“I liked my shirt a few hours ago, but now I feel bad about it,” Mark Eitzel said from the tiny stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge. He was smiling but not joking. He’d been forgetting lyrics and false starting songs throughout the set, and I thought the fringed shirt might be the last straw—that he might flee and vanish into Bleecker Street, just one more shuffling man in a porkpie.
Powers engage, I said and then unconsciously assumed the position: wineglass down, torso tilted ten degrees forward, my entire body utterly still. I turned all the life in me toward making Eitzel know there was love in the room—that from time to time, we all lose a word, trip on a cord, put on a cowboy shirt and bolo tie that we truly have no business wearing. He got through the song, then another. Once the crisis point passed, my body downshifted, but it didn’t fully clock out until after the encore—then I slumped like a B-movie medium after a séance that had gotten out of hand.
Propping up collapsing men is one of my talents. In a business meeting, I can produce boring data to bolster whatever shady-sounding claim the man next to me makes. If a guy asks, Am I ready to do this job / kiss this girl / give this speech? I can smile slightly and say, in a way that makes him think he believes in himself: I think you already know the answer to that question. I’m so good that I can even work remotely: via email, text, sext, DM, IM, marginalia, playlist, or windshield Post-its. But I’m at my best in the darkness of a club, twenty feet from the locus of disintegration. Read More