Five O'Clock Queen
Every day at five on the dot, she comes
All the heads raise, swivel around, and then look away
(I don't know why she comes here anymore.)
They tell me she was beautiful in her time
Nice long legs and red-gold hair and eyes to catch your breath
But time's become her enemy, if it ever was her friend.
I don't think there's anything sadder
Than the face she smiles at me
As I pour her beer and take her coins and watch her look around.
She stumbles to the booth that knows her contours well
Fluffs back her hair and licks her lips
And pretends she's unaware.
Maybe there's a new guy in, that doesn't know the score
And I see him raise her hopes up
And then dash them to the ground.
The regulars jab him in the ribs and laugh behind their hands
"No, son," they say, "You want none of that!"
And she pretends she doesn't hear.
When the beer is warm and the night is cold
I watch her reflection in the window pane
On the odd night, in that light, I can see her as she was.
Sometimes, I ignore her and sometimes I just can't
I wipe the bar and wipe my hands
And put quarters in the jukebox.
"This one's for you." I'll say
And she'll light up like a child on Christmas morning
And nod her graying head like a reigning queen.
But when she's gone, I'll play a Dave Loggins song
And a hush falls as the room is filled with shame
And pain and longing for the days that are no more.
Days when youth was beautiful even on an ugly face
And those eyes could make you stumble after
And promise her tomorrow when you knew it wouldn't come.
May 12, 09
This is the heartbreaking song that inspired this poem. I felt that this woman had another
part of her story that needed to be told...................