Marine Layer

Loveliest of evenings long passed
close kissed in dark dwelling alley
irate tenants hissing us go away
and we felt the marine layer coming.

Felt with our youthful tongues day
and night passing slowly into the mix
of salt and hair and wet sandpaper
rubbing away our persistent presents.

And while yesterday we had sun
today we have none though they say
the globe is warming you wear your
flannel nightgown winter and summer.

Weathered Weary Blues Band

Hotel Julian. Bunkroom. Jack Tar. Blues. 

Room 293, my room for the week, viewed Port Street, below the monthly rooms on the third floor of Hotel Julian and above the hourly and daily rooms on the first floor. Also on the first floor, located above the ground floor grocery, was a bunk or barracks room with twelve canvas and steel spring cots let by the night, two rows of six, one on each side, a three foot aisle down the middle. The Bunkroom opened at 7 in the evening and guests had to be out by 7 the next morning. The Barracks was closed during the day. A communal latrine at the end of the room served personal needs. Other than use of the latrine for cleaning and relief, the Bunkroom, or Barracks, was for sleeping only. The room was open to men or women, but not to couples. Singles only. But how Julian enforced that rule, I don’t know. Bunkroom conversation, if there was any, was sotto voce. If Hotel Julian guests wanted to hear or make noise, they climbed the back fire escape up to the rooftop, where an outdoor bar and grill, open to guests only, featured a house blues band Thursday through Sunday nights. The rooftop was closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and open from 9pm to midnight the other nights. I checked into Hotel Julian on a Monday, and it was a few nights later when I climbed the fire escape to the roof to hear the Weathered Weary Blues Band. Apparently, the band consisted of only one regular player, a guitarist who went by the name Jack Tar, and whether he came on alone or was joined by other players, he went by the Weathered Weary Blues Band. I got up to the rooftop around 9:30 and counted 9 folks including myself in the audience. I sat at a table in the rear and ordered a beer. But the tide was in and so was the fleet, and soon the rooftop filled to capacity, about 40 of us listening as Jack introduced none other than my disappeared flower girl who started in on “The Blues are Brewin,” accompanied by Jack Tar lovingly stroking an acoustic Gibson with a bottle neck on this little finger and a tall thin fellow blowing and sucking fills on harmonica. Up on the roof was lovely, and while dangerous waters might have been rising below, we paid that no mind as we got stuffed to the gills with the blues but never felt full.

“Weathered Weary Blues Band”
is episode 21 of
Ball Lightning
a Novel in Progress
in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.
(Click link for continuous, one page view of all episodes.)

Weather Retort

Sunset over PacificDay One: A trance of rain, ear churn momute.

Day Two: Slide high noontide, sundersthorms plate.

Day Three: Moistly scattered sneers and a few frizzles.

Day Four: Chants of wrinkles, dartly cloudy and chowdery.

Day Five: Humility Poor Boy Talls, Barometer IPA 75%.

Day Six: Moggy, very low viability.

Day Seven: Topical air mass pew point, wind clam.

Extended Forecast:

  • Thick hot pine tar air dropping from powerful trees.
  • Rosemary, basil, garlic, and spearmint mixing with tales of salt water.
  • Soft golden sun boiling over salsa garden.
  • Bare feet in wet sand, nibbled by sand crabbed bubbles.
  • Plenty of weather to write or not in the forecast. Some pressure to publish sun only.