Third Stool from the End – JB Mulligan

I feel like I’ve been coming to this bar forever.  I may have been born here, I don’t know.  I see the same people who don’t know me night after night, and when I wake up in the morning, I don’t remember what I talked to them about, or what they said to me, for all that it seemed so important at the time.  And that night we meet again and talk again and forget again.  I’m not sure what it is to feel too much or to avoid feeling, and I don’t think I’m getting either of those right, but I keep on trying.  Give us all that, we keep on trying.  We stop here ready to start somewhere tomorrow, and we wind up here tomorrow night and that’s okay, it’s all okay.  They don’t want us to wake up and smell the coffee and the stink of it all, the games, the lies, the shiny pictures.  We hear the music and the tide of conversations near us flowing in and out on some shore we can’t see, and we laugh, and that is enough.  People wait at home and shake their heads, as if they had some better idea.  None of this matters, and it is all we have.  Even the salmon, snatched by a thick desperate furry paw from the struggle upstream to spill eggs and die, have some purpose, so we must, too.  A new song comes on, a new drink clicks down in front of us, some same old, same old person sits on the next stool and starts talking, and the words lead us on, not to anywhere, just to not stopping, until some time or another we will stop, but will have least have spent this time.  The river and the salmon both go on and that has to be enough, and I think I’ll have another before I go, maybe two.


JBMulliganJB Mulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years, has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, and two e-books, The City Of Now And Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation from the Bible). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them, Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet.