Reading Rich Gegick’s Greasy Handshakes at Neighbors Tavern in Jeannette, Pennsylvania
Since it’s my first time at Neighbors, I don’t know what I want
to drink. Call me a snob, but none of the drafts look appealing
to me. But I order one anyway. I can’t recall the last time that
I had me a Coors Banquet beer. And it doesn’t taste bad. But it
doesn’t taste great either—perhaps one of the worst things you
can say about a beer. But I’ve got a copy of Greasy Handshakes
and that is something. At the art gallery, Newman gave me a big
box of them to take to Rich, his author copies. And I pulled one
out of the box to have as a companion at the bar, promising I’d
replace it after my brief stop off at Neighbors. Thinking maybe
I’d only have to have one Coors Banquet if Bobby would be up
for company once I am back in Allegheny County, and across
the Westinghouse Bridge, where I feel at home, close to my lady
and my friends and my collection of books and records, cassettes
and compact discs and 8-tracks, DVDs and VHS tapes. I know
I’m a sucker for crap. I fucking love crap. Maybe older crap
especially, but any crap’ll do. My crap. All that crap that I own.
That crap almost makes you feel immortal, you know? I’m going
to own all this crap forever. These records. These old-ass books.
I didn’t spill any of my Banquet on the book I borrowed, Rich.
Next time I go to Neighbors, I think I’ll get a bottle of High Life.
Or else maybe I’ll just stick to going to Johnny’s Wife’s Place.
About the Author: Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have been collected in three books—Unattended Fire, The River Underneath the City, and Muskrat Friday Dinner. He is also an assistant editor at Low Ghost Press.
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Image Credit: John Vachon “Bartender in Catholic Sokol Club. Ambridge, Pennsylvania” (1941) The Library of Congress