She, Barkeep, to Him, Barfly by Thomas DeFreitas

She, Barkeep, to Him, Barfly

Sometimes you’d really get to me, y’know?
Fifty-cent vocab and a slacker’s gut,
you’d guzzle Newcastle ’til you browned out
on the barstool where you left a pair of cheek-prints.

Still—lavish tipper! Oh, you’d never stiff me,
but really, forty percent? Shoot, you must have
wanted me more than the dark English stout
you’d use to ease your Niles Crane love-fluster.

I gave you grief. You took it straight, no chaser,
never flinching from my ashtray trash-talk,
my moods as changeable as late October.

I miss you sometimes, kid. You weren’t a jerk.
And I know I could be a piece of work.
And hey, good luck, I heard you’re getting sober.

by Thomas DeFreitas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dylan0618/
Instagram: @thomasdef1969

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s use of first person point of view illustrates a gritty narrative from the inside, inviting the reader into empathy without sentimentality.

Crowded Cambridge Buses by Thomas DeFreitas

Crowded Cambridge Buses

I won’t sing a winsome ballad,
As my strings are all unstrung;
I’ll forsake my merry mischief:
You were taken far too young.

I won’t swim the English Channel;
I won’t climb McKinley’s peak—
Since you died, my hopes are rubble:
I’ve been crying for a week.

I won’t lift a glass of Guinness;
I’ll abstain from Maker’s Mark:
I’ll put down the gin martini
(No more cocktails after dark).

How I’ve searched for you in churches!
But despite my anguished prayer,
All I see are sculpted angels:
I can’t find you anywhere.

August will collapse to autumn
With its nights of killing frost:
Faith would say that God has gained you;
I will weep for what I’ve lost.

Now I stumble through a city
Where the trace and trail of you
Evanesce to cherished memories
In my heart so bruised and blue.

You were sunlight, you were fire,
You were Holy Eucharist:
You were Irish Catholic Boston;
Yours, the blush-bright cheek I kissed.

In the spring, you had a backache,
Then they told you what it was,
And it stole you in the summer:
I ask why; there’s no because.

I can’t rouse you from your coffin;
I can’t raise you from the dust:
I can’t get your stopped pulse beating;
I protest because I must.

Can’t you call me up or text me,
Speak some solace through the phone?
I ride crowded Cambridge buses,
But I’m horribly alone.

by Thomas DeFreitas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dylan0618/
Instagram: @thomasdef1969

Editor’s Note: This beautifully written lament emphasizes the bluesy grief of the speaker with its melancholy rhythm (trochaic tetrameter).