the green room


    I walked the neighborhood
    tonight to The Green Room,
    our neighborhood bar,
    “serving Durham since Prohibition”
    in a small square building
    whose green walls are as infused
    with smoke as it is with stories.
    Beer and basketball were my menu
    tonight, as others shot pool and
    played table shuffleboard,
    each of us speaking to the other
    as we crisscrossed the room
    like billard balls on green felt.
    Michael, the owner, sock hat
    pulled over his head, smiled and
    worked the room to create
    another night that would sink
    into the plaster and hold
    the place together.
    Six rules are posted at the register:

    we don’t serve drunks;
    use common sense;
    respect others;
    take care of the equipment;
    no drinks on the tables;
    don’t talk with your mouth full.

    I kept the rules, watched
    the game, and helped the
    young bartender practice
    the art of conversartion.
    Then I finished my beer and
    walked the block back home.


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