It’s 1 A.M. at the Golden Grill
and he’s looking down at his bourbon
as though he might stick his nose in it,
what the hell, before he gets to the bottom.
From the dark booth in the corner
someone’s yelling, “Where have I put my love?”
and that sounds right to him, this sense
of having misplaced, having lost
the location of: if only he could think back,
gesture by gesture, word by word.
Lorrine and the True Sensations
are about to sing “Barrelin’ Down to Your Heart”
and he’s grateful for something loud and raucous
to keep him together, push
against him on all sides: along the bar,
everyone turning around, giving
his loneliness to Lorrine, all he’s got.
If his wife walked in just now
from wherever she was—Idaho, Wyoming?—
he’d do something extravagant, take
half his clothes off, sing Sweet Wilderness of You
and dedicate it to the one he loves.
He’s been quiet and still so long
he wants to cause a riot, something physical,
maybe meanness sitting on his stool for a change
and having a drink with everybody.
It could go on all night, this feeling
that he’s missed something along the way,
something now the couple getting up to dance
might have, all hands with each other,
all thigh muscle and crotch, tight with the music.
And when he walks out of anyplace now,
he’ll know if it’s for the last time:
he’s seen that walk,
and the door it passes through.
Love turning away, love running out:
he’ll be here till morning thinking about it.