passing the King Cole Bar (Adam Berlin)

since i stopped

i see not-shed tears 

of unused blue

at the King Cole Bar i stole 2

bottles of champagne and laughed 

when they caught me

they couldn’t hit me

martini-tough/i did pull-ups hungover

sometimes i called 1

when i was with another

sometimes i rubbed toothpaste

against my gums and left

before they woke

sometimes i fell

in a blizzard’s sideways snow

sometimes i spilled

on a white-clothed table 

watched red spread urchin-shell pink

since i stopped (Cut!)

they’re not heat-shimmered jesters

or my background extras


Favorite Drink: Dirty-ish Martini: Three shots Beefeater gin + Quarter shot dry vermouth + 1 teaspoon leftover pickle juice = Shake like James Bond


Adam Berlin has written four novels, including Belmondo Style (St. Martin’s Press/ The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award), and a short collection of boxing poems: The Standing Eight. He teaches writing at John Jay College in NYC and co-edits the litmag J Journal: New Writing on Justice. 


image: Claire Cantrell Wood, dive bar aficionado.