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Below is the poem entitled TOP OF THE STAIRS which was written by poet Monterey Sirak. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Poet's Notes

Hot Springs Arkansas was a favorite vacation spot for gangsters from Chicago and New York during the prohibition era and there are many stories circulating from that time. For a few years I spent many late nights after open mic at the poetry venue had closed, in an old building downtown, sitting upstairs in a back corner in the old cigar lounge with other poets, writers, and English professors, discussing our craft and volleying ideas back and forth. I used to imagine the sounds, words, and movements from the past were housed in the old walls and the right word spoken or right step taken on the old creaky floors could set the past free to dance once more.  

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Crumbling bricks
Peeling paint
Faded gilded ceilings
Wainscoting worn down
by the sands of time
Smoke and grime    layered 
on leaded panes of glass
bearing the words    Edmund’s Pub

And we wonder who Edmund was

An air of decayed decadence
from an era past
Tongue and groove oak floors
warped from the pounding of feet
moving to the beat of the Charleston

Spirits    auras   
sensed rather than seen
A feather light touch
A subtle change in the density of the air
as imagined dancers brush past a turned shoulder
Echoes of long ago voices
emanating from cracks in the walls
Whispers of lovers
hiding in curtained alcoves

A faint ping of cut crystal goblets
filled with forbidden amber liquor
meeting in a toast to
Hot Springs in its heyday

Downtown     Top of the stairs

Where you can still hear
the rustle of fringe and lace on satin
The tinkling of multi-colored strands of beads 
swinging from long necks
beneath bobbed hair    rosebud lips
and rouged cheeks

Patched bricks
Freshly painted walls
Ceilings gilded a warm golden
Fluorescent lights spilling onto
leaded panes of glass
bearing the words    Edmund’s pub

And we still wonder who Edmund was

I could swear I see Al Capone
sitting on the cozy cream sofa
in the cigar lounge
And is the bartender really wearing
a button-down white shirt
with a bow tie    and a garter on his sleeve

In the blink of an eye
Flip flops become spats
Baseball caps become fedora hats
And the house band is playing
We’re An American Band
Is playing Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Is playing One Man Band

You can hear the clink of glasses
filled with amber liquor
meeting in a toast to
Hot Springs in its heyday

Downtown     Top of the stairs

(*See About the poem for its history *)


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  1. Date: 9/17/2014 5:16:00 PM
    An amazing story and so interesting,

  1. Date: 12/6/2013 6:53:00 PM
    Just came here to say hello and hope to see a new poem from you soon.

  1. Date: 10/14/2013 2:19:00 AM
    this poem tickles the edge of subtlety not quite as mysterious as I like but great all the same. Nice work!

  1. Date: 10/13/2013 10:33:00 AM
    You have painted a beautiful picture with your words, Monterey. A lovely poem - thank you for sharing it :)

  1. Date: 10/12/2013 10:04:00 AM
    Your imagery excels in this marvelous description of that pub. Very well crafted poetry.

  1. Date: 10/11/2013 9:04:00 AM
    A tremendous execution of storytelling & imagery. Wonderfully done!

  1. Date: 10/11/2013 8:31:00 AM
    this is exquisite in every way possible, you make of feel taste and see the place, I'm honored to be called your friend Monti, will call u later, love xxx