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He clings to the bar with one hand to support himself
But the grip on his glass is tighter
The white spirals of bitter foam
Like the rings in a severed tree stump
Counting the years he’s been rooted to this very spot
In this very pub

He licks his lips that taste of ashes,
Wheezing loudly through grey moustaches
And the bell rings for last orders
And he rifles through his pocket
Counting with his fingers enough loose change for another round
But the bartender says he’s had
Too much
Too much
Too much and now it’s time to go

On his shuffle home he stops to rest
On a bench
On a road
Under a streetlight where he once stole a kiss
He closes his eyes just for a minute
To quietly reminisce
And the amber glow reflected in his spectacles
Is a sight to behold
As if his eyes are blazing with the fire of youth
That he can still feel burning

© Jamie Burnette 2013


Todays piece comes from Jamie Burnette, a student and writer based in Preston in the UK. In this great example of free verse, where the content and tone is allowed to determine the structure, Jamie paints a tale both poingant and touching.

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