payday at carty's (1986)

braced against the bar
some for comfort
some for ballast
pressed two and three deep
like that storied monument
to Iwo Jima
where they raised a flag
against the tide of receding hope 

there are no flags here
just calloused hands
waving paychecks
at Dirty Colleen
who cashes them at the bar
laughing as she pours
shots for all the boys
who are laughing too just off their shift

until they are not
and one by one
the boys fall back
into the shadows
keeping time with cigarettes
lit from end to end
more accurate than
the busted clock that hangs over the door

© 2016 gibson grand

This is part of my ongoing series about lost New York.