Saturday, June 7, 2008


Back in July I had the fortune of tying the knot in Las Vegas on 777, something I've always wanted to do. Me and the Mrs. were lucky. It was a great time and people we cared about were with us. We ate and drank lavishly and stayed at a gorgeous strip hotel. But what about those people who took the plunge in the fair city who weren't as fortunate? What if no one cared? Posing that question, I give you this narrative poem. Enjoy...

Inside one of the
darkest bars on the planet,
away from the smoldering Vegas
sun, two kids barreled into
my daytime bar, just off of
Freemont. Fresh faced and scrubbed,
he with his craggy polo and
flip-flops; she with an equally
wrinkled sun dress, they didn’t jive
since it was the kind of
joint people came
to when they just
didn’t care anymore.

The Atomic. A would-be beacon in a sea of
grimeholes, beckoning its
hopeless. And what of them?
Lonely Nevada drunks, crappy pickpockets,
former goddesses well beyond turning
their tricks and sunken men without
prospect who abruptly discovered
they were 46, scratchy and achy.
Even the fucking jukebox gave up.
It plays once a year on St. Patty’s Day.

Gillmore behind the bar,
a failed strip magician
plum out of illusions served
the kids their booze. The boy paid
with a thick wad of crinkled
dollar bills, which, by the
way still got you pretty
far at The Atomic.

As the afternoon progressed, their
giddiness got worse and it broke
everyone’s concentration. A few times
I had to put down my magazine and give
them the ol’ once-over. Didn’t do much good.

Clutching my mug, I asked if they
took that clichéd Vegas plunge. The cutie
nodded and Eduardo the Ecuadorian who,
up until then, never uttered a word
to anyone -- in Spanish or English --
raised his Pabst and told Gilmore that he’d get
the next round.

Their bliss told me that no one in
their lives knew where they were or even
even cared. Another sip.
I went back to my magazine.

Five drinks in, they still grappled
onto each other in that sickening
Eskimo kisses sort of way.
At the same time, the act made
me love them for it’s
innocent audacity and hate
them for my own sense of cowardice,
never having the balls for such
public displays.

The boy strutted to the sorry juke
and I knew there’d be nothing in
there for him.
But it didn’t matter, today was his
St. Patty’s Day and he was
ready for the world. Here.
On his honeymoon.
At The Atomic.
Away from the smoldering Vegas sun
and inside one of the darkest
bars on the planet.

The music started. I put down my
magazine and shut my eyes until
it was quiet once again.


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