Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem
Cannot hold you to its heat.
Your temperature’s too hot for taming,
Your flaming feet burn up the street.
I still drive by the place, every once in a while; I gave it a quick
glance the other evening, like I always do, when I passed it on the way
to Jimmy’s tavern. We went there a few weeks ago. It’s now a
Bolivian joint, and we were the only English speakers in the place.
“Donde tu–where would you like to sit?”
How things change.
Yes, it was overpriced — anyone who requested one of their $6 cans of
Guinness would tell you the same thing. The food was good, but the
bands were terrible, and the atmosphere variable. Really, I was
surprised to see the place stay open as long as it did, and everytime I
went there, I half-expected it find it closed.
One day, Revolution finally did just that. For all of its
idiosyncracies and questionable business plans, though, I still miss
it. Most of all, however, I miss Angie.
I am homeless, come and take me
Into reach of your rattling drums.
Let me know, babe, about my fortune
Down along my restless palms.
While I no longer remember her surname, birthday, or any of the little
details that used to be so clear, I can still recall her finer features.
Part Italian, part Cherokee, she had a Jersey attitude and a
bohemian spirit. Maybe that’s why she disappeared the way she did.
Now, we all know the Cardinal Rule of barhopping, of
course…Thou shalt not covet thy bartender nor thy
waitress. Generally, I never had any problem with this; when it
came to Angie, however, all those rules flew out the window.
Gypsy gal, you got me swallowed,
I have fallen far beneath
Your pearly eyes, so fast an’ slashing,
An’ your flashing diamond teeth.
I started going for java, but it wasn’t long before I gave up my coffee
cup for a pint glass. Shortly thereafter, Angie joined the staff. My
first interaction with her was when I ordered a Bass, along with my
Guinness… she brought me my beverages, and a crooked
“Will this help?,” she asked, and, for the first time, I caught a glance
of those eyes, that grin… traits that became so
familar, in the months to come.
The night is pitch black, come an’ make my
Pale face fit into place, ah, please!
Let me know, babe, I got to know, babe,
If it’s you my lifelines trace.
Now, I feel it’s necessary to clarify something: I freely admit that, from the beginning, my desires to know Angie were anything but pure; It was unrequited eros, plain and simple. I wasn’t the only one, either… there were plenty of guys that passed through that bar who, after catching a glimpse of those leather pants bent over the ice chest, had similar thoughts.
Regardless, the longer I knew her, the more I enjoyed our conversation, despite the fact that, in retrospect, it would be ridiculous to have entertained any consideration that I’d ever be with her. I still have no regrets about the money spent, time wasted — or time spent wasted — in that dimly-lit, copper-tinged bar, under her watch. Angie was a great conversationalist, and despite my introversion, I found it easy to talk with her.
I been wond’rin’ all about me
Ever since I seen you there.
On the cliffs of your wildcat charms I’m riding,
I know I’m ’round you but I don’t know where.
Angie was no lady. She’d buy and toss back shots of Grand Marnier
with me when the coast was clear, and never once did she have qualms
about giving someone a royal, verbal shellacking if they were
belligerent. When I ended up there, during a weeknight, for one
particularly lonely birthday, she aided me with more than
a few choice words as we together berated the crummy band for wishing a
“Happy Valentines Day” to this bunch of single saps, drinking by
Angie bought my drinks for me that night. She also kissed me.
“Happy Birthday, hon,” she whispered. If I don’t remember
much else about that night, this moment was nonetheless etched in stone.
It was also the only time this happened.
You have slayed me, you have made me,
I got to laugh halfways off my heels.
I got to know, babe, will I be touching you
So I can tell if I’m really real.
Things began to go to hell at Revolution, shortly thereafter.
Angie accidentally served a minor on a frenzied night, despite looking
at the girl’s license. One of the waiters got caught smoking weed
outside the bar, by one of the owners. In general, the karma of the
place was getting worse by the day. They tried new menus, new music,
but by then, it was too late. The whole thing even got to me, one of
their most frequent customers. I decided I needed a break.
About two months later, I decided to stop by. I drove down there,
got out of my truck, walked up to the door to discover a sign.
REVOLUTION IS CLOSED INDEFINITELY
I still kept in touch with some of the others I used to see there, but
never saw Angie again. Jessica went off to college, and we’d talk every
once in a while, whenever she was in town. Sometimes she’d IM me.
That eventually faded with time, too.
Months have sinced passed. I’ve been with my current girlfriend for
well over a year now, and things are very happy. Jessica messaged me
the other day, though. It’d been a while, but it was good to hear from
her. She asked me if I’d ever heard from Angie. I said that I hadn’t;
Neither had she. Seems strange, the two of them used to chat all the
Temporarily, our discussion made all those memories come flooding
back. I have a feeling that no one really knows where Angie went; She
used to talk with me about getting out of this town, and I have a
feeling that she took Revolution’s closing as an opportunity to do so.
They say that amputees sometimes get a phantom itch, where their
arm or leg used to be. Sometimes, when I’m in a dusky bar, drinking a
Guinness, I still feel that if I look up from my drink, I’ll see Angie
there, giving me grin, waiting to make some wise-ass remark.
“Spanish Harlem Incident” lyrics by Bob Dylan,
(c)1964, 1992 Special Rider Music.