Nobody important wins
on the reruns on the flickering set.
The room, still stain-smoked, after all
these shitty, new-law years. This bar
still remembers its adolescence,
when drinking and smoking
and fucking
was an after-work activity,
not just an after work activity
that sometimes you got to.
“Not all of us have jobs,”
said tattered jeans, “so we get to
after we wake up,
because sleeping is hard after
my life.” His beard moves
unattractively when he talks,
like his jaw is becoming
unhinged underneath
all the mats.

Suits and tattered jeans
and work/alcoholics nursing their happy hour specials
like children at the teat.

“I’d get to if I didn’t work,
but I got the wife and kids,”
sighed suit, “and they need too much.”
“Sleeping is hard after my life.
Need a nightcap to hold off responsibility,
barricade them away from my dreams.
Otherwise I’d have nightmares.”
That night, he has nightmares.

A glass is set down softly behind
their voices. It is dredged, like a diseased
lake, empty. There are no survivors except
a blue glow from the screen, bloodshot eyes, and
a “I’d rather Beer here” coaster,
diluted by the bottom of his glass.
“I am here always,” he says,
to himself, eyes flicking to the TV like
a hummingbird, less sure than wanting.
“I am here always,” he says,
“And I don’t sleep.”

Nobody important wins anything.

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