we were at

 

the hotel bar,

ordering drinks.

 

i got

tequila for me

and she wanted

something pink,

 

so, i asked for

a strawberry colada.

 

the waitress looks at me

and says

“we don’t serve

daiquiris.”

 

i looked at her

and ordered a wine

instead.

 

there was live music

at the bar…

 

the Jerry Stein Trio.

 

there were

two of them.

 

right then

they were playing

the old Patsy Cline hit

“Crazy”.

 

they were playing it

real slow and

it was kinda nice.

 

maybe it was

the tequila…

 

but it was nice.

 

one of the guys

at the bar,

who hadn’t said a word

all night,

turned to me and said

“they’re playing

an Eagles song.  i

love the Eagles. 

that’s Desperado. 

 

i know that damn song

by heart.”

 

that’s just the kind

of night it was.

 

nothing seemed to fit.

 

some nights are like that.

 

some nights you just

lower your head,

deal with it

and take one

for the team.

 

 

 

………………………………………………

 

 

New York just

 

wasn’t

the same.

 

i remember

as a kid

everything was

grey and brown

 

like the old movies,

 

and my uncle

had this

2nd floor

walk-up

with a single bulb

hanging from a wire

at the top of the stairs.

 

i remember the night

someone dropped

a bag of bottles

down the steps,

and the neighbors yelled

and my uncle yelled back

and the soft greys and warm browns

felt safe

and we lounged around

in the alleys of the universe.

 

no, new york’s not

the same.

 

nothing is.

 

except for maybe

that old girl,

sorrow.

 

…………………………………………………………………..

 

Mackley leans over

 

and says to me:

“listen to that, will ya?

 

did you ever notice

how every country song

on the radio

sounds like

George Strait?

 

like this one,

for instance…

 

it’s

George Strait.”

 

i look at him and say:

“but that’s

a woman

singing.”

 

“doesn’t matter…

 

George Strait.

 

every freakin’ song

on the radio…

 

it’s

George Strait.”

 

he sat there,

listening for a bit,

and said

“god, i hate

country music,

don’t you?”

 

“damn straight.”

 

…………………………………………………………..

 

i don’t know what it was

 

either

the crowd was wrong,

 

or

i was wrong…

 

or both.

 

but,

it just

wasn’t working.

 

i read

poem after poem.

 

nobody laughed…

nobody clapped…

and i couldn’t blame them.

 

i was shit,

they were shit,

and it was all

falling apart.

 

the walls stunk

and the floor was cracked.

 

when it was over

i sold some books,

grabbed my coat

and ran.

 

i got in the car

and put in a cd

of me reading on another night.

 

that night

they got my jokes,

they loved my poems

and i was

handsome

and tall.

 

the world made sense.

 

but it didn’t matter,

because that was then

and this is now.

 

so i took out the cd

and put in one by

Hank Williams.

 

it was a live recording

and Hank was good.

 

Hank was a god

and in his entire career

he never

ever

had a bad night…

 

did he?

 

 

……………………………………………

 

in dog obedience class…

 

for once,

my little Abby

did everything right.

 

for once,

she didn’t

bite, jump or pull.

 

this time

she paid attention

and sat and stayed

and came

and listened…

 

just like all the other dogs.

 

i can’t tell you how much

i hated that.

 

 

 

© john yamrus

 

His new book, NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, can be ordered online at amazon.com.