Today's Story by Benjamin Wachs

Everyone in this bar is a poet.


There is a poet sitting in his room above a bar, trying to keep the noise out while he concentrates on a blank page and tries to find God in the silence.

There is another poet below him, in the bar, who has come all the way out here from where he lives across town, because he cannot compose new verse while staring out the same window.  He listens to the chatter for inspiration:  trying to find a pattern in the “where are you froms” and the “Why is she always throwing herself at guys like him?” and the covetous stares of men who hide behind their beers.

The bartender is a poet.  He took a job pouring drinks and polishing glasses because he believes inspiration is to be found in the stories people tell when their guards are down and their hopes are high.  Every order, he suspects, is a prayer:  lord let this be the martini that makes the magic happen.  His feet hurt, and his back hurts, and he doesn’t read as much anymore.

Everyone in this bar is a poet, quiet and undercover, looking for a line that will be heard over the juke box, trying to find their audience, training for the day their craft will set them apart from the clink of glasses and the winks of strangers.  To be read, and understood, by someone you admire with a smile that melts your heart.

Suddenly, they all raise their glasses, every one, at once.  No one knows what it means.


Benjamin Wachs has written for Village Voice Media,, and NPR among other venues.  He archives his work at

Read more fiction by Benjamin Wachs


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page