A man meets a woman and writes a poem. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
When I got to the bar it was nearly empty. The usual? Yeah, I said, a draft and a Jack back. An old bartender once told me that it was a man’s drink so that’s what I’ve ordered ever since. I suppose I like how it sounds. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m starting out for the first time.
It’s past midnight now and I’m coming down the stairs, tapping out a hopscotch memory, just tapping to beat all.
Rebecca saw me tapping and she laughed. She told me, when I asked her, that she was here with her partner, she told me she wanted to be a photographer. Why not, I thought. If she specialized in self-portraits she could make a good living.
Something about her reminded me of a photograph I once saw of a dusty Guatemalan hill town. The photographer was looking at the church at the end of the dirt road. The setting sun, caught at the edge of the frame, lit the bell tower like fire against the night sky. What held my eye though, were the two figures embracing in the recessed doorway of a flowered garden wall. It appeared they were local kids hiding out, stealing a kiss. Maybe they were talking about times to come. It was the kind of photograph that Neruda wrote.
Steely Dan played something about reeling in the years and for whatever the reason I reached my hand out across the bar and Rebecca and me, we started dancing. We laughed and then we did it some more. On the way home, I noticed that the trees were turning green.
I wrote this poem later that night. I told my friend Peter about it. In fact, I read it at an open mike poetry reading at the bar a couple of nights later. When Rebecca found out about it she was furious. Peter’s girlfriend told him that Rebecca felt violated.
I guess romance is best left to the Guatemalans.
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