Saturday, September 7, 2013

Gene McCormick- A Poem

A Box Of Dead Music

The jukebox has stood in the same dark corner
of The Greek’s Bar & Grill for more than half
a century, from the day the doors first opened.
During those years the song selection
has never been updated, not once;
original black vinyl records can be seen
through yellowing plexi-glass offering
scratchy rhythms uncaringly out of date.
A few coins bring sounds recorded by musicians
long dead or who soon would or should be.
Tunes from the antique 45s are recollections,
not horns, guitars, pianos, drums or vocals…
flashbacks of once-vibrant realities.
Dead songs don’t storyboard the present,
can’t portend the future.

A half-full glass of Jack Daniels straight up
sits alone on a bar top decorated by
cigarette burns, the only surface not layered
with a dusty patina.
Three stools down a vacant woman, for rent,
eyes the Jack while trying to cadge
another double scotch.
“I prefer Glenlivet, honey.”—Whiskey and woman
both on consignment and each in need
of a helping hand.

Crazy Old George, keeper of the jukebox,
has a head packed with remembrances: when he
thought of starting a franchise chain of
“The Greek’s,” when he thought of starting
a family, when he thought of starting over.
Same tired tune: memories lacking a tactile soul.

Don’t expect a Happy Hour, not for a minute,
at The Greek’s Bar & Grill.

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