Midnight Pub

A curious place


This city is still foreign to me. Its unyielding streets and concrete walls are cold and barren, devoid of meaning and beauty. I've moved here a few years ago — at first to study, then to work — but not being an outgoing person, I've made few friends. This deep sense of not belonging here doesn't leave my mind. I can't find a place I could call my own nor a job I would not loathe after a few months. My engineering degree, as it turns out, doesn't mean shit without experience in the field, and many companies require it even for internship-level jobs. At this point I'm not even sure if I'd want an engineering job anyway. Minimum wage 12–hour factory shifts and corporate call centers seem to have sucked my lifeforce out. Artistic inclinations? Dried and overwhelmed by daily grind. Calm, withdrawn demeanor? Soured by daily stress and mental fatigue from constant dealing with too many people and artificial problems. I'd gladly leave all of this behind and live simply in the woods, but land prices are high (especially for my thin wallet and aversion to loans), ever–growing taxation looks impossible to avoid, and the uncertainty of such a lifestyle is difficult to embrace. Not to mention that... — I stroke my beard, thinking how to word it — there's no one to share this path with. I may have a thoreauvian spirit, but I'm no Dick Proenneke.

So I'm walking aimlessly through the streets, trying to tame the city, hoping to find that *something*, whatever or whoever it may be. A wild spark to rekindle my burnt heart? Block by block, alley by alley, I'm floating between countless anonymous facades. Ever more distant, bleak and lifeless. I haven't written a single poem in 9 months. But why? I like writing poetry. Not in English though — my soul only knows my mother tongue, but knows it well. The words just don't flow anymore. My mind has become neuter and inflexible, a mere shadow of its synesthetic past. And I've felt it coming.

Wychodzę na spacer —
Niczego lepszego nie mam do zrobienia.
Dlatego przemierzam mętne brzegi Rzeki
I cichym wzrokiem głaszczę jej wody.
Nie mogę zaprzestać
Wśród ludzi po deszczu wyglądać twojego
Bukietu przemokłych żonkili i dłoni
Nie mogę też nie szukać w swojej.
Mgły stoją nad lasem,
Podpory rzadkich chmur osłabłych od siąpiu.
Nie całkiem bez ruchu, jak ręka godziny
Powłócze nogi wiecznego poety.
Wspominam ostatnie,
Podobne tym chmurom i kroplom podobne,
Rozśmiane ucieczki przed ciepłym niebem —
Radosno–tęskny spacer kiedyś lata.
Przystaję popatrzeć.
Bieg czasu dostrajam do upadku słońca
Wspartego przedśmiertnie o zachodnią ścianę.
Najmniejszy cień góruje nad światem.

A sudden movement in a nearby hedge pulls me out of my pensive state. A pointy white face flashes in the shadows, belonging to a furry, rodent-like animal. I've never seen an opossum so closely before, so I stare curiously, memorizing the impression. Our eyes meet for a moment and I somehow sense that there's more to this guy than it seems. The creature jumps into an alley across the street, guiding my eyes to a modest door, adorned with a carved wooden moon and lit by a single amber lamp. Above the door, there is a signboard with three neatly painted words: "The Midnight Pub". I glance at my pocket watch. "Yeah, time checks out", I think to myself. I can hear music and muffled voices coming from inside. I can see the simple interior through a generously windowed porch. A dozen people are sitting by wooden tables and chatting over beverages. Someone is bowling at the back. This place seems to be nice. I decide to enter, if only to warm up a little after two hours of pointless wandering in freezing temperatures. It's friday, there's no need to wake up early tomorrow.

I'm immediately surrounded by a lively and cozy atmosphere, amplified by a crackling fireplace and tasteful color palette of the interior. I stop in the entrance to let the steam on my glasses clear up a bit. Oh thank God, conversations are cultural and music isn't too loud. No boozy tension in sight. As I step further inside, the bartender gestures at the coat hanger to my left:

"Good evening! Feel free to take your jacket off, it's quite toasty in there." I can tell he's right.

I take a seat by the bar, looking around exploratory. The wall behind the bar is generously lined with an assortment of bottles, contents of which are mostly mysterious. Two barstools to my right are occupied by strangers talking about art.

"Welcome to Midnight, sir. Would you like to drink something?" The bartender asks with a sonorous, pleasant voice.

"Can I get some mint tea, please? Strong, no sugar." I'm trying to sound less tired than I really am.

"Of course!" He replies with a friendly smile. "Coming right up. What brings you here, a chance or intent?"

"The chancest of chances, actually. A possum."

"Haha, yes, they're something else, aren't they." The bartender is oddly not surprised, but notices my confusion. "It's a curious place. Make yourself at home!"

Hello everyone! I'm sorry for possible clumsiness in some places, prose (especially English) is not my strength. I can translate the poem, if anyone would be interested.


Would like to see that, yes



Is there a more elegant sulution to separate stanzas than putting some non-intrusive punctuation marks in the empty lines between? Anyway, there it is, as best as I could deliver given my current lack of poetic spirit:

I'm going for a walk —
I have nothing better to do.
So I cross the River's murky banks
And stroke her waters with silent eyes.
I can't cease to look for —
Among people after the rain —
Your nosegay of wet daffodils and
Dream of your hand lingering in mine
Fogs stand upon the woods,
Pillars for clouds wrung out of rain.
Though not quite still, like the hour's hand
Roving feet of an eternal bard.
I remember the last —
Akin to those droplets and clouds —
Laughter–filled escapes from the warm skies;
Summer bygone's joyful–wistful walk.
I stop to look awhile.
I tune the time to lapsing sun
Dying, put against the western wall.
The tiniest shade eclipses the land.

I tune the time to lapsing sun
Dying, put against the western wall.
The tiniest shade eclipses the land.

Lovely, especially this closing bit



Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.