A Quick Drink

Join The Dillydoun Review in celebrating National Poetry Month with

A Poem by W. F. Althaus

We walked into this bar
A bit too fancy for four dudes
Looking to put a couple away
Before watching Mad Max in IMAX
But a beer’s a beer, right?

Dark-stained hardwood throughout
Not even a scuff on the floor
The bartenders and waitress
Wear black slacks and ties
Over white shirts, sleeves rolled.

We sat at the bar, cellos rolling
Out vintage harmonies
From hidden speakers and
The woman back there handed
Us the beer list—

A leather-bound volume
With gilded brass at the corners
Listing ales with fancy names,
Leading me to assume they came
From the furthest regions of the Earth,
And man’s experience on it, like all of our
Collective consciousness was brewed
In austere and unknowable locales
Then assembled there for us to tap into,
Assimilate with the rest of history
In one swig—

The King Tut from Egypt
Or the German König Pilsener.
They all found something they wanted
Right away.
“One minute,” I told her.

Something Dutch? A Japanese Sapporo?
My friends watched me, my face red with
Frustration and humiliation and
None of those fancy-lettered titles
Meant a damn thing to me anymore.

I’d drank Sapporo in Sapporo and
Downed pints in Huntingdon and Oslo, but
I don’t know if I would revisit them just then,
Given the chance.

I wanted to walk across a field
Toward a lake, a lost love
The connection to a time
Where everything was clear
When everything was about her
When the cosmos seemed aligned
And alighted to her

You could run all over the world
Looking for something
And find it where you began.

“Excuse me?” I asked the bartender,
And declared what I wanted.
A smirk curled on her lips and she looked
At my friends to see if it was a joke
Then looked at her watch.

“It took you seven-and-a-half minutes
To figure out you wanted Bud Light?”
I only shrugged and my friend explained
That it had taken me a hell of a lot longer to
Figure out much more important things.

“Waiting for him to sort things out is like
Watching a hamster sleep on a wheel.”


W. F. Althaus earned his BA in English (Creative Writing) in 2008 from Wright-State University, and currently lives and works near Colorado Springs with his wife, three kids, dog, cat, and his daughter’s rabbits. His poems have been published in Deadly Writers Patrol, East by Northeast and The Penwood Review.

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