the bartender says

he could tell this guy
hadn't been laid 
in a couple of years
from looking at him

and talking to him
and you know it's true
bartenders develop
some amazing skills

all that personal 
drunken haze of
victory and defeat 
among the beer fumes

they move through sober
for most of the night
and you know before we 
had all these psychics

and their dollars a
minute phone lines
we had bartenders
to help us separate

our futures from
our pasts our bucks
from our billfolds
and our minds from

the poison of reality
and I wonder what 
I look like to 
an expert 

these days
I hope I have that
fucked look like
I always did 


© 1999 by
michael mcneilley