The flowers sort of peeked
out of the tops of glasses.
They appeared to be in water,
surviving only because the tender kept them wet.
Their smell wafted across the corner of the bar,
hint of basil, tarragon,
a combo that seemed like the mix
of bergamot and chocolate.
The color of the green leaves
almost sparkled in the setting sun,
as beads of new water drifted
across the cool curve of the tiny hurricane glasses,
spilling moisture onto the slick marbletop,
infusing the counter with diamonds
as the air lifted scent across and over
Her bolo tie hits the edge of the next drink poured
as surely the color of rye
emblazoned the clean stretch of night.
Inside, a bebop band sounded simply
mingled into the cacophony,
blurring the distraction between noise and structure,
its improvisation almost composed
as if the score called for a freely improvised crowd.
Those sound their tones,
the keys and metal with a sincerity
of wanting this crowd to join them
inside the music.
Sleeping for nothing.
It was beside the books at the window
where the plants were held in suspended existence,
the last bartender told him:
“I got a whole bunch of these,
as much as you can fit in a bag for a dollar,
right over at the farmers market.”
They looked rejuvinated,
as if they had just been pulled from the ground,
still tendrils of rooty structures veering into the water,
searching for soil.
Infusing them relives
into a redic sward be by thanks,
lovers, cheaters, brothers,
sisters, and murderers.
So close to death,
but so much hanging onto life
due to one guy who,
before leaving his shift,
carefully filled each glass to sustain
the illusion of longevity,
only to be consumed.
Eventually the smells of the city
drifted in through the glass-paned doors,
mingling with dozens of body scents,
various plumes of sharp liquor,
emulsifying cloud of perfume and stinging cologne.
Still he sat,
looking over the tops of books,
instructions for a living wage,
maps and legends to guide the patrons
(or even the hosts)
through the evening.
Across the way,
a fire twinkling,
trailing lights and sexy street waving,
somewhat of a corner,
and then wind.
(August, San Francisco, 2018)