The Marijo Tonight

C. 1995 Jackie Tice

I am but a writer
My assignment is posted
Cover the Marijo tonight
My thoughts could not be farther
For of all the pubs in Dublin
The Marijo is bound to have a fight

I will see them pound their hands
On the dark Formica counter
To the rhythms of the band
And I will hear them curse their wives
And boast about their children
While they bitch about the bosses on the lines
At the Marijo tonight

Waitress Julie has a daughter
Fathered by a man named Denny
He comes in about ten o'clock each night
She pours him rye and water
And they joke about the old times
She watches for her husband to arrive

He picks her up with thorny eyes
And she dutifully hands him
All the tips she earned that night
She follows him out through the door
First she glances back at Denny
Like she's done so many times before
At the Marijo tonight

John comes by for a cold drink
He's only back here for the weekend
You can't miss that twinkle in his eye
Of all the sons of this old place
He's the one that holds most promise
Thank God he got out just in time

They gaze at him and see the signs
Of the dreams that they've forgotten
Or refused to stand behind
His victories become their pride
Till their false conceit has faded
And there's no place lift to hide

The air hangs still in a clouded haze
And the outlook is archaic
People stay the same day after day
And if it weren't for their blind faith
The stone characters would crumble
Change is the hardest price to pay

On Sundays they all stand in line
And recite Acts of Contrition
And Our Father seven times
'Cause Friday's when they take the dive
Drown their darkness in the bottle
Curse their bosses and their wives
At the Marijo tonight

The band takes cue from the owner, Clyde
They sing refrains of Happy Birthday
Mr. Christie celebrates tonight
He's old and harsh and he's quick to lie
But he's been coming since she opened
He's the last one living from that time

The market crashed in '29
He last his drugstore on the corner
And his wife, Virginia, died
Tomorrow he'll be ninety-three
He buys a round up for the women
Sends one over just for me

I am but a writer
My assignment is posted
Cover the Marijo tonight
The Marijo tonight