Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nostos + Algos

4:28 p.m. Tues, May 19th, Starbucks Coffee, Clematis Street

- Clematis has changed. Across the street, a Duffy's Sports Grill that wasn't there. A gastropub, a bar, a sushi place, a burger bar, a bar, nothing I remember...The horizon toward the water has all been rouged-up. Like the cheeks of a sad-luck tart named Bourbon Street.

- The Dramaworks theater remains - who knows how - a consortium of gold-fobbed fogies who have found the perfect vessel for their legacy. The Clematis Newstand remains, but they've lost all their books. Now it's infinite rows of Hallmark Cards. Remains is right. Books have gone the way of the dodo.

- A few years ago, the library was relocated and the edifice torn down. I can't fault the city planners who came up with that. We are now afforded a marvelous view of the Flagler Dr. boardwalk. The former library was a giant lummox that deadened Clematis, an enormous hulky obstruction, like a freighter that blocks the view from your minty Mediterranean spa.

- A view of Palm Beach across the Lake is dangerous. You don't want everyone thinking they can be one of the haves.

- An elderly man with thick varicosed legs walkers on by with tennis balls on the soles of his shoes. Just swinging his jowls, happy clam. It's amazing to think how sometimes a man becomes his prop.

- I can't tease out the palm trees. Palm Trees. I think I've always taken them for granted. Some cities don't have palm trees, but now writing the word I've discovered a foreign element in it. Palm Trees. Something that doesn't sound right or seem true. Have I lived with palm trees my entire life? I've felt something else, I think.

- A table to my right: The entire time I've been writing, 2 of the 3 women have not taken off their sunglasses. They're thick in the shadow of an awning. Now the third has just put hers on. What is this?
Happy hour.

- It is nice here in the shade of the Starbucks umbrella. I think of the shade of the banyans just behind the old library, now only in memory. I first read and hated Catcher in the Rye under those trees: Sunfest '99, leisurely, lazily, reaping the idylls of a South Florida childhood. Now instead of trees, a desperate lawn free from shade. There's a repulsive quadrangular edifice where couples with no taste get married. And dull grass.

- I'm looking East to the water from Starbucks. Waiting for the inspiration to come.

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