Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Assignment for the Poets

Passage from Keats´ letters:

"--the most unhappy hours in our lives are those in which we recollect times past to our own blushing--If we are immortal that must be the Hell--If I must be immortal, I hope it will be after having taken a little of "that watery labyrinth" in order to forget some of my schoolboy days and others since those."

I looked up watery labyrinth on google; Keats got it from Milton:

Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate,
Sad Acheron of sorrow black and deep ;
Cocytus named of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream ; fierce Phlegethon
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Far off from these, a slow and silent stream,
Lethe, the river of Oblivion, rolls
Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks
Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.

So I think somebody should write a poem about the Bar in Hell. If there´s a Hell, there should be a Bar. What do they drink in the Bar in Hell? (Not the Bar FROM Hell, mind you.) What music? (Only Stevie Wonder all the time? With a little Metallica. Though realistically I would have to say that in Hell the only music they´d have is of the accordian variety.) Is Dylan Thomas there?

Whoever writes the best poem wins, simply.


Zentrout said...

There is only one bar in Hell.
And That is the Hell.

And only teenagers and you are allowed in.

And in the bar of Hell,
there is no smoking.

And in the bar of Hell they only serve Hot Damn!

And as for the jukebox in the bar of Hell, the only thing in there are The Beatles.
And for the rest of etenity, everyone will forever be telling you,
"Yesterday?" Ooh, I love this song!
"Hey Jude?" Ooh, I love this song!
"Let it Be?" Ooh, I love this song!
"Norwegian Wood?" Ooh, I love this song!
"A Day in the Life?" Ooh, I love this song!
"Eleanor Rigby?" Ooh, I love this song!

And so on.

And there will be no songs from The White Album.

And finally, in the bar in Hell, Every drink costs a finger or toe...

And that is the Bar in Hell.

Zentrout said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Celine said...

Natália bbb nua mostra sua Mãe Francisca Rosimeire...que é uma gata cearense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Celine said...

Natália bbb nua mostra sua Mãe Francisca Rosimeire...que é uma gata cearense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Zentrout said...

Sorry...too much Hot Damn.

sarcasmus said...

Sorry Celine, so far Zentrout is in the lead. Though you do seem pretty drunk--you might get some sort of consolation prize.

sarcasmus said...

Here´s one from Jonathan Bourland; if anyone else has one, please send it to me. (I hope the copy and paste got the enjambments properly)


In the best bar in hell
all they play are those basketball games;
banging pans and trash cans
all gone, never known to clang.

Let me tell you about my day
and from there we'll continue on
if I'm weak. I'd say it's snowed a lot
for a summer, and who's to say
Sinatra won't send more?

Next, I went to The Fall,
and I was like, where're
all the people? They've all cleaned up
their acts. They're stooping under a steeple
fallen upon a club
made up of all our fathers

and their favorite bands. When I see a the Jack of Spades,
I call it a spade. When I see the Queen of Spades,
I call her Jackie. It's all
situational, but less humor
than you'd expect, less alcohol
per gram.

My original conceit? Not the apple.
The radio station, playing in the bicuspids
of the mind. Chew, swallow,
for tomorrow
we go a.m.

sarcasmus said...

I used google-translation to figure out Celine´s comment--apparently portuguese:

Natália bbb naked sample its Mother Francisca Rosimeire... that she is a good-looking person from the state of Ceará

Your guess is good as mine.

Amelia said...

Loosely based on Milton's "Pilgrim's Progress"

Sitting. Waiting…for my old friend at the Irish pub down the street
Hunched over my Guinness, I look down into the mug
Suddenly the creamy, murky goodness begins to swirl
The foam becomes rain
And there is fire in the bottom of my beer

I hear swirling and popping
Encased in a giant nitrus bubble I fall
Down, down, down, until my encapsulated self touches bottom
And I find myself standing on the bottom of my mug
Wrapped in Guinness, aware of the red glow of fire, I hear music…

A juke joint stands across the mug bottom from me,
The fire is licking up from behind the boards of this building,
It is slapped together out of temporary materials,
But it has an air and a look of permanence, of eternity and
Of never being able to leave once you go in

I push myself against the liquid which surrounds me
Crossing an endless expanse of thick glass, I reach the door
Now I see…

The fire is not behind the building, but inside of it
It is encircling the patrons, the bar and the band
Wreathes of flame leap out of every beer bottle opened
Plumes of red-gold madness leap out of the vodka tonics on a table nearby
And a raceway of tall flames is roaring up and down the long bar on the back wall

I only observe, my aversion to pain takes over and I cannot go in
A woman sees me lurking at the door and starts walking toward me
Her spine is heavy with flame and her eyes glow red
“I am Procrastinatia,” she states to me
“Come in for just one?” she asks and I follow

Having come inside I feel no heat, but the flames are still there
Moving and rising as people swirl around me
“I will be right back,” Procastinatia tells me
I nod, still shocked to be here and she walks off toward the bar of fire
I sit there for a long time, watching the others, interested and scared

A young man staggers over to my table
Clearly inebriated, he holds onto chairs to prop himself up
He is not on fire, but as he approaches…
I feel the heat rising, as if he will burst into flame very soon
“Let me, the great Spendiferous, buy you a drink, friend?” he asks
I decide to oblige, and nod “yes” to him

Spendiferous calls for one drink for me and two for him
They are flaming gin and tonics and they taste good
Even I am getting tired of the constant taste of Guinness
When I am done, Spendiferous orders two more for me
And they keep coming, a constant stream of alcohol
Pouring into my gullet, I cannot stop myself

After an unknown number, Spendiferous announces that he must leave
The bill materializes next to him, he takes a look
“Dammit!” He shouts
“I spend too much at bars,” he confides
He slaps down a credit card, the bill disappears and so does he

I sit there alone, waiting for Procrastinatia to return
I meet many of the other patrons…

Drunkugula sits down at my table only long enough to introduce himself,
Vomit flame and pass out

Loudy stops to chat in a booming voice
Which emanates from a mouth full of fire
Her friend Musinga sidles over, her entire head a ball of flame
She tries to start a conversation with me
About life, and love and the universe
It is all bland, it has all been said before

The band is constantly churning out music this whole time,
But I can barely hear it
I don’t even know what genre it is supposed to be
I cannot enjoy it, I don’t know what it going on

Head swirling, I leave my table for the bar,
I will have one more drink before I decide what to do
As I approach, the hedge of flame on the bar lowers
And the bartender is revealed

He is huge and terrible and nothing but flame
Somehow, he has a towel thrown across one shoulder though
And he is drying glasses

“What can I get for you?” The man of flame questions me
I cannot speak, so impressive and terrifying is his presence
“Hey Buddy, what do you want to drink”? He asks again
I sit there, unable to respond, too frightened to flee

“Is this your first time here?” he asks, he comes closer
I finally manage a nod
I can feel the heat coming off of him
My liquid cocoon cannot protect me from this constant,
Omnipresent, onslaught of fire
“Guinness give me strength,” I whisper

The bartender smiles. It is grotesque.
His body of fire grows in size and shakes as he grins.
“You are in hell, my boy and this is my bar,” he finally divulges
“That’s right, hell is in the bottom of every glass of beer.”

He begins to chuckle and then laugh with great amusement
The bar, my world becomes a swirl of laughter
As the bartender grows in size I feel the Guinness begin to boil
The boards that make the bar blow apart and I am lost


“Do you want another?” I hear a voice say
“NO!” I scream, “get away from me!”
I jump off my stool and run away
But I am only outside the Irish pub
Breathing clean, sweet air, and I cannot sense any fire near me

I look down, I still have the mug in my hand
But it is empty
Still panting, I begin to reflect
Everyone I met in the juke joint from hell
Seemed to tell me something
About why I go to bars
And why I drink
And why I think I’m so damn clever when I’m drunk

Perhaps I should take these lessons as a warning
To change my habits and my life
To remember the feel of the Guinness suffocating me
And the heat of the flames
And the terror of the bartender

Ah hell, this is all too much
I need a drink.

sarcasmus said...

Whoa. Amelia, you´ve upped the bar. Come on you hell bar lurkers... You know you´re itchin´ to post you´re handywork.

Go at it, you scrappies.

sarcasmus said...

The Bar in Hell

The Bar in Hell is a circular room
the drinks are free
but don´t make you forget
The Proprietor sells the good stuff
to devils that spit sulphor
in your face and tell jokes
that make you uncomfortable
at midnight the music starts
the haha-ing screech devils hush
as an old man drops his grotty stool
on the grotto floor
he sits and sets his accordion
on his knee and squints his burnished face
you may catch a poisonous spine
in a rib from a devil adjacent
his eyes glow yellow with gleeful impatience
the old man shakes, flexing halves
pumping silver panels, blood-lacquered buttons
and knocking onyx latches
something is fucking inside
making notes and chords
through vents begrimed with a million years of sweat
It is despair to know your only solace
from your torment
weepy melodies of an asthmatic instrument

The Bar in Hell is a circular room
so there´s no corner to hide
The devils cry and stomp
order more drinks, become drunker
Boast of their blood-letting
the throbbing merriment rebounds
terrible fumes, terribler conversations
The beauty of war; the politics of torture
A thousand devils to a man
and within the choked and disarrayed din
Anomalously, a philosophical gargoyle
turns to listen to your life´s story, intently
All you ever did, you tell
All you ever hoped
The melancholy of nothing ever starting
The misery of nothing ever stopping
Your gazes meet, devil and man
It looks to offer sage demonic comment
And then proceeds to puke frogs
on your only jacket

jason irwin said...


I'd just been sentenced,
by divine judgement
to a billion light years
in that place down
below, for my part
in a conspiracy involving
a tribes of dwarfs
on an uncharted island
off the coast of Zanzibar.
My plan: to convince those savages
that I was God
almighty. Having succeeded
with a few sleights of hand
and techniques i memorized
from the Kamasutra,
i truly was God, until God
herself had had quite enough.
That first night at Iscariot's
Tavern, where the jukebox
seemed stuck on Tom Waits
and Johnny Cash,
I was greeted by none other
than my favorite explorer, Christopher Columbus, who
as he's now apt to brag
bought me my first Hell
brewed beer. In the conrer
I saw Mussolini and Stalin,
they were waiting on Hilter,
but as the bar tender--
who bore a striking resemblance
to Ronald Reagan--informed me,
old Adolph was on the run.
Apparently a group of ex-SS officers disguised as Rabbis
had been after him for some time,
trying to convonce the Furor
that he was in fact a descendant
of Abraham and Isaac.
Despite not meeting Hitler
and the fact that the beer
was actually piss
that the janitors spooned
from the toilets and urinals
each morning, ole Chris
and I had a grand time.
10 pints a piss later
we were telling war stoires,
boasting of our prowess
with the natives.


Amelia said...

Sarcasmus and Jason: Fantastic poems!!! I love the idea of the bar in hell being a circular room so you can't hide, but you CAN drink with Christopher Columbus.

Who knew this idea would be such fertile material???

(Well, I guess Sarcasmus did, that's why he started it...nevermind)

sarcasmus said...

I don´t suppose we´ll get any more poems. Though I´d sure like it. I don´t know who reads this blog, really. But I think we all did great bar in hell poems....

But I´ll wait a week before awarding the prize to best bar in hell poem.

error said...

Sorry, only Coors Light.

sarcasmus said...

Guess there´s no more poems coming in. So the winner is everybody and nobody. Zentrout wins for being first and pretty damn good for an on the spot, off the cuff response. Jonathan wins for orginality, nice sounding language and ending his poem with initials. Amelia wins for length and erudition. Sarcasmus wins for frogs and circularity. Jason wins for a believable and evocative bar and piss beer atmosphere. Though I don´t like the idea of piss. But the question begs, does the drink make the bar, or does the bar make the bar? I´d rather drink coors light than piss. Really, it might be near-beer with caffeine. After the fifth or so, it doesn´t matter anyways. Also, I think that the Jukebox might have only Beatles, but only Paul McCarthy songs. Zentrout would take issue with that stipulation. This was a lot of fun, if you have ideas for another poetry contest, let me know.