72′ Olds Cutless…

and the smell of wood that’s been doused in too much cleaner
Too many bottles of beer spilled on the particle board tables
Sloshing its contents until it rolls to the floor
The shards of dark glass scattering to the edges of this place
This corral
Where people line up to receive their brands
Their labels
Final room temperature sips of the bottle in front of me
Some asshole put the same song in the jukebox 3 times

I’ve read the same promo poster on the wall opposite my table
at least 30 times:
it shows a
typical shout-out to the alpha-male fuckery
Redhead, impossibly tall pumps
parody of a football uniform
trading the tights for a lace thong
blackout on her cheeks
looking over her shoulder
you know…leaning over and twisting her body
that no woman would actually find comfortable
in real life
slight pout
text in bold yellow across her form
“Don’t you wanna play?”

How does this shit sell booze?
because we’re animals

My eyes drift, back to the bar
Since she came in
She’s looked over here at least 3 times
I catch her in my periphery
While I’m locking eyes with the redhead in the poster
Don’t you wanna play?”
Save it, Lady, I’ve had enough beer tonight

So I’m tagged
I’m it
She turns back to her drink
a split second before my eyes drift over there
Ok, I’ll take my turn again

Dark hair
tied up in a pony tail
But it’s a tangled mess
Bet it’s wild when it’s undone
Few, unkept wisps at the sides
if she read my poetry, she’d know I love that
find it irresistible
a bulky jacket hides her waist
But the cracked and split vinyl bar stool seat
Gives a good bit around the curves of her ass
which means the jacket is probably not hiding an hourglass
which is perfect and amazing and absolutely fine by me
her jeans are second skin down to her crossed ankles
shadows are hiding what could only be
boot covered toes

My eyes retreat back to my redheaded friend on the wall
as the dark ponytail swings sideways
indicating she’s taking her next turn at our game
“Don’t you wanna play?”
Lady, this game is WAY into over-time

Music on the jukebox finally changes

There’s an argument at the pool table over my shoulder
some punk trying to balance a pool-cue on his finger
for a $10 bet
failing miserably
starting a new bar tab for the spilled drinks
bartender asking about the damaged table felt
it’s ruined

Dull scrape of a chair leg dragged across
30 plus years of yellowed linoleum tiles
vibration at my elbow as my table is bumped
I feel that ice-cold stab under my heart
pretend not to notice?
Stay focused on the school boys talking about
how expensive that shit is?
Lock onto the tone in the bartenders voice as he says
he doesn’t give a shit and they should have thought
about that

Nah. Let’s find a story I don’t know the ending to…
So I turn around…

The poet in me wants to smile and say something clever..
But I’m sending that guy down to the basement for a while
with a bottle of jack
with orders,
not to come back up here…
if he hears the sounds of a struggle

He takes the bottle
curses me in middle english
and waddles down the stairs
I almost can’t resist the urge to push him…

Let’s see what we can do without Him…

She’s rocked the chair back on its rear legs
straddled across it
The denim is frayed at the pockets
slightly at the knees
Looks real, not that store-bought “distressed” crap
Material stretches across her thighs
attached to wide hips
her waist and mine are about the same
leather clad arms are crossed over her chest
jacket falling away to either side
showing a white t-shirt underneath
some kind of faded logo

No smeared on foundation
No false flush in her cheeks
Mouth, a little too wide for her face
No photo-shopped smile on her lips
No beer-selling pout on their natural pink
Her square jaw
inclining her head to the side
just a little

Hint of freckles on her nose
Can probably see them better when she’s
her eyes
The same amazing and astoundingly beautiful shade
of shit brown
that mine are
but they are all over me

Right about now
The guy in the basement would
Want to start saying something like
But I look straight at her
Square my stance and stare right back into
those dark orbs of hers
feel a sudden sense of exactly how “real” this is
my pulse wants to quicken but I dial it back

Redhead mocks me from the opposite wall
“Don’t you wanna play?”
Give it a rest, Bitch.

We sit in this mexican standoff for what seems like years
been there, done that
time to act
tired of sitting here and watching
pool table arguments
shattered beer bottles
the same song
playing over and over and over

Could be a gate to heaven or hell
that sits across from me now
misusing the furniture
taking a risk
balancing it on its rear legs
could be dangerous to sit like that
a person could fall
ruin everything, all in one moment’s worth
of telling fate to shut the fuck up

So when She stands
walks back to the bar and pays her tab
then stands next to it
hands in the back pockets of her jeans
hip cocked to the side
The look on her face that says,

I follow that Gateway to heaven or hell
out to her
72 Olds Cutlass
I pull its massive steel door shut
as I slide into the vinyl interior
smile to myself as she turns the key
and the horses tug at the reins

And when she says
“wanna go somewhere?”
I answer
“Doesn’t everybody?”