Sunset, Schmunset


My coworker is a rapper. This means that when I go to his shows I get to have that awkward water cooler experience with a sprinkling of coworkers that show up to the show as well, only this time under deafening circumstances. On a Friday night.

As awful as that sounds, the show last night was boatloads of fun. (I said “boatloads” to refrain from saying “tons,” my more obvious choice, but now I’m not sure that was a wise decision.)

It was FUN. All caps.

Concerts are great for people watching. Too bad I hate people, and these people are kind of the worst. I swear to God, as soon as I’d get into a beat, this lanky son-of-a-bitch would flail his elbow out and into my ribs in a strange bird dance, and then immediately stop. Not only stop, but resort to an upright position, limbs under control and stroking his chin in a pensive, “Ah, so this is music” gesture. An admirer of art with sudden bursts of bird. This happened at least three times. It was perhaps the strangest behavior pet peeve I’ve ever developed, but it’s nevertheless on my list now.

This show was definitely a collection of “artists.” The kind of town we’re in, that’s the only kind of crowd you can hope to draw to a hip-hop show. One performer was introducing his song up on the stage. “This song is called ‘Natalie.’ Natalie was a girl I knew in high school…”

“I don’t know her anymore.”

Thick silence. A sad little blink.

Then he began to play.

Here’s my beef with that sad little blink. My black heart thumped ever so slightly at “I don’t know her anymore.” As soon as he laboringly reminded us that now was the correct moment to realize “ah, that meant something,” I was over it. The worst part about writing and poetry is that it’s so easy to take it one step too far in the attempt to clarify. Clarity so often is the downfall of a piece of writing. It’s those pieces that appeal to you, perhaps on a subconscious level but at least without the necessity for reminders, that are the most powerful.

Speaking of poetry. Earlier that day, when this rapping coworker of mine was reminding a few others about the show, this guy said something to the effect of “I’m so jealous of you. I’ve always wanted to be musical or artistic like that.” Then he said, “When I see a sunset, all I see is a sunset.”

All I see is a sunset?

That sentence stuck with me all day. I thought about it over and over. Beyond my initial reaction to it, I did a real number to that sentence in my mind, tearing it apart to see what it meant to me. And I’m still not really sure. He had said something extremely simple, with what I assumed was the intention to represent his world view simply, but it was so simple that it somehow commands a more meaningful presence in my head.

That guy seriously said the most thought-provoking and poetic thing I’d heard in months.



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