Down at Old Sharpie’s
On a green velvet cloth table rubbed
with cue faded blue dust, blown off
the tips of little square cubes held
between finger tips, able and
yearning to aim true.
I bought my first cue from a local
pawnshop when money was tight,
it was stained blood red from a fight
one night when it came crashing
down on the head of a hustler, who
lost the fight for his life, outside
Sharpie’s pool hall.
Hanging out at Sharpie’s place
where smoky talk and coca cola
sat beside me, I leaned over a
table to take my shot with an eagle
sharp eye scoping down my prized
cue, twisting in my hands.
Laying my fag on the polished edge,
where scorched and burned mahogany
shone of better days, and smoky rings
whiffed up to a ceiling where cheering
cockroaches hung out to play and
watch a boy line up his first shot of the day.
I knew the cheap tricks, and smack talk,
to pick a pocket clean and leave them
scratching and wondering how this kid
dropped his balls so clean.
Hustling like a pro, never getting enough
of cutting a ball with a new technique,
moving straight as an arrow gliding for
the kill I’d watch that ball rolling so
well go “whoosh” as it fell into a web
laced leather pocket embracing it so.
Watching broken men with toothless
old grins, nicotine finger tips clutching
their butts and swigging their gin, from
brown paper bags, playing craps under
wobbly legged tucked away tables,
when a boy burst in and yelled Mama
is alone and wants you at home, to one
of the gin filled men.
Snooker was my game and I took aim
to leave a school to lay some odds
against myself, and hope that I could
make a mark far beyond the dark and
dingy smoke filled hall where shots
were heard and excitement kept
calling me down to Old Sharpie’s pool hall.
© Copyright Vincent Moore. All Rights Reserved