Sealey Chapbk Challenge-22 afternoon crowd Poetic narrative excerpt

Many people came into my life in the few years of the mid 70s when I worked at the American House Tavern and Restaurant as a bartender. Most of them were treasures, full of character. They were who they were.

Still, there are always a few phony people tucked into the masses. Mostly they can be spotted easily by a bartender as they walk in the door. It was fun watching them rattle through their spiel, trying to impress me. I often wondered why they bothered. What was the reason behind it? Were they bolstering themselves and why did they care what the bartender thinks of them? Some of the guys were trying to make a score. When that didn’t happen, they turned to try it on the next gal who came through the doors of this old, historic building. These guys were shallow, thankfully they were few.

Historic buildings were not what the average customer was thinking about. . . .

THE HORSEY SET-arlene s bice

they came with bruised, calloused hands

coarser than sandpaper

to lift a shot of whiskey chased by a

cold mug of beer,

a reward

for hard work done out in the elements,

thanks not given


what they gave themselves;

not a lot of time

to linger; even on

Christmas Day

horses had regular schedules

to keep

and these

workers were there

to keep ‘em

they came from all parts

of the country, from

Canada, and the

Caribbean, landed here

in the center of

New Jersey,

to work on

one particular horse farm

or another;

‘how did they find us’

I wondered

some from the west or mid-west;

wasn’t that a reversal

of history?

They came as







water boys

stable hands

more on the list

of guys & gals

hard working

no shifting duties

either you were good

carrying your own weight

or you were


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