he said) and showed me a long knife he kept in his jacket. He told me he had enemies in there (he pointed them out to me), that he collected stamps, and that if I wanted to meet his girlfriend that was okay with him. I remember telling him that maybe it wasn’t safe for him there but he said he’d be okay as long as he was talking to me. He said there’s some Prince vs. Michael Jackson thing going on in the city and that he was a Michael Jackson guy (even though his girlfriend was a Prince girl) and The Noontz was Prince territory. I was like “uhm, okay”. He told me not to be fooled by his appearance (biker gang) because he graduated from university with a Botany degree. After a few drinks he said he had to leave but wanted me to walk at least to the entrance/exit with him. I did but I couldn’t leave because I was waiting for someone. It was after he rode off on his bike and I turned around to go back into The Noontz that I saw someone slip into what I later knew as The Room. After going to The Noontz a few more times and getting to know the coat girl I was allowed to go into The Room whenever I wanted. The Room didn't last long--maybe 8 months--but of course it was better that way (like most things are).
There are many stories to tell about The Room and what happened there but they're all very delicate and prone to damage-by-explananation so probably best to leave them untold.
My biographer Maria took a couple of photographs of me reading in the coat room. The owners allowed me to do it as long as I blended into the coats (therefore the coat-like flannel hoodie) so as not to turn away their patrons (who actually watched me read without knowing that they were).