two kinds of hell

I sat in the same bar for 7 years, from 5 a.m.
(the day bartender let me in 2 hours early)
to 2 a.m.

sometimes I didn't even remember going back
to my room

it were as if I were sitting on the barstool
forever

I had no money but the drinks kept
arriving
to them I wasn't the bar clown
but the bar fool
but at times a fool will find a greater
fool to
admire him,
and,
it was a crowded
place

actually, I had a viewpoint: I was waiting for
something extraordinary to
happen

but as the years wasted on
nothing ever did unless I
caused it:

broken bar mirrors, a fight with a 7 foot
giant, a dalliance with a lesbian, many things
like the ability to call a spade a spade and to
settle arguments that I did not
begin and etc. and etc. and etc.

one day I just upped and left the
place

like that

and I began to drink alone and I found the company
quite all right

then, as if the gods were bored with my peace at
heart, knocks began upon my door: ladies
the gods had sent the ladies to the
fool

and the ladies arrived one at a time and when it ended with
one
the gods immediately--without allowing me any respite--sent
another

and each began as a flash of miracle--even the bed--and the
good ended up
bad

my fault, of course, yes, that's what they told
me

but I remembered the 7 years in the bar, I hardly ever bedded
down with anybody

the gods just won't let a man drink alone, they are jealous of
his simple strength and salvation, they will send the lady
knocking upon that door
I remember all those cheap hotels, it were as if the women
were one: the delicate little rap on the wood and then:
"oh, I heard you playing that music on your radio...we're
neighbors, I'm down at 603 but I've never even seen you in
the hall..."

"come on in..."

and there go your balls and your sanctity, Men's Liberation,
they say, is not needed
and then you remember the bar
when you walked up behind the 7 foot giant and knocked his
cowboy hat off his head, yelling:
"I'll bet you sucked your mother's nipples until you were
12 years old!"

somebody in the bar saying: "hey, sir, forget it, he's a mental
case, he's an asshole, he doesn't know what he is
saying!"

"I know EXACTLY what I am saying and I'll say it again:
I'll bet you sucked..."

he won but you didn't die, not at all the way you died when the
gods arranged to get all those ladies knocking and you went for
the first flash of miracle

the other fight was more fair: he was slow, stupid and even a
little bit frightened and it went well for quite a good while,
just like with the ladies those gods
sent

the difference being, I thought I had a chance with the
ladies

Appears (in an edited form) in The People Look Like Flowers At Last

©Linda Lee Bukowski - used with permission