First Night on the Floor

for Alex at Cafe Lafitte in Exile

Everyone knew your place
in the cruise bar.
You were the fulcrum of youth
standing between two
older bartenders.
You couldn't fake a smile
the way they could
or slice a lime with the same
confident precision
of their calloused hands,
but oh, what sweet youth
you had - standing there
like some young buck
unafraid of it all in
new black Levi's with
a tight tee-shirt rolled high
around arms of someone
not yet a man. In time,
you will learn everything.
Then, there wll be another apprentice
to make old barfly queens, leather
daddys, and all the Johns out there
looking for some Mr. Goodbar
remember a life locked away long ago.

Jeffery T. Johnson