The Laughing Policeman, (for Grandad John)
They sat in rows, on bar stools,
Just like punchlines, between the cars
Ashtrays had retired,
Jokes hung over the barman’s head.
Four more smiles he whispered
Between Cadillac lips
Still, he’d shoot the morning back,
As he smirked,
Without a pause for the day.
Comradery dictates they’d do the same,
To keep the skittle-ball rolling
Rusty whisky in a hallowed glass
Faces turned rifle-butt red.
Six more of the same,
Padded leather shoes,
The uniform of a seasoned performer,
Perfection in a building made of prison scars
No one stares long enough at the wall anyway.
He’d tell you his secrets
But he always lied about his past.
Syllable after syllable, expertly timed.
Glasses would rattle,
Nails hammered into the bar,
Outsiders would mumble,
That he sounded just like fireworks.
He was both the drum roll and the snare,
Accolades slid into his arm, one after another,
It still echoes in the basement,
His stage show lives on,
‘Laughed so hard, nearly bought my own beer!’
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