Ecotone’s tagline is “reimagining place,” and we love work that brings us to a specific location, real or imagined. In this department, Save Your Place, we highlight our favorite descriptions of place from work we’ve published at Ecotone and Lookout. And in honor of our forthcoming sound-themed issue–out soon!–we’ve chosen some descriptions of place that sound good, too.
This place is from Joe Wilkins’s essay, “Boys” in Ecotone 11.
“The air is smoky and close. A bookshelf stuffed with paperback westerns and yellowed romances rests near the woodstove in the corner, and a battered pool table shines beneath the glare light of a bare bulb. Beer posters featuring bikinied, big-haired women draped over muscle cars hang from the walls. Country music drifts from a dusty radio on a high shelf behind the bar. Though the long antenna is flagged with tinfoil, whirrups of static snap through the jangling music. On the same shelf sits a small black-and-white television, the screen shifting and flickering without sound. Every table in the place is empty. The men–for they are all men at the Sportsman–sit on tall stools at the bar. Their cowboy hats and ball caps are pulled low, their elbows heavy on the bar lip, bellies sagging beneath. They look at us and do not look at us–a kind of slow, sideways glance. They tip their beer cans to their mouths, wipe their mustaches with the backs of their shirtsleeves.
From the back of the bar, fist on her good hip, Maureen looks us up and down. Maureen owns the Sportsman and is ancient and cantankerous and broad-shouldered and big as any of the men. “Boys,” she says, in a voice that means our answer must be good, “what do you want in here?”