The Sanctuaries by Bill Gainer

Used to work the factories
mostly the graveyard shift
a lot of years ago.
No demons, vampires
monsters, or ghosts
just tired souls and the job.
In the morning
the sanctuaries –
Bob’s Place, the Busy Bee Club
The Steamroller, Pete’s Hideout
the Chittenden Pass Inn
Whiskey Hill.
In those days
a long list of honky tonks
and dive bars
a gang of bartenders
who knew how to
keep secrets
He comes, he goes
no – ain’t seen him
not today.
A juke box
always hungry.
The same tired gal
needing a last dance
before heading home
from the packing plant.
It’s always too early, too late
never the right time.
You order another round –
a short beer – a straight shot.
The rumble of the machines
still grinding in your ears.
The blink of the neon –
the night’s
life support.
You hope no one
starts a fight.

Bill Gainer is a storyteller, humorist, award winning poet and the maker of mysterious things. He earned his BA from St. Mary’s College and his MPA from the University of San Francisco. He is the publisher of the PEN Award winning R. L. Crow Publications and is the ongoing host of Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium (Sacramento, CA). Gainer is internationally published and known across the country for giving legendary fun filled performances. His work is not for sissies. Gainer’s latest book, Lipstick and Bullet Holes, is from Epic Rites Press, Canada (2014). Visit:

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