Offering

I used to go with friends sometimes over to the
hotel bar–I forget its name–that shared a parking lot
with the diner I worked at.  Get drunk and sing
karaoke.  This one time, on St. Paddy’s Day,
the karaoke guy’s father had died
earlier in the day, and suddenly he tells us this
(through the microphone!)
and I thought at first that there would be a punchline,
but there wasn’t.  Just:
“in a plane crash”.
And so then he sings a song to his dad—
that Clapton song about
when I see you in heaven—
and a woman from somewhere in the bar
goes over to him and hugs him,
and he’s singing and crying
while she hugs him.
Then the manager of the bar gets up there
and says how close the karaoke guy
was to his dad, and says
how it’s a demonstration of character
that he came in to work tonight.
I wouldn’t have come in, he says.
So let’s support him,he says.
He’s a great guy.
We cheered.
There were twenty-five of us in the dim bar
(give or take),
twenty-five souls.
We cheered.
We confessed to being still alive.
Without irony, we were suddenly able to believe
in the shapes shifting in the dim light,
able to name our fear and swat it away,
able to breathe the heaving breaths of living kings–
we sang drank and danced.
But there was nothing we could do to support him.

5 Responses to “Offering”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    Damn. I don’t want to know if this is a true story or not. Really. I’m going to guess it is, but I think it’s better not knowing for sure. This is really fucking emotional though! Jeeze Louise!

  2. sethdellinger Says:

    …there was nothing we could do to support him.

    I mean, fuck. I WROTE the line and it’s messing me up.

  3. That is amazingly emotional!

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