Thursday, June 3, 2010

poem of the day 06.03.10

family night

i step out of the rain
enter the bar, sweaty and tired
eighty-five degrees outside
i just walked five miles home from work
to prove something to myself
only i’d forgotten what it was

they are at it again
he behind the bar
she sitting there, her face puffed
from whiskey and tears
falling further and further down
the rabbit hole since her mother died
you’re a scum, she says
you’re disgusting, he says back
a disgusting drunk who only showers once a week

he serves me my beer
i ask for an ice water
then we all sit there while
they go back and forth
you’re a whore, he says
you’re fat, she says
bitch, i’m in the best shape of my life
i can’t believe what i gave up
to take up with you

i look at b.j.
he’s sitting there nursing his jack
and a large draft of beer
i like b.j.
we’ve gotten into a habit of discussing
books and music
in between songs on the juke
b.j. raises an eyebrow at me
he takes a large swig on his jack
family night, he says

she starts weeping again
you’re embarrassing yourself, he says
why don’t you go home and sleep it off
give me another drink, she cries
no, he says
then he looks at me and starts talking
about a famous sandwich that comes
from my hometown
it has the french fries and coleslaw right
between the bread
with the meat and cheese

she shrieks
benny, just give me a fucking shot and i’ll go

but benny doesn’t move

some kinds of love
can conquer anything, i think
insults, the need for a drink,
a kind of darkness that seems to have no end
this love has wilted beyond description
i’ll admit, this display had been funny for a while
a kind of slice of life that i never wanted
a cautionary tale
a little diversion to pass
the time in between the time
between life and work and death
but these people have ceased being
cartoon characters to me

it’s funny, but i honestly don’t know how
much more of this i can handle

b.j. finishes off his jack
knocks back his beer and gets up
he has a nightly ritual
comes in the bar and drinks for a few hours
then leaves to go home to his wife and kid

i’ve seen them on the street
but we don’t talk outside the bar
they make for a handsome family

he slaps me on the back then leaves

you never gave a fuck about me, she says
benny says nothing
because there is nothing to say
he just stands there
one leg up on a stool
the other bouncing on the dirty floor

those sandwiches look good, he finally says

they’re all right, i say
in response

then i kill my third beer and go.

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