The Worst Bar In The World Is No More

It was the worst fucking bar in the world
Though I never saw a fight there
Or ever heard a voice raised in anger

By day it lay hidden behind an oaken door and an iron grille
Like a sepulchre protected by a portcullis
Or a cage bolted shut to keep something sinister from getting out

At night it revealed itself
A room the size of an interrogation chamber
Run by a stateless secret police

I could never remember what it was called
I knew it as the German bar
Obwohl jeder sprach Englisch

An oblong of stained wood
Pitted with scorch marks and the sweat rings of weeping tumblers
A diorama of some miniature battlefield

Glistening spigots
And a wall of multi-hued bottles winking through the haze
Like the cylinders and valves of an impossible hydraulic engine

There were only ever four bar stools
Yet most nights it was like a U-Boat jammed tight with refugees
Sailing below the surface for a port we knew would deny us entry

The worst fucking bar in the world is now a ladies’ boutique
Jarringly named, of all things, Oasis
A jaunty desecration

In the dead of night I press my ear to its door
Listening for the forced confessions of ghosts tapping on the hull. eg

Tarifa, 2018