“Happy hour” around here begins quietly enough.
The first arrivals, the greetings, the half waves,
The nods. This group knows all the bartenders
By name and enjoys the waiter who likes to call
Himself, “the medicine man” and asks about
Doses and prescriptions. It begins slowly and
Grows louder, the conversations get to laughter,
Louder voices win out after a time. There’s a jazz
Band that plays some days and drowns out voices.
The listeners nod along to the music, love to hear
Something attributed to Fats Waller or even Count
Basie, but Dave Brubeck numbers get the most
Applause, applause for the most familiar. Happy
Hour lasts longer than an hour and the specials
They offer stay on as long as the crowd is thick and
Easy to please. Then the place starts to clear and
Go their separate ways, some act busy, some act
Afraid to go on to the next thing, and some need
The bartenders to call them a cab. That’s something
They’ll do for you if you are a regular and they know
Your story, the story you told them one Happy Hour
After a few too many.
is a retired writing teacher and online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, Black Coffee Review, Sparks of Calliope, Synchronized Chaos, Madswirl, Journal of Expressive Writing, Lightwood, and Highland Park Poetry.