Notes From a Dive Bar: Ulysses Walks Into a Bar


Ulysses walks into a bar, sort of...

Talk. Talk. Talk. Sticky mouths moving, shapes and shapeless lips, tongues tremble, then later some kissing and more to come if lust legs it. What are my words? Yes. Next. Thank you. Repeat. Gin and tonic. That's what she said. Say it out loud, gin and tonic. Make sure I get it right. Three drinks called out, that's as many as I can remember at once, any more and I'm lost. What's the minimum on cards? Ten. Repeat it all night long. Ad infinitum until the end of capitalism seizes up the credit card machine, that f****** slide press button rip here bastard. Cruel and sly, I am.

What are you reading these days? she asks.
James Joyce. Ulysses.
No way. No one understands that.

At home, she is. Alone, I hope. Sirens are outside the bar, the song of the police, rubber necks, don't look back. Put in your earplugs, bartenders, for the music is supersonic. Why does the dj not play Calypso music? There's a monstrous drunk eating people with his loneliness. Must keep an eye on him. Temptation, that's easy to find, reach to the shelf, a bottle of Jameson, green with envy, or Sambuca, sexy sticky buzz...

Swamped now, huge waves, I'm lashed to the mast, we're sinking, we're taking on water, the glass washing machine has sprung a leak. The barback is ramming a spoon in its hole and it shits out a lime that once graced the gin and tonic. No glasses. We want beer, they roar, the drunken mob, furious. The backup pints are hauled on deck, we're not sunk yet, we're still afloat, only one more hour until last call, the lighthouse is up ahead, Ithaca, we can make it, we will be in our beds, we bartenders with our lovers, the suitors slain in our dreams, but tomorrow we sail for Troy again, chasing something, a dollar bill, that beautiful seducer. Where's my Trojan Horse?