Tuesday, March 8, 2011

poem of the day 03.08.11

return of the king

benny is sitting
in a corner seat at the bar
as if he never left
as if time never marched on without him
as if mona hadn’t slashed his hand
with a knife
fucked a few of his friends
and got the two of them
banned from the bar for life

benny is sitting there
in a new football jersey
nursing his same old jack daniels
holding court
with the sunday drunkards
his hair is a little bit longer
pulled back in a pony tail

he sees us
before we even really
digest seeing him
comes over and shakes my hand
tells me they finally let him back in
he’s been back three days now
been to hell, benny says
not needing to say anything else
while i just stare
thinking this is the closest i’ve ever come
to seeing a ghost

benny talks about getting
back on his feet
picking up bartending gigs
here and there
staying at mona’s place
right now
while she settles in
with her new boyfriend

but it’s okay
it’s okay, benny says
i’ve embraced loss and acceptance
i’m an ex-hippie
and i’m letting my freak flag fly
maybe i’ll even
pick up few days bartending here
get the grill going
for the spring

benny shakes my hand again
i’ve hardly said a word
and before i can
he’s moving back down the bar
working the room like a politician
putting his hand on people’s backs
shaking other hands
bantering with the bartender
like it’s old hat

he returns to his throne
shoots down the rest of the jack
plays with the new ponytail
after he puts his leather coat on
then steps outside in the rain

beady eyes and goatee
framed in the dirty bar window
turns and waves back inside to everyone
and like fools at a sporting event
we all rise and wave back
casting down a tsunami of affection

we shout see ya later, benny

before he walks off down the street

all of us subjects
officially on notice that the king is back

for goddamned sure
the king is back.


Pat Tillett said...

I recognize a lot of the characters in your writing. Different names, different places, but similiar. I guess it's because I grew up in and around bars most of my life. I'm assuming you've done the same. Right?

John Grochalski said...

pat...let's just say i've been in enough of them.