The first time I worked at the back of a bar
I wasn’t even serving, just picking up glasses.
To be honest there wasn’t much for me
to do at first, but at the end of the night
I was dead on my feet
and I swear I looked like total shit.
“Darlin’ mind you don’t put up with no shit”
Rick told me (he owned the bar)
He introduced me to the bouncers, all over six feet
tall. I started picking up glasses
at eight and finished the night
at three in morning. It was hard for me
but the “clients” amused me.
Some were quite nice but the tips were always shit.
They got meaner and uglier later at night
“Bitch, what you doing in a bar?”
I thought, picking up her glasses
and spilling vodka on my feet.
Women’s stupid stilettos kept bruising my feet.
“Sir please don’t fucking touch me
or I swear I’ll smash these glasses
in your face!” The toilets always smelt like shit.
So did the club downstairs, under the bar.
I can’t believe I worked there more than one night.
I got punched twice another night.
The first was an accident, the second knocked me off my feet.
The bouncers took the guy and threw him out of the bar.
Then Rick gave me
a drink, “Told you not to take shit.”
He gave me another, then I picked up the glasses.
One time some guys started throwing glasses
so a bouncer took them out into the night
air to calm down. Then he beat the shit
out of them. They fell at his feet.
When he came back in Rick told me
to call the police, then clean up the bar.
Bit of a rough night. I got bruises on my ribs and blisters on my feet,
people said such stupid shit to me
when I collected glasses at the Rick’s Bar.
Previously published in the UKCCWS Illustrated Anthology Vol. 3 (2016).
Georgie Hoffman is a student of English and American Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Kent. After a year abroad at Mount Holyoke College in Western Massachusetts, she will begin her final year at Kent in September. She is half English and half American and lives in south east London. Ideas for poems often come from things she has seen or heard people saying when walking around the city.