Diane Corson, Handmade Accordion Book (detail)
The man behind the bar has an Irish grin,
and he welcomes you with a wink;
he serves what you like, from Keystone to gin
as long as it’s legal to drink.
Loud music is thumping, so people go dance
in a small room where starry lights whirl;
a drunk near the bar assesses his chance
with the vibrating form of a girl.
The bartender whistles and offers a shot
to a couple whose kisses run deep;
they laugh with a passion, with all that they’ve got
till they stumble and fall in a heap.
The drunk takes exception, they spilt on his shoe
and he pours his drink onto their head;
the bartender figures a warning won’t do,
so he grabs his shillelagh instead.
Meanwhile, dopers are freaking outside
as they study the glow of the moon;
they’re hearing what sounds like a wild cop ride
with sirens arriving here soon.
By the time the drunk’s hands are cuffed good and tight,
the dopers have long disappeared;
the lovers depart to finish a night
that took a sharp turn toward the weird.
Light finally dims, and the bartender calls:
we’re closing folks, there is no doubt;
patrons topple and trip, or walk into walls
while making their tipsy way out.
Now the drunk sits in jail with a welt on his face
and a lone tear blurring his sight;
he’d bet it all for one more chance at that place
and the girl in the blinking white light.
Review by Jared Pearce
It gets me down when journals tell their potential submitters, No rhymes. I don’t see why rhymes should be so narrowly dismissed. Rhymes, as evidenced in this poem, especially when paired with a romping metrical arrangement, can add a layer of beauty and, perhaps more importantly, fun to a poem. Here’s to fun!