Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Last Poet Bar

I am the world's last poet bar, though I'm damned
if you've been listening to a single word. I hail
from Rotherham. My sign fell down three years ago.
Some lad from Mexborough stole my boards

so I suppose I don't announce myself 
and no-one notices the way my basslines sound 
iambic on a Friday night, or how a clutch of ice cubes 
dropped into a glass sets off a kind of rhyme. 

Nobody cares to read the poems I carefully
disguise on every WKD label, the neat acrostics
that spell WANKED. I've wasted years suggesting
similes to chip-shop fresh nineteen year olds

who raid my tills and don't know what a handpump is:
shall I compare a 3.50am sambuca to a bullet 
through the nose? A shot of half-drained Baileys
to a just-used condom on the bar? 

Still, it's me who makes the hen do stragglers
weep on Saturdays, all heady on the poetry
of turbo shandy crossed with VK Blue. And if you ever
read between the lines, you'll note the ones

I've written specially for you; the warning laced
on top of your pint of Guinness, a clever pun 
on shamrock and sham. The empty glass I offer up
is an allegory entirely lost on you

but if you care to flip over that beermat
you've been fiddling with, you'll see I've drafted
you an elegy, part tribute and part suicide note.
Just wait. At 5am, you can't avoid 

my turn, the final couplet swimming into view.
Thick fuckers, all of you. The bar is closed.

- Helen Mort

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