My whisky sour leaves rings on the old bar’s
oak. Absentminded in this dusty place
two locals argue over nothing. Wars
of logic drown in weak beer without grace
or urging. Drunken muscle insults — brace
for impact — barefisted opponents glare.
The leering bartender will get a taste
another runaway led to his lair.
She follows, dead already, behind where
old Sloe Gin pumps lewd off-time player tunes.
An ice cube settles in my glass. I stare
at the rings, faded intersecting new.
This song and this tale has more than two sides,
men blind to this form radical divides.
As daybreak wakes the grimy checkered street,
failure emerges — as a manic Czar
of Russia shambles past the Bishop’s Bar -
with an automaton’s ungainly feet.
The crumbling curbside has become his seat
of power. Routed in a white queen’s war,
he lost his forces fighting from afar
and endgame, great rooks swarmed to his defeat.
Around him castled higher by the state,
pawns have been electronically hewn,
living like kings without their clothes. His knight–
hooded by rank and file, he cannot fight
them down below. Evicted by Deep Blue’s
children he lost a gambit with his fate.