Max’s on Broadway

13 Jan

There was the time I got lost in Baltimore at 3 a.m. after the gig at Max’s.
I hated Baltimore for its lack of geometric grid layout.
I lived there twenty years and got lost every time I stepped outside my neighborhood.
After the gig, I spent a couple of hours at my friend’s flat on West Conway sweating through shots of Cabo and lime, and what seemed like an endless stream of backgammon games .
He was an artist.
He made tables at night.
(He blasted cancer patients with radiation during the day.)
And then, before I got into the car, I went and puked out all the bile in front of the gates at Camden Yards.
A little present for Cal Ripken.
Thinking it was a good thing.
Thinking the blood-alcohol level had been somehow ameliorated and wouldn’t register if I had to blow.
I had my kit broken down and stacked into six pieces in the back of the VW.
I got turned around at The Block in a thick, dense layer of alcohol-induced confusion and disorientation, and decided to park and go get a drink somewhere.
The girls were out working.
A man came to the car window and said: —Lemme kick on them drums, yo.
I told him they were broken down and besides, there were holes in a couple of heads.
He said: —If you lookin’ for 95, you gotta make a youey right there. And he pointed.
Parts of The Block reminded me of Philly, somehow; the Courthouse.
The barkeep poured into a dirty shot glass.
There were girls working there.
One came up and put her hand all around and said: —I bet you ain’t had chocolate love before.
I didn’t have money for her.
She left without getting angry.
A man was eating bloody steak at the bar and looking up continuously at the screen.
The girl touched him and gave him the same line.
He didn’t take his eyes off the television.
A swing and a hit and back to the anchor making some obscurantist, undecipherable, smart-ass joke.
The usual baseball highlights.
Spectacular catches, dazzling double-plays, the requisite homer down center field.
It was a lousy night to be lost.
—If you’re lookin’ for 95, you gotta go down East Baltimore and make a youey at Pollock Johnny’s.
That’s what the barkeep said.
After I left I went and slept in Patterson Park.
Some homeless man on a bench kept saying Life ain’t supposed to be this way.

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3 Responses to “Max’s on Broadway”

  1. Slyboots 16/01/2009 at 12:41 PM #

    Funny thing about this one is that I can’t imagine it without cold. It needs to be very, very cold, and your breath needs to be smokey in the air. Don’t know why, but that was my first reaction.

  2. Geoff 16/01/2009 at 4:15 PM #

    I like the repeated images, Alex — the working girls, for example. The first person gives us a view of all that we can’t have (from the girls to the steak). And then … we’re really not so sure we want ANY of it the first place, but it’s shoved in our faces, makes us look, brings out the hunger.

  3. (S)wine 16/01/2009 at 4:19 PM #

    I love how this guy keeps being handed unsolicited directions to get the hell out of there.

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