Ortlieb’s Uptown Taproom

Listen to W.S. Di Piero reading this poem.

The sax’s rayon shirt tonight fires up
flamingos, pink parrots, blue palms
He trues his pork-pie so the pinky diamond
winks into the smoky room. The drummer
looks beyond us all, seeing things
we don’t, winged things cutting the air.
A second set at midnight, the brewery long
closed down beyond that door. After their shift,
the cookers and machinists passed through
for beers and shots, punched Bobby Darren
into the jukebox. By 3 A.M. they’re home,
leftovers in the oven, or T.V. dinners,
upstairs a sea of restless candied dreaming
(roller skating on ice, a red wet finger
in the toaster) and when he sits to eat,
he remembers waking as a child
to mountain bagpipers in his village,
Christmas morning, peasant music wheezing
high and thin down under the window.
Their goatskin bags call like animals,
the herdsmen’s arms muscled like his own
checking heat and pressure gauges,
breathing a tune dreamed up as he goes along,
like our flamingo sax, in his ecstasy tonight,
who blows bagpipe music through our hearts
and the sudsy breath of drinkers quitting work.