Submitted Date 03/15/2019

Bar Room Brawl
Age 13, Sharon Mountain, Sharon, Connecticut, 1957
-- This is one poem, in an autobiographical series of poems, I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys.
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky ~

Bruce and I were thirteen
we were intellectuals
we hated football
we read Dostoevsky
and we never watched Gun Smoke on TV

But on Saturdays
at our secret place
we constructed a western bar
from piles of trash
dumped years ago in the woods

Carefully we built it board by board
rows of old bottles
empty picture frames hanging on imaginary walls
a complete room laid out
with poker tables
and dressing-rooms for the B-girls
shelves lined with liquor bottles
behind the bar
where rowdy ranch hands stood one leg up
pounding their fists, demanding whiskey

When it was exact
when we could walk through it
and imagine the cowpokes
in every corner
we were ready

We stood outside for a moment
like roughnecks who had been ordered to leave town
then we burst through the swinging doors
with heavy sticks
and wasted the gamblers who fell
onto their cards and poker chips
along with cattlemen who turned to defend themselves
but collapsed in our spray of gunfire

Next came the bar itself
bottles carefully placed in a row
were cleared with one swing of the wrecking stick

The rotten wood of the bar broke
like a chair across a cowboy's back
the saloon girls' cosmetic jars and perfumes
went down as they crashed against a stack of bricks

In just minutes an afternoon's work was trash again

Tired and excited
we leaned our sticks against a tree
where we could find them next time
and we swaggered triumphantly out from the woods

We ruled

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  • James D. 7 months, 1 week ago

    This is great! Really captures the spirit of being a kid.

    • Rick Doble 7 months, 1 week ago

      Thanks James, I was hoping it would have that effect.

  • Tomas Chough 7 months, 1 week ago

    Awesome one! So much imagination. I used to play in the woods too. Thanks for sharing Rick!

  • Miranda Fotia 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful imagery in this piece. It takes me back to days when I used to play pretend with my friends in the woods. Great idea to do an autobiography in poetry! Hate that I didn't think of it first. If all of the poems of yours I have read are to be included, I think it will be a great series!

    • Rick Doble 6 months, 3 weeks ago

      Go ahead and start your own autobiography in poetry and then we two can claim we started a genre. Yes, all the poems you read are part of the series. If you read the "About Author" tag at the top, it tells you which poem it is in the series.

    • Rick Doble 6 months, 3 weeks ago

      Also wanted to add: If I have inspired you to write an autobiography in poetry, I could not ask for a better compliment. If you want any help, I would be glad to assist, such as how to get started.

  • Kiersten Felch 6 months, 1 week ago

    Memories of playing cowboys as kids and shoving cards into my bike spokes. You're poems are very good at making me think of my own childhood!

    • Rick Doble 5 months, 2 weeks ago

      “Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with a writer's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.” Quote by Charles Baudelaire