'Hey Andy' he said
'Why you hiding your face?
Why don't you wanna talk? '

'I'm not Andy' I said.

'Sure you are Andy' he continued
'I'd know you anywhere'

3pm on a Saturday afternoon
and the bar was pretty deserted.

'What's the matter with you Andy?
Don't you remember me?
Don't you remember all the good times we've
shared together, all the drinking we've done,
all the times we've scared off the natives? '

He lent in closer, his breath
drowned in cheap liqour and even cheaper

'Remember how we'd sit by cashpoints,
sipping from a bottle and scaring them
so much when they came for their money
that they'd just give us their change
hoping we'd go away? '

I could see that outside
it was another hot day in Hell.

The sun beating down like
a military tattoo.

Baking the tourist's that paraded by
in far too little clothing
and far too much sun-block

'Remember how the Police used to
come and haul us away?
You gotta remember that Andy? '

I looked at him.
Even for a drunk he looked bad.

'I'm not Andy' I said.

'What about that night we pulled
those 2 blondes?
That Vikki and's her name?
Apparently you could hear us
fucking 2 streets away.'

His beaten face, his beard in patches,
pleading with me too recognise
this broken fighter,
this once great warrior,
now reduced to nothing more
than a simple bar-stool jockey.

If God himself had put on his boots
and stamped on this man
the outcome would've been

'Sure man' I said
'I remember you'

Just another tradegy waiting too happen,
Wanting a little recognition before he died.

'I knew you'd remember Andy' his speech heavy as lead
'I knew it.....'

After he slid off his stool
we called him a taxi
and I helped the barman
carry him to the door.

'Andy was his son' the barman said as I repositoned myself
and lit a fresh cigarette.
'Drank himself to death about a year ago'

'Shame' I said 'Damn shame'

I ordered myself a beer and a whisky chaser.

'Keep 'em coming' I said.

'Sure Andy' the barman smiled 'Sure......'

by Neil Gray

Comments (1)

I've been looking through your poems, Neil, and this just has to be one of your best. It has everything a poem needs to make the reader want to look again and again..... Love, Fran xx