Dive Bars Always Inspire

Photo by Andrew Haimerl on Pexels.com
I Was a Dive Bar...

off a rocky gravel road,
a sharp right,
just before the curve.
Come inside.
dollar drafts, play pool, darts,
dance drunk or quietly Nude Photo Hunt.
Blinking  & Buzzing signs, drunks.
I’d be the jukebox
songs rarely changed.
Peanuts in candy dishes,
stories of unbelievable fishing,
a bathroom
legendary in filth.
The scuffed bar,
cigarette burns,
smoke that hasn’t left
since it was banned a decade ago.
to spend Thanksgiving
eating a strange spread
the bartender made
with some of the locals
all contributing odd items.
Dark and beery,
wear and tear earned
by spilled beer, a knick of pool cue,
a heartbreak here and there.
Interior decor is important,
but true dives are made by the clientele-
hard lives, shameful nights...
I am a church
to lives with vices.
My doors always open
to those who need a little danger
in their night,
their lives.

I started to feel something. The Marlboro
smell. The low wattage, the piano in the corner.
Your skin tight jeans, a late quiet afternoon crush,
bar dice, the scent of air freshener too ambitious
in it’s quest to drown out the scent of fluorescent lust.
The pop quiz glances, the lukewarm scotch advances,
second guessing, the looks we exchange,
two teenagers unsure of the answers we’re throwing out
for a test we were too distracted to ever study seriously for.
Heart racing, glancing down at the burnt matchsticks,
a dish of ashes. I look up and keep trying to talk about us.
I fall off piers in my head, the cold water wakes me up.
I want this so much. In my heart, I can do everything right.
In my head, I go back to the fact, you are an unfamiliar garden.
I want to grab a small garden spade, dig in. Truth:
I’ve dug up a lot of earth hoping for a garden
only to be met by an infertile soil in life. Still,
the butterflies know their desired effect. Those eyes
seem more true than fictive. Soft, a new story wanting
to be touched, read, imagined. A slow jam throbs,
she leans on the bar, rubs her hand on my thigh.
My teeth clench down hard on a cold piece of ice,
and our smiles match like two latch key kids
houses empty and afternoons free.

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