Futility from a Height
My neurotic back is to the door. Uncharacteristically, the bar is empty. Even Bob is not present. He’s gone off to the back room to grab some coasters, some glasses or some-shit.
Sun sweeps into the silent bar, and then a sort of spatial shading creeps into that sun. Only one body is cut out to emanate such a sagacious, see-through shadow as this. The shading touches me as an understated incitement to goose pimples: I chill.
The Reverend Any Major Dude is in da house, y’all.
The bar’s door shuts out the sun. … Ugh, there it is. Shit. There’s that annoying, tripping laughter of one Chalice asslick Sinclearly. … Ugh. Can’t he just stay outside for once and go get lost?
A Black Label is on the bar, before the stool next to mine. The Reverend appears in the mirror behind the bar. The Reverend’s long, oblique face, engulfed as it is now solely by the velvety fake light of the bar’s interior, is a vast, plushly vegetated plateau dripping with revelation. I stand, turn around and slap him ten and he slaps me ten right back. … Right on. …
He looks to the Black Label, reaches for it, hoists it, slams it. I take my seat. I look up to him.
“I’ve got no real time for you today,” the Reverend shares, and gets his illogical presence all up in my grill, the thickening hair of his forehead, parted down the middle this day, tickles the tip of my nose as he bends down to speak to my face. I sneeze, and before I look back up to him I see his size 17 feet are flowing underneath my stool, the hand painted scenes on his sneakers are of streams robust with salmon run.
“God bless you. And thank you. I’m sorry, but I really have no time to spare for you at the moment. Commitments. You are not my only customer. You are not my only favorite branch of knowledge. But please feel what I am beginning to feel before I step back out into that fisticuffs-stirred air of Chicago wherein the vaporous trail of its Teachers Union bends over backwards to dodge the ricocheting bullets of Rauner’s very real stereotypical nob way of being pretensefully empathetic: your fight for your duality, for this numb-nuts here [he points a thumb over to Chalice whose face is buried into his arms that are crossed atop the bar – he is simply dying of laughter, laughing so hard that he is not making a sound], your fight for the no-namer in poetry and for poetry to get off its high horse, your fight in the name of poetry’s potential readership—the totality of your bickering at the American Literati is directly related to your fight to re-grasp your Catholic faith, to your hope that the Catholic Church will more absolutely become for and of the laity, and finally be an aesthetic extension of … hmm, what? … A moral rigor that finally embraces the loving psychotropic digressions of a Freethinker real-mindedness? … Ha! … Are you fighting a winning battle? It is said that a real Catholic goes to church; a real poet doesn’t hole up in a basement. … Know this, Hoz: you either need to reevaluate the ways of your being, or you need to concede that you are neither a poet nor a Catholic, that you are in truth what you are: a full-fledged wannabe. … And know this, Mr. Trip-Master One: futility ventures to unimaginable heights for its self-revelation. … Fly high, brother-man. Fly high.”
He raises his palms to waist-height. I slap him ten, and he slaps me ten right back. … Right on. … He turns around, and holds ten out for Chalice to slap. Chalice’s face is still buried into his arms that are crossed atop the bar. He has begun to emit hiccups of laughter, his spine heaves with each emission. The Reverend drops his hands, looks back to me and shrugs. I shrug back, then I spin around on my stool and begin to stare at myself in the mirror behind the bar.
A sort of spatial shading permeates the bar. Bob steps between me and my image, “Same way?” And as I give a nod, the bar’s door shuts out the sun.