No. 223 - It's Important that I Tell You Everything that Happened on the Roof Last Saturday.

Audio - It's Important to Tell You Everything that Happened on the Roof Last Saturday Night.

Here’s a poem that I could write in my thirties that I would not have been able to write in my twenties. In my twenties I was in the thick of it; the thick of my anger and I didn’t even realize it. In my thirties I can see anger for what it is: reality, power, opportunity, a chance to be honest, and to go deeper.

I like the idea of having someone close to confide in, and wanted to capture that closeness within these lines. And by confide in, I mean have a cup of tea with; and all the better if it’s a chilly December afternoon.

If I could, I would pipe in the sound of a radiator knocking and hissing in the background as the speaker delivers these lines to the other who sits in the chair and drinks tea, but alas, this sound can only exist within the echoes of my heart as I read the poem. Few things are better than a New York radiator banging and knocking and hissing and pumping enough heat to warm Madison Square Garden into a tiny studio apartment.

April Second, 2020

It’s Important that I Tell You Everything that Happened on the Roof Last Saturday.

It's important that I tell you everything that happened on the roof last Saturday.

You can pull up a chair if you'd like but you don't have to pull up a chair.

Do you want a cup of tea? I can make you a cup of tea if you'd like.

You don't have to have a cup of tea. But I can make you a cup of tea, if you'd like.

Here. I have English Breakfast tea. Do you like Earl Gray tea? I have Earl Gray tea as well.

Milk? Do you want milk in your tea? I have milk as well. I have all kinds of milk.

I have whole milk and oat milk and skim milk and almond milk and soy milk.

Do you want any of those milks? Do you want all of those milks? No.

You don't want all of those milks. That would be crazy! To have all of those milks at the same time.

Could you imagine?

Okay. So whole milk. I'll steam it. You do want me to steam it, right?

It's the middle of December and five degrees out so I'm sure you want me to steam the whole milk.

Otherwise the milk, if it's cold, if the milk is cold then your hot tea won't stay hot for long, and that would be sad.

And believe me, I know you, and I know that you don't want to be sad. Not anymore.

You used to be sad all the time. Me too. We were sad together. Don't you remember?

All of those years, those nights when we would go out in the Meat Packing District

and drink beers together and talk about all of our sadness, because we didn't want to be sad.

Not anymore. We didn't want to be sad anymore so we'd talk about our sadness together.

Crazy! That doesn't make any sense! But we were in our twenties and we were best friends.

Or I thought we were best friends and most of the time you agreed.

At least we don't do that anymore. What? What's that?

The milk! Right. It's probably good and steamed by now. Also I know, the tea kettle is crying out.

The tea kettle is crying out so let me go ahead and prepare your cup of tea now.

Okay. Okay.

It's important that I tell you everything that happened on the roof last Saturday.

First let me start by saying that it was a cold Saturday night, the last Saturday night of November.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving came late this year.

We were out on the roof, the five of us, and it was afternoon first. Of course it was afternoon first.

Afternoon always comes before the evening. I know! But it's important to say that it was afternoon first because there were things that happened in the afternoon between the five of us that I think you should know.

I really think you should know these things.

That's why I'm telling you all of these things.

I'm telling you all of these things because I think you should know them.

I think your life will be better because you'll know the things that I'm telling you.

And I think our relationship will be better too, because of the things that I'm telling you.

You agree? Right. Of course you agree. You agree because you're still sitting down across from me and smiling, or not smiling but wearing that look on your face that says, "I'm listening."

I love that look. And I love that you're wearing that look right now.

I love that you're wearing that look right now because what I'm about to say is very important.

Here were all of the things that happened between the five of us on the roof last Saturday.

First I drank too much. I started drinking in the morning so by the time the afternoon came around already I was hungover so I had stopped drinking by then.

Don't worry. I don't drink too much as often as I used to drink too much.

I'm better now. Remember. I got better. I went away for five months and got better.

I missed you a lot during those five months. You only called me three or four times.

That's okay. I'm glad that you called me three or four times.

We probably needed a break. We definitely needed a break. We needed a break.

And those five months were our break.

How's your tea? You like it. That's great.

I'm very glad that you like your tea. I'm stoked! That's awesome!

It's the little things.

So I was hungover but I was still on the roof last Saturday night with the other four.

The other four were having a fight, not all at once. But there were these awkward silences.

And I could feel the tension mounting and I didn't know what to do about it.

So I just asked the four of them to leave. I mean it was my apartment, my roof and everything.

And if they weren't getting along and having a good time then I could just tell them to get the hell out.

I didn't used to be able to say things like that. But now I can. Now I can and I do.

And it feels good when I do.

Of course they didn't like to be told to get the hell out of my place.

It would have been great if they started yelling and screaming back at me but they didn't.

Instead they started using passive aggressive tones and also tried guilting me into changing my mind.

But do you know what?

I didn't change my mind.

No. I actually got even angrier! I yelled at them. At the top of my lungs I screamed.

And do you know what?

They left. They left.

And then I started crying. I started crying because I had never been face to face with my anger, not like that.

I started crying because getting face to face with my anger felt so real.

I cried because for the first time in my life I saw myself.

I cried because after I saw my anger face to face my hangover went away.

And I cried because they had left. And I cried because the sun had set. And I cried because it was night.

And I came down here. I came down to the apartment and I made myself a cup of tea.

With steamed whole milk, just like you're drinking.

And I put on a Chet Baker album, The Art of the Ballad, and I listened to it all the way through.

I started with "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and I had myself one hell of a night.

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