[Revisions of this poem about a struggling young rock vocalist &
offering in passing some Arts Advocacy perspectives,
started in '03 & continued in '04 & 3/05 editions of this website]
There's one thing at least, I think I Can Count On In Life! Which is
In this, our ever-changing, uncertain, & highly wayward world
My talented 20-year-old next-door rock-performer neighbor in NYC
whose lovely, often poignantly yearning but sometimes wildly soaring voice
I cannot help but hear as she rehearses
Echoing across our mutual hallway, every weekday morning from Monday thru Friday--
& Who to make ends meet, tells me she has to hold down two jobs--
One job (which she hates), working Mondays thru Fridays as a waitress
at a downtown Manhattan cocktail-lounge at suppertime;
& The other job (which she loves), performing on weekends at rock-clubs in the Village
as lead singer in a Rock-&-Roll Band--
Will, every Friday night, at the end of her week's waitressing work,
regularly set out beside the door of her apartment for recycling
A large white empty carton marked with great big red white & blue letters,
spelling out always "Folonari"
--That is, a full case weekly of a dozen empty bottles
Containing only lately, lots of red, red wine....
& Each Friday night when I see one of those cartons--as I cannot help
but do when taking out
things to our mutual hallway to recycle, too--
What I find myself imagining first thing, is that for reasons I think I can understand
My next-door neighbor has been celebrating!
Celebrating first of all, finishing up yet another all-too-tedious waitressing
week at what she terms
her "regular, straight-world-gig"--a job which she insists (like so many other young artists who perform such secondary work to make a living) is "only a temporary, back-up-type job"
--Temporary since as she told me once in passing, in a voice wrenched
with bitterness & pain, she can't yet find full-time work as a musician;
& Celebrating second of all, the immediate prospect of finally getting away (hooray!)
from the things in her regular weekday routine which bore her,
in order to perform the more fulfilling work on weekends
Which according to my ears at least, she sounds born for!
And what I also imagine from some of the songs I've heard my talented
young neighbor sing,
which echo through our mutual hallway & thru my doorway weekday mornings,
With lyrics declaring that "Rock-&-Roll Will Live Forever" & that Rock can "change the world"
& maybe even "revolutionize" it
Is that young as she is, my gifted neighbor already realizes full well
That some of the things which can happen to talented people in this world
Are unfair & sometimes seem almost intolerable!
I realize of course that my description of my young neighbor's lifestyle,
replete with speculations
on her mostly unspoken hopes & dreams & aspirations
May involve all kinds of Fantasy on my part, replete with lots of guesswork &
wild & rash assumptions; & that I may be saying all this at the risk
of crediting my young neighbor perhaps just a bit too much
By presenting her here--what with her apparent disappointment in "The Real" & her apparent
yearning for "The Ideal"--as some kind of profound Greek or Roman thinker
Or maybe American-style, rough-hewn Transcendentalist Philosopher
--Someone who goes into action sort of like a soldier, making raids on
the boring status quo
to earn an uninspiring if modestly sustaining living, week-nights Mondays thru Fridays
Between temporary "cease-fires" when she performs her music & practices her art
& when the world seems relatively right to her
--On weekends, at her Rock-&-Roll club-dates, nightly on Saturday & Sunday
--Yes, I realize full well that some of my ideas about my talented,
struggling young neighbor's
life in NYC & its related Folonari-carton mystery
May just be pure Fantasy on my part & maybe even just plain baloney
& That what's really going on across that hallway is that my talented young neighbor just may
(albeit perhaps somewhat inordinately)
Simply like the taste of "Folonari" !
Anyway, whether or not I'm "projecting," speaking for myself
I must confess that sometimes I feel the same way about life--an artist's life especially!--
that I think my neighbor does
& Sometimes wish on virtually any terms & however temporarily
That I too could find some easy escape or egress or exit by some side-corridor
from the injustices & the tedium & the indifference & the sheer disorder
Which dominate this world as it now stands
--Especially when it calls for people of talent to perform work to make a living or
Simply to survive, which they're not best suited for...
& Though I myself dislike the taste of alcohol, including wine as
I try to take the long view & avoid being judgmental
About what comforts in life may sometimes be taken by worthy people
held back by financial necessity or mere circumstance
--But talented young artists especially,
Who, remembering my own struggling young years, my heart especially goes out to...
And I suppose that--if taken in moderation--that
relatively inexpensive, mild red wine called
is among those things which offer
About as harmless & handy
A temporary vacation from this harsh world as any.
Folonari Red Wine. Poetry about a young
rock vocalist & about the temporary, straight-world gigs artists
often have to take.
With sympathy for talented young artists of all kinds in relation to their struggles in a non-virtual & often harsh reality.
Within this poem is a vignette in verse of one aspiring young musician's life in NYC. Also present: Arts Advocacy perspectives.
Poem drafted in 1990. Webversion © 2002 by Michael Benedikt. Revisions, 2004 & 2005. Top
All Poems At This Site
Ideas & Cherished Philosophies
The Thesaurus; Or, From A Childhood Rita & Ringo
Right In The Middle Of Everything Folonari Red Wine
Time Is A Toy Of Panty-Lines That Show
Of Granny Smith's Green Apples
Of Sexual Style Einstein 'A Professor Of Practicality'
'Your Life Is Your Own Life...' Of 'Turning Away From The World'
'Time Is A Toy'
Home Page of 'The Thesaurus & Other New Verse'