• At the Quinte Hotel

    Set 19 2006, 4:38

    I am drinking
    I am drinking beer with yellow flowers
    in underground sunlight
    and you can see that I am a sensitive man
    And I notice that the bartender is a sensitive man too
    so I tell him about his beer
    I tell him the beer he draws
    is half fart and half yellow horse piss
    and all wonderful yellow flowers
    But the bartender is not quite
    so sensitive as I supposed he was
    the way he looks at me now
    and does not appreciate my exquisite analogy
    Over in one corner two guys
    are quietly making love
    in the brief prelude to infinity
    Opposite them a peculiar fight
    enables the drinkers to lay aside
    their comic books and watch with interest
    as I watch with interest
    A wiry little man slugs another guy
    then tracks him bleeding into the toilet
    and slugs him to the floor again
    with ugly red flowers on the tile
    three minutes later he roosters over
    to the table where his drunk friend sits
    with another friend and slugs both
    of em ass-over-electric-kettle
    so I have to walk around
    on my way for a piss
    Now I am a sensitive man
    so I say to him mildly as hell
    "You shouldn'ta knocked over that good beer
    with them beautiful flowers in it"
    So he says to me "Come on"
    So I Come On
    like a rabbit with weak kidneys I guess
    like a yellow streak charging
    on flower power I suppose
    & knock the shit outa him & sit on him
    (he is just a little guy)
    and say reprovingly
    "Violence will get you nowhere this time chum
    Now you take me
    I am a sensitive man
    and would you believe I write poems?"
    But I could see the doubt in his upside down face
    in fact in all the faces
    "What kind of poems?"
    "Flower poems"
    "So tell us a poem"
    I got off the little guy but reluctantly
    for he was comfortable
    and told them this poem
    They crowded around me with tears
    in their eyes and wrung my hands feelingly
    for my pockets for
    it was a heart-warming moment for Literature
    and moved by the demonstrable effect
    of great Art and the brotherhood of people I remarked
    "-- the poem oughta be worth some beer"
    It was a mistake of terminology
    for silence came
    and it was brought home to me in the tavern
    that poems will not really buy beers or flowers
    or a goddamn thing
    and I was sad
    for I am a sensitive man.

    - Al Purdy