Keep Art Alive :: Art by Wlodzimierz Kuklinski

Drink up baby,
look at the stars,
I’ll kiss you again between the bars,
where I’m seeing you there,
with your hands in the air,
waiting to finally be caught.”

“Isabel”, with her newly dyed red hair, walks into the dark and dingy bar with eight dollars in quarters and a faraway look in her eyes. She had not noticed the name of the place, if it had one at all it would probably be someone’s “place” or “corner“. All she knows just now is she needs to get out of the cold, and she could sure use a drink.

And a few tunes on the jukebox, place like this has to have a jukebox.

She spies him near immediately, or maybe he spies her. He has dark eyes and dirty blonde hair, and is built like the first boy she ever let touch her in all those secret places. He turned his eyes away quickly, but not before she caught the start of a smile on his lips. “Isabel” walked towards him, fishing out a fist full of quarters from her sweatshirt pocket.

If you buy me a drink I will share my songs with you.” She trilled in a sing-song kind of voice, smiling at him and motioning towards the far back corner

Isn’t there always a jukebox in a far back corner in places like this?

What’s your poison?” He asked her, his smile still mostly hidden, as he shyly met her gaze.

Her poison? what would Isabel drink?

Whiskey, the cheapest they got, the kind that comes with its own burn.” She said, trying to lower her voice, adding husky inflections that seemed to fit the place and the night and the girl she needed to be.

He chose a crooner and an angel of song, both so sad “Isabel” could hardly listen. She countered with a classic rock standard and a rare gem in a town like this from the saddest of singers who was no longer in the world. “Isabel” thought, on a night like this, with cheap whiskey and this dark eyed boy in tow that even the rock song sounded blue.

I’m Joel. Have you lost someone, too?” He asked her

I have lost everyone.

Between the Bars :: Elliott Smith

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