Monday, June 28, 2010

the Bartender in Hell...

... a poem by Sarah Manguso

I was a bartender in Hell.
People were coming up to the bar and asking for drinks
And I was saying There aren't any drinks here.
This is Hell.
I didn't have any drinks.
I didn't even have any glasses.
But I had to stay there.
A figure approached, sat down on a burning stool.
I know you don't have any drinks, he said. It's alright.
He went on. I was a painter while on earth.
I could do some painting here to fill the hours.
I have some canvases that the flames never touch
But they themselves burn whitely.
I am surrounded by thousands of canvases,
he said.
But the only color I have is white,
Staring back at me, wicked and eternal...

Thanks for the poem, R.C .... you're a hell of a guy.


Donald said...


What an awesome poem! Perfect for some things I'm going through. The picture from The Shining was perfect for it. I think it's one of the greatest scenes about temptation in the movies.

nazareth priest said...

You scared the hell out of me!
No gin and tonics?
No martinis? In hell???I better reform, quickly:<)!
Just kidding...great post!

Just another mad Catholic said...

my friend Neal hopes that there is bar in heaven - not quite sure he's got the point about earthly pleasures not being able to satisfy the soul.

PS Neal just graduate from Law School - I've only met four law students who don't drink like fish; and three of them were muslims.