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Scott Parson, dabbler in typestries and fabulations

Barkeep God

“Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to the bitter in soul.” — Proverbs 31:6

It takes me ninety proof
to shoulder burdens from the Lord.
That’s the strength that He provides me.

Not a lot of company
inside the mental roadhouse,
a respite from this journey.
It’s broken down and empty,
but well-used,
like everyone is out the back
to catch a smoke, or puke.
My own reflection in the mirror
tells me all I need to know.

It’s the lazy kind of place
where days all melt together,
dripped and draped
in twinkling lights and tinsel,
felt, and crepe, and burned down candles.
Salutes to seasons past,
which, just like me, fray and shed
and glitter slightly in the neon.
The air is still and stale with sweat
and beer and smoke and women.

He pours me yet another stiff one
and refills the bowl with nuts.
He swabs the bar in front of me
and tells me it’s all fine.
He strikes a match
to touch the stub of my cigar.

When I rage and swear
He comes around to sit beside me
and downs a double of His own.
My world keeps changing,
who can fully grasp it?
He shakes His head and says,
there doesn’t seem to be a one,
from what I’ve seen behind the bar.

It makes my life a bitch, I say.
I’ll give you that, He says,
and tips His glass to drink.

He says it might surprise me, though,
how He’s known a million like me.
I have to ask— do any ever make it?
Not as many as I’d like, He says,
but some.

And that’s as good as I will get.
We don’t bother with more talking.
Instead, I listen to the juke box,
for the clues to what He’s thinking.
It’s somewhere in the music.
That’s why we thumb in quarters
and keep it turned up loud.


Bar Sign

Image:  by StockSnap from PixabayCarriage Ride

Neon Bar Sign Image by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay