April 1, 2017 orangeq2017

The Basement Bar of the Bryant Park Inn

Carl James Grindley


The room heaved in a perfect storm
And everyone took cover, tied on their
Life jackets and tried find the radio,
But the dial ditched around, lapsed around,
Tore completely off, and the station shifted
Into something no one wanted to hear,
And I’m all like: I’m with you, man,
It’s loud, discordant music
With grim decorations, carved, I added later—
Covering my ears, stopping my ears, disregarding
The dwarves and trolls and slutty gatekeepers
Who ran their three-inch claws along my neck—
Out of neat wood, wrought iron, and trained
To sense and seek out the raining heart,
The dripping heart, the heart bathed in an entire
Bleak November of blistering Pacific Northwest rain,
And it’s like ice, man, I added, it’s loud like a stab
Into an open eye, twitching and rich,
So unexpected that it’s like the world suddenly shifted
Color from blue to red, and it’s loud,
Impossibly loud, and you lose yourself in it,
Trying to write down the notation,
Transcribe a song you don’t quite understand,
But, man, I added, you keep doing it
Until you’re—just think about it, just once,
Just this one time before you grow too old
To think about it ever again—and do you think
That you’re immune? That you’ll outlast it?
That you’ll never wake up
And realize that you were eighteen years old
A long, long time ago, and that you’ve just been
Kidding yourself all along anyhow?
Think about it, man, just think,
That but for a couple of freezing stray
Religious thoughts you could have been Pope—
You could have been president,
You could have been CEO of something
You’d just as soon as firebomb into oblivion.
Today, man, I added, I don’t even care who dies
When the building catches fire.


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