by Kim Addonizio

A man walks into a bar. You think that’s some kind of joke?
Actually he runs in, to get out of the freezing weather.
Who cares, you say. Nobody you know.
You’ve got your own troubles, could use a drink yourself.
You get your coat, a long scarf. You trudge
to the corner over the scraped sidewalk, slip and fall down hard
on the ice. Actually a banana peel, but who’s looking?
Only a priest, a rabbi, and a lawyer you vaguely recognize—
didn’t she help with the divorce? Never mind, the marraige
is over, good riddance. You’re thinking now
you’d better have a double. You get up, holding your hip,
and limp towards the neon martini glass.
Anyway a man goes into a bar, just like you do.
He’s tired of life, tired of being alone. No one
takes him seriously; at work he’s the butt of jokes,
the foreman calls him Moron all day long. It’s true
he’s not too bright. He wants to kill himself,
but doesn’t know how to. He orders drink after drink,
cursing the angel who passed out brains.
You take the stool next to him. In half an hour
you’re pals—two losers getting shitfaced.
You start to tell each other riddles. What’s big and red
and eats rocks; what do you get when you cross a penis
with a potato? Why is there something rather than nothing?
If God is good, how is it that the weed of evil
takes root everywhere, and what is there to keep us
from murdering each other in despair? Why is pleasure always
a prelude to pain? The bartender takes your glasses, tells you
it’s time to get out. You stumble through the door,
and there you are in the cold and the wind and a little snow
that’s started to fall. Two losers stand on a corner.
One turns to the other and says, Why did our love end?
The other can’t answer. Why do they torment me? he says.
The snowstorm begins in earnest but still they stand there,
determined to stay put until they finally get it.

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