Friday, November 20, 2020


e.j.’s bar & grille is defiant
in the face of the plague

the jazz man
stands outside
in the dull yellow light

drunk before the evening falls

trying to light his smoke
from the wrong end

you can hear the stones playing
from inside

the décor is a cross
between halloween and christmas

a sure sign we’re in that lull
that marks the middle of november

the bar is packed
only on one side

men drinking in flannels
and dusty ballcaps

sit close in the muted holidays lights
the white light of the television

they are a portrait
of a time before this time

a remembrance of things past

sitting here on 5th avenue
e.j’s bar & grille is defiant
in the face of the plague

stupid, maybe
a death wish waiting to come

but ain’t no one worrying about this year
ain’t no one caring about the next

there’s no 250,000
dead bodies to count

just one beer down
another coming up

some empty stools down the other end

and one guy looking here outside
at the masked faces hustling home

waiting on the jazz man
to get his head straight

figure his whole cigarette thing out. 

--John Grochalski

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