Arnie’s

 

Right downtown, on a corner

that’s been through many cycles

of hipness and unhipness, its

patrons unfazed either way.

An old place, not large.

Beaten-copper tabletop,

not yet cleared of previous

occupants’ beer dregs and

cigarette butts—still allows

smokers a spot inside.

Dark-wood-paneled bar,

ceilings fans dangling from

high tongue-and-groove;

concrete floor, painted,

but not in recent memory;

unplayed shuffleboard.

Tabs still taped to mirror

behind the bar, tallied

with a pencil, though there’s

a modern register for

paying out at the end.

There’s a Celtic band tonight,

playing pub tunes and Irish reels,

the fiddler someone I know.

The crowd’s mostly regulars,

most know each other and

the members of the band,

drinking pints of Guinness

or cans of Foster, not Irish,

but still a popular choice.

Here and there along the bar,

a shotglass of Jameson’s.

There’s a larger backroom

and a patio, but it’s hot

outside, and the band’s

set up right by the front door,

so everyone’s crammed in here,

most dressed thoughtlessly

in whatever they happened

to be wearing when they

decided to come in.

Not stylish but comfortable,

the kind of place you go

with friends at day’s end,

when “going out” is

too much trouble.

 

Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

 

 

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