Mary Panza at LarkTavern

Truth be told I was going to write about the shit show election that took place earlier this week.  I was going to do it.  I was going to say that we can’t give up fighting.  I was going to say that we need to get up off of our fat asses and raise our girls to not take this kind of shit from ANYONE.  Not even the president-elect.  I am as going to say, FIGHT THE POWER.  I was going to, until…

Now don’t get me wrong, I am mad as all get out.   It is a fucking mess.  So this morning after I calmed down, I sat down to check my email, bank account, and Facebook.  It is was on Facebook when this memory popped up. The memory was some poems from my old friend Gary Murrow.  There is so much misinformation surrounding Gary.  He has almost become a mythical creature in the minds of many.  He was my friend.  He was my touchstone for many years.  He stopped me in my tracks this morning.

I don’t even really remember how Gary and I met. Could have been the Palais when Rocky was still alive and Jean was bartending.  It could have been a poetry night at the Q.  The details are fuzzy as I was probably drunk and very likely so was Gary.  I remember seeing him around.  He began frequenting the local music shows and then poetry readings.  He always had some honey with him.  He liked his punk rock girls with a soft edge.  Like the girls that waited tables at El Loco back in the day.  I do remember one of the first things he said to me as I walked off stage on night at a Q reading.  He was off in the shadow in between the bar and back room.  He tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, “It is spring”.  It was February.  It was 10 degrees outside.  I remember just looking at him and I said something like, “Yeah, right”.

What an asshole, I thought.  I was right.  He was an asshole.

Flash forward to like 1998 or thereabouts.  We had become pretty good friends.  He was a regular at the bars and parities and readings.  He had a really good rapport with all the groups.  He was funny and sweet.  We had developed a good friendship.  We never had sex.  It wasn’t like that.  I looked “too real” to him.  I still don’t know what that means although I am pretty sure it is as an insult.  He was the one I would sneak lunches with on our days off.  We never told anyone and I would always let him read my poems before I read them in front of an audience.  He gave solid advice and some of it I actually took.  Our lunches would go on until happy hour and sometimes until last call.  We never ran out of things (or people) to talk about.  He never so much as kissed me yet i consider him a great love.  I could’ve never been his actual girlfriend.  He was a scoundrel.  A real love em and leave em type.  He must have had the dick of death because there were many times some girl would come into the real Lark Tavern while I was in the middle of a full  bar and back room and ask me if I knew where he was.  I would always curse him ( God Dammit Gary) and tell the poor, crushed girl that I hope she enjoyed the ride cause he is not going to call.

Today Gary popped up in memory on facebook.  He is the eternal phantom. He left town or maybe just left me around 2001 after 9/11.  He said that it was time for a change.  He said he wanted to see the world before it was too late.  I asked him to let me know, every once in a while, that he was ok.  He never did.  I lost track of him when a ex patriot friend of mine caught sight of him in a hash bar in Amsterdam.  Sounds about right.

I need to thank my old friend Gary today.  He reminded me that it is not all shit.  My memories are good because he is part of them.  I don’t know where my phantom is or if he is OK.   I guess I just wanted to think of something nice today and there was Gary.