Closing Time by Lester Allen

I can still make out the tune
of Pat Boone on the radio
doing Metallica, with a glass of JB
the nearest exit incase things got too wild.
she was a lawyer there on her balcony
and other places too, I’d imagine
and my friend had his tongue in her mouth
just moments before,
he’d say later that she was a terrible kisser
and that moments after their twining of tongues
and hours before he told me about it
he filtered his vomit through the
ivy that clung to the balustrade
of her balcony
and I went inside,
Jim and I being already quite good friends
and I feeling pretty good of things
(he always encouraged me to be at my best)
decided that, in addition to taking a piss in this strange
lawyer’s bathroom
that what I really wanted to do was to take
a nice hot bath.
so I drew the water, got
undressed and slipped in
finished the Beam
while I thumbed some pages of Heller’s
Closing Time
and thinking about the girl that I’d just met
a few hours ago
in the bar downstairs
while the bartender played backgammon
with one of the patrons and the others went
on about the Yankees,
she was making eyes with me
and talking about making wine
and I was talking to her about making poetry.
it was all very wonderful and I thought:
this one could make me forget all the women
that have ever wronged me, and still this might be true
but then her friend got sick
and she had to leave.

the water was getting cold and my fingers had started
to prune a bit. I shook myself awake and let down the water.

back outside again with my friend, the lawyer, Pat and Jim,
they, too drunk to notice my wet head, offered me more to drink.
I filled up, then excused myself from the balcony
much as before and stumbled back inside
where I found a large orange cat that belonged to the lawyer
and who looked like good conversation.
I followed him behind the couch
and fell asleep.

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