Wednesday, October 5, 2022

City of Lost Dreams

He stood at the end of the bar. A dissipated

Popeye. A wool cap pulled down to his eyes.

Fat cigar between his lips. This was years

ago, when people still smoked in bars. Still

read newspapers. In print. One opened wide

in front of him. Drinking what I guessed to be

coffee from a bone white mug.


We were the only people in the bar. We had

driven from our small town to Chicago where

we hoped a life might be waiting. The Reader open,

searching the ads for a place we could afford.


We hoped to get jobs or go to school. Or

both. Betting on the come.


Part of it worked out. For her. For me.


Lincoln Avenue changed. Popeye lost the

bar. Died at home with his too-young

bride. Not their home, but the bride’s father’s.

They no longer had the means for a place of their

own. Father and husband almost the same age.

Father only a little younger. Small town girl,

if I remember right.

Philip Dean Brown has had short fiction published in Voices West, Farmer’s Market, and Strong Coffee, The Blue Bib and Switchblade.  His story Helpless won a PEN Syndicated Fiction award. The story was selected by Mona Simpson. A story of his won 3rd prize in Typehouse’s open fiction contest. He has published poems in Subterranean Blue Poetry, New Reader, The Mojave Review, Sin Fronteras and The Global Poemic Project. A haiku of his was chosen by the Old Pueblo Poems competition and was on display in downtown Tucson.