There are three of us in a babbling hotel,
close to the happy hour.
He is older than I,
younger than my father.
A man full of stories about the town that he left
when he was young.
A rich balladeer,
unique in his capacity to reflect
through the escapists fortune
of having been away.
In all the years till my father died,
when I was a youth and when I was already a man,
I never once supplied, or offered to supply, beer
or whisky or wine.
When I brought my mates around home,
we drank his beer.
When my brothers and I came to visit,
we could not retire to our beds while there was a drop left
in the whisky bottle that he always had available,
even if it was just the two of us doing the drinking.
You know, I never even thought of offering to supply it,
whether drink or food.
Of course, I realise that he would have been offended
if I’d ever done such a thing, but,
especially since he died, I’ve thought about it a lot
and wished that
I’d bought a six-pack, or a bottle of scotch,
and at least made the gesture.
My own father responded,
well, that’s just the way they were
in those days, and now
you probably do the same for your own kids.
I looked at my father, and thought, yes,
that’s the way you have always been. Perhaps
I should get a six-pack or a slab of beer
to offer you, and see what you have to say
drink up gentlemen, it’s my shout.
What’ll you have?
© Frank Prem, 2003