The Castaway Bar: 1967

by Marge Simon

 

                He enters blinking back the dark
                like the rest of us
                when we got here
                from a distant era,
                the Golden Age of Humanity.
 
                We are thin men:
                stickwalking,
                held together with screws,
                dead-eyed, pallid, indifferent,
                by-products of primordial attrition.

                When time travel was a means
                of correspondence on an abstract plane
                he moved in shadows
                through the continuum until
                by circumstance the channel closed.

                He nurses his drink as if seeking salvation
                in the lull of fine Irish whiskey.
                Here the bottle never empties;
                nothing is subject to the laws of time.

                One-station TV stuck on
                sports, news, weather
                'Nam protests in Berkeley,
                rain, bombs, football
                boxed within this vacuole.

                The hell of it for him
                is being one of us in this bar,
                holding imagined seances
                with what was home,
                if such exists beyond this room:
  
                 the moment of consummation
                reflected in his wife's eyes

                the liquid rhythm of the waves
                permuting the sand with patterns,
                                                                               
                and night music of October crickets,
                the sky's mutability as seasons pass
 
                Modifications are not permissable
                beyond that door to Outside.
                So we order another round,
                a toast for the newcomer.

                "Welcome to intemporality.
                You'll get used to it,"
                we assure him,
                knowing that we lie.

 

This poem first appeared in Speculon in 2001. 

Copyright Marge Simon 2001

Photo Copyright Eric Marin 2004

About the Author:

Marge Simon freelances as a writer, poet, and illustrator. Her poetry, fiction, and art have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Amazing Stories, Nebula Awards 32, Tomorrow, Space & Time, The Pedestal Magazine, and Strange Horizons. She is former president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and currently edits its newsletter Star*Line. She also edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, "Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side." 

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Lone Star Stories * Speculative Fiction and Poetry * Copyright 2003-2004

 

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