Nils Peterson: Talk in the Reading Room
About Nils Peterson

 The Reading Room
 Xmas Eve at the Big House 
 Christmas Mysteries 
Summers in Long Island 
 Father Arrives in the    Triumphal Car 
 Yankee Stadium Gone 
 A Thing of Beauty 
 Learning From My Father 
 Learning From My Mother 
The Bus


 Next Stop 
 Going to College
 My Lecture on Romanticism 
 A Story 
Go Way From My Window 
• Singing in the Rain 
 On the Nature of Exposition 
 A Latin Class
 A Hero's Life
 Letter to Paul Cantrell
• Homecoming 
 The Moon and the Bulldozer


Go Way From My Window

I’m sitting in a bar — drinking a Martini larger than I’d make at home — because I do not want to drink alone. I am, of course, drinking alone.

I like the noises, the “warm, drunken wash of voices,” the beat of the bad music just beneath disturbing loud — I’m aware that the gin is good and I’m aware that I’m thinking of Gladys Swarthout when she came to Danville, Kentucky in the fall of 1950 to perform at the basketball court which four times a year doubled as a ballroom and once in a blue moon as a concert hall. I’m sitting in the bleachers listening, something to do in a town and time when any something was better than the usual nothing.

I float above the clinking beer glasses remembering how beautiful and exotic she was — broad-chested, dark-haired, big-voiced, and I remember wondering what we were both doing there.

I can’t remember the first part of her program — maybe some 19th century German art songs about babbling brooks and the beloved which I likely wasn’t ready for. At the end she sang, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” which explored a place in me I didn’t know existed, and then, “Go Way From My Window”:

Go way from my window
Go way from my door
Just leave me with my broken heart
And bother me no more,
And bother me no more.

I’ll give you back your diamonds,
I’ll give you back your rings
But I’ll ne’er forget the love we knew
As long as song birds sing,
As long as song birds sing.

her big voice carrying passion so darkly that no sweet-voiced Judy Collins ever could seduce me a decade later.

My drink is gone, though the ice cubes I suck on are reminiscing about the good times with the good gin. I could have another, but it would not be as good. I know that, but I’m still tempted.

  © 2014, Nils Peterson

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