Sunday, March 2, 2008


jam nite at the havana bar but none of the punters will step up to the mike though the prize is a bar tab and drink is what's mainly on their minds and the mc's playing ani di franco on his national guitar but the ladies want it danceable so he grins and gives them brown-eyed girl trying to squeeze a show from a crowd that's just happy to dance as long as he's happy to play

no takers for the open mike so a mate steps up with a black hat on and a borrowed guitar and they're crooning and strumming for the late great johnny milking it for all they're worth then a guy with stockman's legs turns his butt to the crowd leaning into the mike for a boy named sue and after a couple more in memory of the man we're all feeling comfortable nursing a beer

darwin pub crawl
getting a skinful
of iced water

then there's something latin on the bar-room tv and black hat's murmuring his poems close to my ear and saying do i want a dance and i tell him i lost all the dance i ever had in me but he won't take a no and next thing my feet are giving it up for a passable samba and the hips are playing along and my face is smiling dancing with a partner first time in years and back on the bar stool i'm feeling pretty smug

and up on stage some little guy's playing a mean air guitar on a pool cue flying so high i'm halfway to believing i can hear the riffs and that's when i finally get it

always was a sucker for a well strung line

telling the stories
all over again
time to go home

by Ynes Sanz
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
first published in talking poetry blues, 2006

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