The Can Tab Lounge
by Lisa A. Smith

    You push the door open
    And walk into this
    Little hole in the wall
    On Mass Ave., so easily
    Missed if it wasn't for the
    Music streaming through
    The cracks in the wall.

    It's smoky of course
    (All really good bars always are)
    And it's dimly lit, and the sound, the music
    Riding above all the smoke is bittersweet,
    And hints of dying dreams.

    The people around are mere
    Shadows implying human forms,
    They could be ghosts,
    As you maneuver your
    Way to the bar. You order
    Whatever strikes your fancy tonight,
    And as you're waiting for the old bartender
    To hustle your drink, you
    Hear a voice start to sift and weave it's way
    Into the music. You turn an expected
    Smile towards the front of the bar.
    It's the man you've come to hear.

    Weepin' Willy has begun to
    Cast his magic on this near desperate place.
    He stands beneath the hot lights
    Of the pseudo-stage
    And belts out blues standards,
    While his guitar croons sweetly along with him.
    He is almost as old as the songs
    He sings, and his voice is so mellow
    You sink right into it like
    A comfortable chair.

    He is the king of the blues in this
    Particular court, and he rules with
    A certain and steady hand. As he leads
    You down one melody to another, the
    Bar fades away and there is nothing but
    Willy and his guitar, as he sends shivers down
    Your spine, the way that only really good
    Blues music can do. You want to close your eyes,
    And just feel the music flow through you.
    But instead you watch him as plays his music, his chocolate
    Brown skin slightly shiny with sweat, he closes
    His eyes as he tells you that his woman done him wrong.
    His hands lovingly run over the guitars strings making
    It tell the story with him; punctuating his pain in all the
    Right places; and you're there. Transported to where he wants
    You to be, and you will relish the moment.

    Then, it's over, he finishes with a flourish and
    Steps into the crowd to accept his well
    Deserved scotch and soda from his favorite lady.
    You sigh, because you want more, but you're
    Still satisfied, and there's always next week.
    When Weepin' Willy will step back under the lights
    And capture your soul again for a little while,
    In this hole in the wall bar in Cambridge, called the
    Can Tab Lounge.

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