Ideal Corners: A Song for Nye’s

Photo courtesy of Jeff Miletich.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Miletich.

There’s a Nye’s regular,
a gentleman who wears black cocktail dresses
and who is taller than you
and whose impeccable manners
and soft voice confirm
you’ve stepped into the idealized supper club
of your chatting-with-Audrey-Hepburn dreams.

Ah, Nye’s, say it isn’t true.

Why do the money-lovers have to
commandeer the ideal corners?
How long has Famous Dave’s
been sitting empty in Linden Hills?
While their staff could have been earning a living?
While we could have been meeting for bar-b-que?

How is it possible for a sterile computer store
to stand where the Uptown Bar once stood?
Does commerce always have to trump
hash browns and Bloody Mary’s,
loud guitars, slow dances and real music?

Ah, Nye’s, say it isn’t true.

“Every night,” Keith Richards said, “there’s a different
world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band,
depending on who’s playing and who’s really on.”
I’m here to testify that there
have been Tuesdays when St. Dominic’s Trio
earned that title in the Polka Lounge.
There have been electric nights when they
made that old, working-man’s bar levitate.
Just don’t believe them when they announce
it’s Corky, the bartender’s, birthday.

“Why do the best things,” Levon Helm sang, “always disappear?”
At the piano bar John Eller
played anything you wanted, even “Piano Man,”
and sang along as you lived out your
Sinatra fantasy for the minutes it took you to croon
“Blues Eyes Crying in the Rain”
or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
or “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

Ah, Nye’s say it isn’t true.

Last Friday an inebriated young man
snuck a painting of Nye’s neon exterior
off the Polka Lounge’s wall.
He wanted a piece of Nye’s,
but was apprehended before he could slip out the door.

I wish he’d made it to his friend’s car
and kept the painting
for the elegant transvestite,
and Famous Dave’s,
and the Uptown Bar,
and St. Dominic’s Trio,
and Corky the bartender,
and John Eller,
and me,
and you.

Visit Nye’s while you can.