NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 2)

Day 2 prompt: Write a poem about a place (i.e., a house, store, school, or office). How ‘bout a bar?


Packy’s

Sorry to say it’s gone now,
Packy Lenahan’s bar.
Packy too. Kids may age,
Patty and Maureen Keating,
lived in the same attached building.
I forget the people’s names
in the apartment above Packy’s.

It was on the corner of Madison street,
where friends Jimmy, June, and nine more lived,
and my grandpop had lived before I was born,
and Butler street where we lived.

Packy’s, some thirty yards west of
my bedroom window,
was where they drank and smoked,
and where they played games and ate food
until well past my bed time.

Inside to the right a huge mahogany bar
had big high mirrors, stacked whisky bottles, and beer taps.
I learned shuffleboard to the left,
and my first dart board was on the back wall,
left of some stairs up to the dining room
with tables and chairs, a kitchen and
toilets were to the right.

Few stools were at the bar, but it had real,
often used, brass spittoons on the dirty,
cigarette-burn stained, wood floor where beer
was often spilled and seldom mopped
under high ceilings with fans on long poles.

The back door was mostly for exiting,
or entering when closed (but not really),
on Sundays after church or after last call,
always unlocked after knocking.

There was a piano,
and a smell of stale beer
and staler smoke, and a juke box
back in the dining room
where I sometimes played,
but bar spittoons always intrigued me,
men spat, often missing, one of the things
they only did at Packy’s.

Many nights I laid in bed and listened to them
talking or singing and being loud, having fun
at Packy’s. Sometimes fighting
after Packy threw them out and I wanted
to go see who got clobbered
with a brass spittoon off the floor.


You can see Packy’s door and window over my Dad’s right shoulder (circa 1948)

Look both ways cuz it’s not always what you think.
Mind the gaps and don’t trip over spittoon.

Click for link to web page

 

 

 

Yesterday

yesterday6Ten years ago, I lost one of my best friends from my childhood. Today, I received a phone call telling me that I have now lost the other. A few weeks ago I was tasked with a writing assignment to provide an essay on what I long for. You can see it blogged under “Nostalgia and Longing.” Reading my blog, you can glimpse my view of humanity and the world. Seldom do I live at any time but the present moment.

yesterday2But today, I want to think about the past. Not in a regretful way, but in an “I remember” way that might allow my brain to be the tool of a child’s mind again.
I want to remember friends and our time together when we did things without much regard for the good or the bad. There was no judgment or guilt. The important part that I recall is that we did those things together. That is what a childhood friendship is all about; an unconditional acceptance of us as is. Blood brothers we were – literally.

yesterday3I know that I cannot go back to that time, and I’m not sure that I would want to. But I want to have those memories until I have no memories. I would like to again feel the freedom, the special bond, and the unquestioned certainty that we would all live forever. I want to think about my future and talk about how much better it will all be. I want free and unlimited amounts of candy and ice cream. We didn’t have that, but when we took over, well, you know, right? I want to know that next year, I will be allowed to stay out after it gets dark, to drive a car (legally), to date girls (with everyone knowing).

Today, I want to cry over the loss of my friends and I want to smile in their memory. I want to think about their faults that I never saw or didn’t care about, as they dismissed mine. Indeed, I miss Jimmy and I miss Jack, but the one is miss most is Billy the Kid — me.

What do I remember most? In our late teens Jack made his belief and faith in me clear. Few people had faith in me when I was a teenager, and I don’t blame them. More than my parents, more than any teacher or any other person, he believed I could do what even I doubted.

yesterday4

I subsequently believed him and that was a significant turning point in my life.

I slightly changed the lyrics of Yesterday When I was Young to reflect how I feel today — Melancholyyesterday7

The game of life I played with arrogance and pride
And every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died,
The friends I made all seemed somehow to die away
And only I am left on stage to end the play.
Yesterday when I was young