Sunday, July 12, 2009

When you get lost...just go somewhere

Do you ever wonder why we get lost sometimes? This is one of those times, where it really wasn't particularly urgent for me to be at a certain place, but I had to make a choice...give up and go home or change my plans. So just like the picture of the musician...sometimes you just have to play.
There is something to be said for the use of landmarks for directions, however when you use landmarks that coincidentally have a few of the same venues all within a block of each turns into a wild goose chase. Kind of like going to an intersection and seeing a Starbucks on each corner. Daegu is like that with their cell phone can have four of the same one not just at an intersection, but also up and down both sides of the street (just a bit of an over saturation problem).
However, as the rains kept coming down...I decided to find someplace to hole up for a bit...and perhaps listen to some music. After navigating my way through the umbrellas and construction areas without having my more practical shoes on, I spotted a place called Martini that had written above the sign...two key words...Live Music.
It was after all Saturday night, and the setting seemed to be a good one. Early enough in the evening to just relax and perhaps catch some entertainment. As I looked at the miniature piano and microphone...there was one thing distinctly missing...customers. I thought with hesitation if I should even go in...but no, immediately I was shown a chair right at the bar by the lovely and cheerful Betty who seemed pleased to practice her English.
As I settled in and gave my order we exchanged stories about our travels, life philosophies, and our observations about the Korean ways of doing things. It was honestly refreshing to hear her point of view of what it is like to be a part of the culture as a woman. She has a distinctly liberated view of how she wants her life to be.

The night was more entertaining than I could have possibly imagined. I was witnessing the real drama of this place trying to keep afloat. As a few customers filtered in and sat down, there was a small group of older (meaning my age) Koreans that ordered a bottle of Hennesey and started doing shots. I politely declined the drink when offered (Whiskey and I parted company a long time ago) and returned to the writing I was working on.

Betty came by and expressed curiosity over what I was working on and I happily showed her and she began to haltingly read the work. Somehow, it was at that moment where I no longer felt I would be lost in translation. So I offered to compose something for her, but she would have to give me the word.

The word she chose was emptiness...and the words flowed...
The Wholeness of Emptiness

The empty glass sits before me
the ice is gone
the alcohol consumed
pouring through me
the emptiness of you.

You were to be
something more than
you are.

An illusion that I dreamed
That you could complete me.
The reality that I had to see
The wholeness of the
emptiness of me
in your eyes
that no longer see.
And at the bottom I inscribed, "For Betty at the Martini Bar - 7.10.2009"

It was just a moment in time where you just play and you give what you can along the way. If you can, drop by the Martini Bar, and see Jasmine (Betty decided to change her English name) and Lee Hee Soo. And if you can play a bit on the piano...that would be just damn swell.


Ismail N said...

Korea is a beautiful place to visit. And you captured the streets wonderfully, though the rain didn’t help.

Marilyn said...

I am hoping it stays this way...but yes, it is the rainy season.