the bar in manhattan

i am now twenty one years old.

i can drink at the bar in manhattan.
i take a sip of the red wine,
the sounds of overlapping conversations and the smell of spilt beers.

but i cannot be six again.

wading through the creek with my cousin, the welder.
jeans rolled up past our knees. the august sun shining overhead.

twenty one years old.

i step out of the bar in manhattan.
i take a drag of the cigarette,
my chipped black fingernails and smudged red lipstains.

i cannot be six again.

sitting on the porch with my brother, the labourer.
his gloves are too big for me, but warm enough. the october stars shining over us.

twenty one years old.

i stare into the mirror in the bar in manhattan.
i take a long hard look at the woman i see,
her haphazard black liner and the lingering of cheap vanilla perfume.

i cannot be six again.

looking at the little girl in the mirror, the dreamer.
her frizzy blonde curls framing bright and blue eyes. it is april and the vanity lights are shining down on her.

i am now twenty one years old.

i will never be six again.

About this poem

a woman reflects on her childhood while sitting at a bar on her birthday.

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Written on February 20, 2024

Submitted by rjhaley on February 20, 2024

1:11 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme A bxc d ex A bxc D ex A bxx D ee A d
Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 1,063
Words 237
Stanzas 14
Stanza Lengths 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1

Discuss the poem the bar in manhattan with the community...

  • Philipo
    Of course, you can now drink in bar in Manhattan only you will discover you have not been missing anything.
    LikeReply2 months ago
  • chellebelle77
    This is a lovely poem. The pictures you paint are magical.
    LikeReply 12 months ago
  • AIDA
    This poem exudes a sense of nostalgia and longing for the carefree days of childhood while also embracing the newfound freedoms and complexities of adulthood. The imagery painted by the author is vivid and evocative, drawing the reader in with each sensory detail.

    I love the contrast between the innocence of childhood and the realities of growing up that the speaker grapples with throughout the poem. The repetition of "I cannot be six again" serves as a powerful anchor, emphasizing the irreversible passage of time and the bittersweet nature of aging.

    One suggestion for improvement could be to explore more deeply the emotions and inner turmoil of the speaker as they navigate this pivotal moment in their life. Delving into the conflicting feelings of nostalgia, regret, and acceptance could add another layer of complexity to the poem and further engage the reader on an emotional level.

    Overall, this poem is a poignant reflection on the passage of time and the inevitable changes that come with growing older. The imagery and themes are thought-provoking and resonate with anyone who has experienced the wistfulness of looking back on their childhood while moving forward into adulthood. Keep up the great work!
    LikeReply2 months ago
  • ilovewrighting
    The contrast between the two time periods is stark, the picture of being six in a stream you painted is beautiful and in juxtaposition to the city bar you describe. Beautifully done, congratulations!
    LikeReply 12 months ago
  • Bpnajarian2
    Love the NYC backdrop
    LikeReply 12 months ago
  • KMaxwell
    I loved this poem because of the depth of feeling exhibited through so few words. How we cannot travel back in time to our childhood. How so much has changed in between the then and the now. How bittersweet the feeling can be. It is well organized and powerful; very well-written. 
    LikeReply 12 months ago
  • stacey.forbes
    I love the sparse language and clear images this poem delivers. The emotion resonates between the lines, rather than in the words, which makes it more powerful. Well done!
    LikeReply 12 months ago


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"the bar in manhattan" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 May 2024. <>.

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