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Beer rings on my amplifier

Updated on October 5, 2013
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It’s 2:00 am.

Digital red reading

in bloodshot eyes

of the bouncer.

And hers

staring at me

as she sways on the dance floor

from drunken eyes

the brownish orange

of a moon rising

through a smoggy Los Angeles horizon.

I’m on my last set

my ‘on the house’ beer

leaving another wet ring on my amplifier.

I get paid to do this, man.

Both microphones are mine;

one for my harp

and one to warp

with a dragons breath odor

of whiskey and her.

She was a solo song

and Eddies long neck guitar

played along

cause he liked to follow my lead

and they don’t mind

when we take turns

trading licks

through broken strings

and guitar picks

the jealous drummers

flying sticks

and the bartender

sounds like Wolfman Jack

“Get off the bar

you’re knockin’ over my glasses

but you can leave your tops off

and keep shakin’ those asses.”

His voice is the only sound

that can carry over

my squelchin’ harp

and I blew another reed

wailing in an F-sharp

and finally last call

as we clear the hall

carrying our gear

through a layer of cigarette smog

brownish orange

like a Los Angeles horizon

gulping fresh air

as I walk out into the night

ears are buzzing

and I’m high as a live wire

and still haven’t escaped

the stench of beer

because it is etched in dry rings

on the top of my amplifier.




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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Great atmosphere! Can almost taste the stale beer in the air; I know exactly what you mean. Up and awesome. Ann

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow, I can even smell the beer with your great writing.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      OHMYGOSH, Wayne. This is so descriptive that, even without ever having any experience of the kind, I feel like I've been right there during the whole long night.

      A very slight connection, though. I was 40 in 1973, & following a wrenching divorce, I worked as Bridal Consultant 6 days a week, came home to my little apartment, where I played my piano and wrote poetry with my spare time, to keep sane over my losses.

      One Sunday, someone knocked at my door. It was a young fellow I'd seen coming and going in the next apartment. He drove a bright yellow hotrod, had a St. Bernard dog in his little apartment, was about 27 and I was to learn that he was a Vietnam vet, just back from service.

      He came to apologize for shooting through my wall! Seems he was a guitarist in a band and carried a pistol because it was in a dangerous distant part of Louisville and he came off work at an ungodly hour, so it was for his protection. He'd laid it on his dresser, which obviously was against the mutual wall on which my dresser was positioned,- and the gun had inadvertently gone off and through my wall and lodged in the backing of the mirror! I slept so soundly I hadn't even heard it, but there was the hole!

      He also brought me a peace offering: some sheet music he thought I might like, "Satin Doll". He'd heard me playing a lot of the Carpenters, James Taylor, Burt Bacharach and various other then-current stuff. We became friends and, though he didn't talk about it much, I caught the essence of his war experience, that his prominent Louisville family had rejected him and his wife had left him upon his return home from service very much changed, but that he found a place where he fit in with the band with which he was affiliated, in a part of town so dangerous, he needed a pistol for protection! At times he'd seem to want to talk about it all, but usually just couldn't quite vocalize it. It was like a thick aura around him, clinging to him, enclosing him, shutting him off. I didn't drink at all, but sometimes he brought his booze to drink himself, and just wanted to talk, difficult as it was for him. It was sort of like having my own son back. I wrote several poems about him.

      The wall you had to shoot

      To make excuse

      To come upon the door

      You had to

      Find admittance through

      Merely architecture..

      The soul you found inside

      Was wall-less, doorless,

      Transparent to its kin

      And you are kin

      Who sees it.

      ______© Nellieanna H. Hay

      8-11-73

      This one still grabs me and stabs my heart:

      They took away your childhood

      And put you back a man,

      Estranged from Man.

      They gave you nothing in return

      To mend the tears within your heart.

      And when you tried

      To kill the pain,

      They punished you.

      You feel despair.

      To live, you must jump gaps

      Beyond the common stride

      To find a peaceful place

      The other side,

      To heal, to grow, to be.

      And find recovery.

      Had they shattered your body

      And left it lay, untended

      As they did your soul,

      It would have been an outrage.

      ______© Nellieanna H. Hay

      written 8-25-73

      Stan Van Horn. . . I lost track of him after I gave up staying up there in hopes of recovering my own children across the river in Indiana, who'd been cruelly brainwashed and turned against me. After a year of futile waiting and hoping, of being alone every holiday, I moved back to my native Texas. But Stan's story was the closest I ever got to being able to relate to your poem. Forgive me the circuitous explanation to get back to it, but it was what your poem touched off in my memory. Sort of goose-bumpy.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      (Actually, I was 41. I'd been 40 when I moved into that apartment. I'd just learned to drive before I moved into it!)

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Ann. I appreciate the support.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      :) Thank you, Linda.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Such vivid expression of the life of a musician. I love this, Wayne. Billy Joel, watch out! Wayne Barrett is in town!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nellieanna, very stirring reply, and the poetry that you shared and the story about the man next door is very touching. As you said it did to you, stories like this can so easily touch off emotions and memories that have been buried deep in the back pages of my consciousness.

      Thank you very much for sharing your experience and for the visit to my humble hub.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Sha. I don't think Billy Joel has much to worry about. ;)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Perhaps it's the function of poetry - to open closed doors in one's consciousness of experience and feelings.

      Thank you for tolerating my lengthy one from half my lifetime ago. I couldn't have blamed you, had you just removed it!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nellieanna, your comments are a banner on my hubs. I couldn't conceive of removing one.

      By the way, I found Jodah, and we are now following one another.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Wonderful, Wayne and voted up for sure. What a great community we have here and I also enjoyed Nellieanna's comment. Enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Wayne, you're most kind! Thank you.

      I'm pleased that you found Jodah, too. He's a really good writer who had been unsung. I'm never disappointed when I visit his hubs and am proud to recommend his work.

      Eddy, thank you!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Eddy.

    • Tuatha profile image

      Kari Shinal 3 years ago from Fayetteville, NC

      Wow! I feel like I just went out on the town. Much enjoyed the trip. Thanks Wayne!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Kari.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      So that was you playing that night when I was shaking my ***. LOL.

      Excellent poem. A definite share!

      Wishing you a wonderful day!

      Kim

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Kim. That must have been you when I was singing, 'Shake your money maker' :)

      I hope you have a wonderful day as well.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      You've captured live gig night really well here Wayne. Cool poem.

      All the Best,

      R.Q.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      You brought me into the scene to enjoy the music and to feel as if I knew the player of that axe. Thank you for sharing. Jamie

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Romeo. I appreciate the compliment.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I can also smell the cigarette smoke and the stench of old beer, hear the strains of the piano that needs tuning and the overly bright lights hurt my eyes.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Jamie

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Sounds like you were there, Deb. Thanks for the visit.

    • Lilliana Delanor profile image

      Lilliana Delanor 3 years ago from Michigan, USA

      This reminds me of the many long nights spent in bars with my X's band :) Old memories but good ones

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks for the visit, Lilliana.

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