Bar Time

by Tim G. Young

It's a bar made of wood, most times, but have seen them made of glass, chrome, and steel. The bars with rail, sometimes copper or brass, attached to outside bottom of bar to rest feet. maybe a hook above that to hang jacket or purse. The lip of the bar in front to rest arms and mirror in back, sometimes large or small. The back bar populated with its bottles, taps, signs, and cash register. The bartender back there in uniform or t-shirt and jeans, sometimes a neck or bow tie. Customers in front, most sitting on the stools the bar provides. Some with no back and others with back. Sometimes cushion on seat, often times only bare wood or metal. Lots of lights hanging down on cords, fancy fixtures, phony tiffany looking lamps not aimed in any particular direction, hopefully not shining too bright. Some kind of music piped in, or from CD player, sirius radio, or less often these days juke box. No records. Maybe streams off internet. Things mostly change except for people. Still face, eyes, nose, ears, arms, legs, etc. Hands to hold glass, bottle, or can. Nerves frayed and soothed. Emotions in the back seat or served immediately piping hot up front from loud mouth or whisper. Talking non-stop, silence not a visitor. Sometimes aromas, perfume, smoke, beer, whiskey, aged traffic laden floors. Good times, bad times, all in-between laughter, not so often tears, in anger and happy, flowing like the time clock. Bar time registered in elements not easily recognizable. Men and women, close and distant, angling for attention, or not. Glasses washed, stacked put in their place, cell phones on bar instead of cigarette packs. Some know when to stop and some don't. Some too carried away must leave. Others stay. No telling what will happen next. Nobody knows and nobody wants to know. Like ancient rituals practiced, spreading through evening and night. Chicago wants to know if anybody knows what time it is, but nobody does know what time it is. Not a fair question in the depths of bar. Some wishing everything should be fair but they have not ordered drinks lately. Dreaming when they were kids splashing in puddles, falling in leaves, swimming in lake, toe in ocean, burning tongue on roasted marshmallows, mom and dad in the front seat of car. Sex in back seat, cramped coiled, racing, foot out window, full moon flying low. Never to be repeated, captured for moments tangled in alcohol memories, forgotten like last drink, like last song