Here's a Poem Inspired By the Passing of the James Joyce Irish Pub

An Avondale Estates resident says goodbye in verse to the much-lamented tavern.

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

                                     Henry David Thoreau.

I saw little of what had else been seen…

     Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Rime of the Ancient Mariner


The Albatross

James Joyce’s namesake died, again,

and yet another funeral will be held

on the courthouse steps; the pub’s

to go to the high bidder; what remains

will have to be staked through the heart.


It had to happen. There he was,

cleaning up after Saint Patty Day.

Too lean, hair half tickling his ears.

Too eager by half, too, breaking

the news of the soon to be again-departed.


He’s three for three, shutting down

my faves, my darlings, my hangouts

that played my songs, and made me feel

like the Sixties weren’t buried

after all beneath nine-eleven rubble.


Really he’s only a hard luck waiter

willing to work for less than some

rats who jump ship shy of port.

But wherever, whenever he’s aboard

I shiver at his boots tamping down a grave.

         *       *        *

Built for faring far at sea,

wheeling on a wingspan wider than

the height of a man, an albatross,

who had warned the ship away

from icebound land, was scrapping

for fish-bits, for its own survival

when superstition brought it down

on a deck of shrinking boards,

amid the water-water of ocean everywhere;

after they slung him around the hapless

neck of the one who done him in,

did he hear the panicked sailor talk

himself  out of a clean and simple Death

into mating Death-in-life? And, you who sit

morose before the barricaded door, do you want

to dance at that wedding, much less take a wife.


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