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late night thoughts over a drink or two outside Garage Bar

March 11, 2021

104 was closed down tonight
I’d not noticed before that there are no street lights
once the bars turned off their signs it’s mighty dark

I watched from my familiar balcony
as a minibus of masked uniforms turned the corner
ahead of a sit-in-the-back truck of soldiers,
who quickly deployed along the street brandishing
finger-on-the-trigger dangerous looking weapons
(what do I know?)
that would be more alarming had I not observed
the gendarmerie in France

there was a deal of rushing about
and vehicles leaving and
so the lights went out,
except the lighting provided for the photojournalists who followed
in rambling lockstep
to take the happy snaps of their dubious profession

one bar was targeted, it seems, and who knows why
the street was generally and variously reminded
that there’s a pandemic going on
there is little to complain of

the staff urged me not to leave
wary of police and fines
but here I am outside Garage Bar while inside
old hands hold forth on miscellaneous history narratives
            but you see
            and that’s because
            actually, what’s interesting

the garbage truck passes
denoting some kind of civic progress
is it only two years since the last great garbage crisis
or longer perhaps?
or shorter? 

the neighbourhood tuk tuk driver
calls out my street name
old school, no GPS
maybe tonight I’ll luxuriate in a vehicle too large
rather than search for a motodop

in the streets that are my personal urban centre
almost every block evokes a memory
a thought
an anecdote
that makes me sound like one of the old hands
a way for me to relive the histories through the oral tradition
of telling

sometimes I’ve got to run away I’ve got to get away
declares Gloria Jones
over the next round of bar declarations about
the world and everything beyond

unexpectedly a jungle bird is intermittently
cawing through the neon bitumen of the night
five caws
three minutes
five caws

I cannot lose my joy in the curved buildings
corner by corner through
my personal urban centre,
any more than I can lose the excitement of
Chuck Berry gems
that are now layering o’er the slowing old hands

closing time is approaching and
the barangs are thinning out
the staff break out their laughter,
making it harder to leaveand yet that is why I must

tuk tuk!

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