Late night in someone else’s city
I slink into the hotel bar,
a fifteen-hour work day behind me,
smiles that know me too well ahead.
Men and women sing here and I know them,
know what they will sing
I know Joe makes a great martini
and Dane is a living rainbow,
that Chrissie smiles a little less
when her boyfriend drinks here
and the woman with the senator
meets a different senator every week.
I know the room,
gritty and pristine at once,
lets the Steinway gleam classical
and still feel ragtime
through showtunes and blues.
I know to leave my glasses behind,
to let this tiny universe wash over me
in points of light that
spread out like a kaleidoscope
before Joe serves tonight’s
This poem represents a scene, repeated may times while I was working out of town. This came as part of the experience that did the most to lead me to my current career path, and in the process showed me a world very different from what I knew up to that point.
The poem is built on repetition, reinforcing a cyclical feeling within the moment, while simultaneously paced to feel like it is moving constantly forward, blending people and music and visuals as different swirling aspects of the nights there.