The Bartender At Desperate Annie’s, Saratoga Springs, Believes Our Savior To Be The Morning Line Favorite

 

 

You’ll not see their like come race season,

Having left the premises to be replaced

By the preening breast-augmented and face-lifted set,

Shaking their heads and clucking sadly if one inquires

If they might have something smaller than a Franklin in their wallets,

Their smooth patter, replete with references to Paris junkets and Milan catwalks

Occasionally interrupted by one of their more prosaic counterparts

(Hard-core players following the nags up from Belmont)

Stopping in to partake in one vice they’d sworn off earlier

While loudly disclaiming the other which had ruined

An otherwise perfectly lovely afternoon

(They’ll down their draughts in short order,

Invariably headed for the harness track to drop a twenty

On some longshot bearing the name of a long-departed grandmother.)

This time of year, though, they are ubiquitous as the black and salted slush,

Sad souls slouching in after a bracing walk from Skidmore campus

Or some down-at-the-heels apartment on Alger Street,

Sitting in some quiet booth with the familiar stare

You see in someone coming to grips with the notion

Of a being an object of prey in a very small pond indeed

(Likely a semester, no more than two certainly,

From having their undergraduate epaulets torn from their shoulders)

Being as quiet and unobtrusive as church mice

Until a half-dozen or so Coors Lites

Leads them to pontificate on the injustice of the universe

And if they have not decided to stagger home

Or degenerated into desolate tears of self-pity,

They are wont to dispute the existence of the Almighty,

Saying with a conviction that would be impressive from Beelzebub himself

That he does not exist, that he cannot exist,

Though the body of proof cited tends to be fragmented

And rife with circular reasoning

(We know that they’re most likely drinking with false ID,

But they are invariably pedestrians—let them have their moment,

Only threats to themselves, after all.)

As for myself, I’m of the opinion that faith in the Hereafter

Is that rarest of bets, an absolute dead cert

Where you walk to the betting window clutching house money.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “The Bartender At Desperate Annie’s, Saratoga Springs, Believes Our Savior To Be The Morning Line Favorite

  1. So, my college writing professor once said this about Dostoyevsky: he liked vodka and did not believe in paragraphs. Whenever I read your winding one stanza pieces, I am reminded of that comment. And, I like when you do a long stanza-ed piece. Here I think it serves the flow well and keeps me in the stream of consciousness of the narrator. I know some have found satire here, but when framed from the view point of the a bartender, I find more of a pathos and futility (but maybe that’s just me). Your images were very clever. These lines:

    breast-augmented and face-lifted set,

    Shaking their heads and clucking sadly if one inquires.

    Had me seeing chickens–or chicken ladies, clucking pea-sized brain chickens standing around pecking uselessly at ruffled feathers. And I loved the transition from these lines into wallets and catwalks.

    Well done once again and viva la Kortas!

    P.S. apologies for my long absence. Kind of been going through a thing or two, hope you are well!

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