Just in from the cold
on a sweltering, derelict afternoon
in the summer of sixteen,
with sad eyes, red as rusty pipes,
glistening with recent tears
brought on by eons of prideful regret,
smelling of bus station bathrooms
and the smoke of a billion fires
spewing toxic fumes
from curling multi-colored plastic bags
a particularly grimey set of rags
with no one left within,
walked into a bar.
How could you possibly forgive me?
the nothingness within asked.
The words rattled around,
yes, they rattled around those filthy clothes
like dead cockroaches on a fling.
before flipping onto their backs
on the bar top, dead to the world.
The bartender poured a beer
and set it before the smoldering pile.
Here, have one more on the house.
The customers all left ages ago.
He was a kind and generous bartender.
He wasn’t picky about who he served.
A few remaining gases awoke rumbled
as they escaped the free standing
clump of discards on the stool.
I’m here for you to abuse, to accuse,
blame and misuse, the reeking discards slurred,
I was once someone or someone was me,
I no longer remember which, or care.
but I was finally beaten down.
go ahead, give me a kick.
I no longer have a mind to mind.
A swig was mysteriously swilled
and dribbled onto the floor,
The bartender looked around
to see if anyone was watching
and seeing no one,
came around the bar
and took a swing with his left foot
but connected with nothing.
He felt a lot better though
as he carried the smelly rags
out the back door
and threw them in the bin.
Then he heard another dribble
hit the floor inside the empty bar.
It fell without judgement,
without blame, or shame
and would require
nor word of thanks,
so he went back inside
and poured another glassful,
which was his job of course,
and offered a nervous toast
to nothing at all,
sitting unadorned across from him,
the last drop