When We Sang

I need old friends and alcohol,
huddled over a restaurant table
with warm lights, with shadows,
with secrets. Cracked beers and
peanut shells, talks of weather,
and family, of history, theirs
and mine, flavored and steeped
like tea leaves for hours, we’ll
joke about the funny stories our
spouses don’t get, the time we set
the plants on fire and Eli ran out
into the four lane at 1 am. It’s hard
to fake the shared laughter you get
from good tea like that. The inside
joke of an inside joke of an inside
joke. I guess you just had to be there,
motherfucker, if I have to explain it.

 

My wife looks at me with, what else can
it be, disgust, when I tell her that
I still love those guys. Still love cold
Pabst and Missouri BBQ, baked
beans with bacon, seven guys in a room,
all listening to the same song, playing
air guitar because we can’t help ourselves.
Our girlfriends down the hall talking
about the future. The one I broke up with
because I was scared, while others got married,
then divorced. Everything is different.
Uploaded now. Tweeted. I see their names
online, in my chat list, just a click and a few
keystrokes away from saying hello, but
I don’t. Silence reigns over the fiber optics
while we all work too late, sending our wives,
if we have wives, to bed alone. We strain
our eyes looking at computer screens,
listening to the old songs we used to
while we work just a couple more hours,
not like when we would all sing together,
a joyful choir, a song that we all loved,
full of Pabst and grilled burgers, thinking that
maybe things don’t have to change, that we could
steep together in this cup, now running over,
allof us Psalmists, all of us lost in that same
moment, in that same broken tenor when,
we sang.