January 24, 2009

Peter Funk

THE TOWN DRUNK’S LAST STAND

On Saturday I attend
the wake for the town drunk.
He died quickly,
though it took years and years
and years of effort.
The wake is held at the bar
where he drank.
He had many friends
who also like to drink.
It is a regular evening
but with more people.
There is a free buffet
that smells like meatballs
and tomato sauce.
I think he liked meatballs.
There are women drinking
pink drinks shaped like triangles,
men gauging their receptiveness
from behind sunsets
of yellow beer.
It is a regular evening
but someone has died a death
of wood paneling and neon beer signs,
cigarette smoke and sports talk.
A couple slips out
to the back patio to smoke
and sniff at each other.
Outside on the hills above the bar,
above the intentions, above
the unnoticed unraveling,
the meadows begin to yellow
at their edges
like a photograph
peeling away
from the blue sky.
Even in our darkest hour
the beer flows.

–from Rattle #29, Summer 2008

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