Dylan’s Bar, 2002
Take that tie off, for Christ’s sake – you’ll get us both killed. Then he’s elbow-deep at the bar and I’m staking out the snug as bloodshot eyes return to racing pinks, no female weekday drinkers here. I miss the ashtrays and pre-smartphone boredom as a round was fetched, the risk of eye contact with strangers, the former marine and that disabled tutor who urged me not to write, there being too many words already. Through it all comes lucid dreaming, revealing the lie of the land. We get out while we can Having stalked the outer fjords of Greenland and caught the spring on an altiplano breeze, I am banned from climbing Mount Shuksan in Cascading footsteps of Snyder and Kerouac while young hares dance across the meadow, having lost the latest six-dollar state lottery for a federal wilderness area access permit, and not holding a creative writing PhD. Condemned instead to urban fairgrounds from a cathedral spire I put my penny in the slot to watch a thousand matchstick lawyers dance their way along cobbled boulevards as though life itself has rhyme or reason, and if arranging an altarpiece offering is allegedly a redeeming gesture of faith, aligning cloth colour, God and sacrificant, then climbing a mountain is no less a ritual, the placement of both gear and flesh a prayer towards a dialogue with rock, subject to the proper paperwork, it seems. There is always someone carving out an empire from the flesh and joy of whoever occupied a particular piece of administrative estate before, library corridors and bookstacks ripe for realignment as crosshairs narrow on still surviving native pine and slipping loose from the holy matinee to survey the latest map revision in Dylan’s Bar is acceptance this love always was a losing hand in a dying game which was long since rigged, but still, even diesel-soaked horizons beckon and so we get out where and while we can. Bio: Laurence Morris works in academic libraries and is a fellow of the UK's Royal Geographical Society. His poems have been published in Confluence, Snakeskin, Shot Glass Journal, Dodging the Rain, The Broken Spine, 192 and elsewhere. He lives in the north of England and if not in a library is probably out walking in the rain.