Thursday, December 6, 2018

In A Crowded Bar by Dave Newman



A woman says "Hey, you wanna buy me a drink?" 
from the other side of the bar
like she’s offering me a present.

I shrug.

There are three women in this dive
and one is my grandma’s age.

The woman says
“Seriously, just one drink?”

I look away then look back
and she’s making prayer hands
like a free drink
could be a miracle.

I shrug.

I really don't want to buy her drink
but I feel I have been chosen
to rise above my peers and perform.

So I buy her a drink
and hand her the glass
over the heads of two men
men who were not chosen
to buy her a drink
men who were not presented
with the opportunity
to embrace debt and disorder.

She says "Thanks" and walks off
with a straw in her mouth.

The old man next to me says “Sucker.”

The bartender who is as old
as World War II
says “He’ll learn” and smiles.

He’s right: I will.  









Dave Newman is the author of six books, includingPlease Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight (Broken River Books, forthcoming 2018), the novella Sammy Drinks Canned Beer (White Gorilla Press, forthcoming 2018), The Poem Factory (White Gorilla Press, 2015), the novels Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children (Writers Tribe Books, 2012) andTwo Small Birds (Writers Tribe Books, 2014), and the collection The Slaughterhouse Poems (White Gorilla Press, 2013), named one of the best books of the year by L Magazine. Winner of numerous awards, including the Andre Dubus Novella Prize, he lives in Trafford, PA, the last town in the Electric Valley, with his wife, the writer Lori Jakiela, and their two children. He works in medical research, serving elders.

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