The whole crew’s here, laughing it up
like tomorrow might be closed
for good, like this night’s
gonna last for goddamn ever.
And man the music rages, palatable & obnoxious,
rolling over us with bottles clanging
and the boys
singing with the strippers, cigarettes
dangling and money out
like we mean business.
Roman, with his crewcut and thick,
fractured accent, telling me about
biorhythms and how the Japanese believe
this and that, raising his glass
to this great f—ing country and the redhead
in stilettos behind the bar.
And Alex, as usual, trying for the stage,
screaming how he’s gotta have her that’s
just how it is, bawling in his beer
how his wife never puts out
any more. What’s a guy to do? The bouncers
slither over, all grease and determination
– even their haircuts have an attitude –
slipping knuckles like syllables
into each quiet word of warning.
But by now I’ve had
a belly full of ‘em all and a belly full
of booze to boot, not listening,
just eyeing the girls
with their seven $ smiles and
flimsy Victoria’s Secrets
what I have on my mind.
Then Mark starts in, twelve pints his number,
bellowing crap like how good we got it
in this shit-hole world and shit-hole life,
like how it will never end – never,
as if he’s trying to convince someone
other than himself.
His arm circles my neck
a little too tightly as always; as always
hanging on to keep from falling down or finding
out how small all this really is.
Me, I’m smiling, laughing away
the night, hiding behind a pint
of courage and a clever line with the rest of these
bandits, these wannabee big shots, acting up
like we’ve never actually held money before;
desperate kids scrambling
to get our pockets as light as air
scarfing down whatever
they have the nerve to put in front of us.
And later, when someone’s holding Darren’s head
out of the toilet while he makes his donation
and prays to god, when last call and any chance
to bag a stripper has gone way
way by, I find myself drunk and alone
in the saddest hour of night
wondering what I’m gonna do
two bucks light of cab-fare
and long past the point