I found you in a bar
that feels like Mexico in the early 90s
the bar where everyone’s dad
used to get fucked up,
my friend Genesis would say.
It’s a space idle and frozen in time,
stuck between the U.S. border and gentrification,
the kind of bar I imagine my father’s father sitting in
drunk on communism and tequila.
This is where the men of the family go.
Long like a trailer house,
mirrored walls that make you curse your own reflection
catching glances of yourself licking the salt
from the glass rim of a michelada.
Negro modelos marinating in spice and lime,
this is where young & old go
when their desires and angst
cannot be soothed by American sterilization/ sports bars/ TV Trotters/ frat boy bar hoppers.
The middle aged woman smoking outside told me that the drinks are gracious to your pockets, but a bitch to your liver.
The music is cumbia and ranchero,
lullabies for the old men who’ve never returned to Mexico
out of fear of deportation.
Young women in cat eye eyeliner and plum lined lips looking tougher than dirt
sway to the melody of sad love songs of betrayal and begging for forget—
the songs their mothers listened to
finding themselves in the stories.
Every so often, a 90s house music track thumps
through the rickety floorboards
and soon enough we are chanting
“It’s time for the percolator”
as solemn old men
hold their bottles by the neck
watching our new dance even though
it’s already 20 years old.