Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

John McCullough

THE BARMAN\'S FANTASY

THE BARMAN\'S FANTASY

THE BARMAN\'S FANTASY

4 am and the big mouths are scrapping
with spluttered innuendoes.

My best reply’s deadpan: a thrust scoop,
the rattle of ice in the bucket –

scant relief for tongues made sour
by thoughts of desolate flats.

But the black tranny with her constellation
of diamante hasn’t finished,

stares into a Carling’s brassy depths
and finds, she announces, two ghosts

both rent, in fifties leather, jerking off
to the bleeps of the fruit machine.


All gas. She’s no more psychic
than sober but, locking up, it’s a vision

I can’t escape when on the nudge buttons
there’s a glimmer from something

that’s not quite soap, that can’t be
but for one long second is,

the two of them achingly real,
lording it up as they cuddle,

slower now, through stale smoke
and airborne specks of crisps

while I turn the key
and quietly enter moonlight.
Close

THE BARMAN\'S FANTASY

4 am and the big mouths are scrapping
with spluttered innuendoes.

My best reply’s deadpan: a thrust scoop,
the rattle of ice in the bucket –

scant relief for tongues made sour
by thoughts of desolate flats.

But the black tranny with her constellation
of diamante hasn’t finished,

stares into a Carling’s brassy depths
and finds, she announces, two ghosts

both rent, in fifties leather, jerking off
to the bleeps of the fruit machine.


All gas. She’s no more psychic
than sober but, locking up, it’s a vision

I can’t escape when on the nudge buttons
there’s a glimmer from something

that’s not quite soap, that can’t be
but for one long second is,

the two of them achingly real,
lording it up as they cuddle,

slower now, through stale smoke
and airborne specks of crisps

while I turn the key
and quietly enter moonlight.

THE BARMAN\'S FANTASY

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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