Tuesday, April 14, 2009

poem of the day 04.14.09

rodeo bar

how many old
writer’s apartments
can you see in this town
before you start
to feel buried by the dead?
and we are tired of looking
so we stop in a bar
that i read about, the rodeo bar,
this western bar on 3rd avenue
that’s supposed to be a southerners
home away from home
only it is the manhattan equivalent
of a tennessee or texas roadhouse
lots of glossy wood
over-priced beers
and over-priced generic tex-mex cuisine
and little else
i think about broadway in nashville
as the sound system
pumps in the country music
and a table of old hags shovel
down their salad lunch
into their ugly mouths
and how i long for the drunken
neon smear of a southern night
some action, some travel
instead i get new york city
a bad back
five dollar miller drafts
and the pleasure of turning thirty-five
but the bartender, she’s from texas
at least
and she’s some halfway decent
dye-job brunette with large eyes
who won’t stop talking
about pot and her old place
in bay ridge
i want to stop her and ask her
about the feel of an austin night
in the heat of the summer
but before i do my wife tells her it’s my birthday
and we are all drinking shots of jameson
on the house
and the sun is beginning to
glare through the window
blinding me from the back
the bartender, she fixes someone
a margarita
then comes back over
with the new york post
smiling like a new friend
and she proceeds to read us the headlines
page by page, over exaggerating the stories
as my wife and i finish our third beer
and i tell her quietly
that i think it’s time to leave
and we make vague plans to see
that windowless apartment
where william s. burroughs
used to live in the 1970s
knowing perfectly well
that we will just be killing another hour
before the grassroots tavern opens
and we can have a few beers in peace
and silence
without all that pomp
and southern charm.

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