Time for another bar poem! On a recent trip to New Orleans, Georgia Santa-Maria was hanging out at Igor's. Whether she was washing her duds or just sipping the suds she didn't say. Still, if I were in town for more than one laundry cycle I would be there too.
Georgia Santa-Maria has just moved north from Belen to Anton Chico. She is an Albuquerque native, born in the old purple brick St. Joseph's Hospital (now Lovelace Hosp.) on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Igor’s is the World’s coolest laundromat
Amber light and amber beer, a little neon,
Old dark wood, rococo chocolate ceiling tin
Pool tables crowd the dryers in the back
(A short stick enables those tricky shots)
Smells of soap and sizzling burgers,
The cook in a paper hat asks
“You want cheese with that?”
Cajun style, a little cayenne
“When’s Ayala comin’ in?” a regular asks.
“Now” the cook says, and the new bartender
Saunters in, break your heart beautiful,
Gives the regulars a gorgeous grin,
Shining eyes and coffee skin,
As she ties her apron behind her back,
Outside the trolly rolls down the track
“Ding, ding, clatter, clatter
Along its iron and live oak path.
Upstairs, the lady’s room doors embrace
A long existential poem,
Some woman hung her heart out in here.
Above flood-line, along the stair
Frames of pictures, Igor’s history, all the gang
Many no longer here. But a little mold
Won’t ruin the memory of those good times.
Igor’s is back, if not all of its customers.
I feel the cemetery, one block down
On Lafayette, the white tomb’s dignity,
Mardi Gras beads along the graves,
Festivity, even in death.
The washers hum, the pool balls clack,
Up front, from the bar, a great big laugh
Light filters in from the Southern front,
Out on St. Charles, where the World goes past.
Clean clothes are the least of Igor’s charms.
Bring $10, one for the wash, one for the dryer,
Two for a couple of racks, the rest
For that Cajun burger with fries
And a cold amber in good company,
The living and the dead.
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