there was one who sat down near the end
near the bathroom always by himself, not
his choice, and he carried a cane but no limp and
sometimes wore his coat just on his shoulders
without his arms through the armholes and
his beard was only on his chin.
he said things like
The sky is now black where it was once blue.
this he said when it got dark and when
someone new was in the bar and said
Who does this guy think he is?
the answer would be I am someone and I am no one.
and he would move his hands around his head like
smoke and every time this would get some eyerolls.
there was a word for this and they all tried to
remember it saying words into the air that were
wrong and they never got it but the bartender
knew it. histrionics. but he never told them
he hated every last one of them and rathered them
stupid and the one near the end recognized this
and gave the bartender a conspirator's nod
but it didn't work because no one here ever
got one on the house no matter what
words they knew.
originally published in Grain Volume 27, Number 4. Spring 2000.
should've stayed home
in a bar a while ago the
bar has been three other things since
then so that tells you how long
ago. had been drinking some so I don't
remember how attractive she was but
she was. this girl I met
we were introduced
and I held on a bit too long and
stared into her eyes
something I saw in a movie or
in a book or somewhere else that
allows the implausible
the adjective lingering could apply in
fact I'm sure that's the word that was
used in the book or movie I took the
idea from. lingering. I lingered. we lingered.
but somehow it worked. she was lingering back.
soft focus. tight close up.
obviously her lingering was better because
I'm still writing about it and I didn't
follow up on the lingering and nothing
became of it and I haven't seen her since
but I'm sure you
saw that coming.
also first printed in Grain Volume 27, Number 4. Spring 2000.