Tuesday, July 19, 2022

An Absurdist, an Absurdist, & an Absurdist go Into a Bar

Act One

They sit.

They drink.

They have no memory of how or why they came here,

or of how long they've sat drinking.

Nudge, says Nock

(they know their names, but they forget which one of them is who)

Yes, Nick? says Nudge

Nudge, says Nock, have you ever known a moment's joy, or sense of purpose?

Ah! ah! says Nick. The first of those!

When old Gertie's skirts flew up around her, as she crossed the subway grate!

Ha ha ha, says Nock, yes yes! Those knobbly knees!

Nudge fails to recollect the knees.

He sighs. I wish I'd seen that.

Ah, it was very sad, says Nick.

Those knobbly knees, and how, as she went to clutch her skirts around her,

she tripped, and stumbled against the fire hydrant, and bashed her head.

Ha ha ha ha, says Nock, yes yes!

The blood!

Stage right, a bare slab of blue wall.

The pages of a calendar flutter and settle about the room in flocks.

June 1944!, they sing.

March 2007!

January 1983!

Up left, a tree: its limbs make growth spurts

so that the leaves fall and sprout, fall and sprout, as if doing the wave.

Act Two

Nudge, asks Nick, how long have we sat here drinking?

Since opening time, I imagine, Nudge and Nock answer in unison.

Hey! Nudge and Nock protest in unison, he was asking me!

Yes, they retort in unison, but he thought I was you!

Each plucks something blunt from a branch,

to bash the other one about the head, until the blood is prodigious.

But then a gong sounds!

May 1968! May 1968! tweets the fluttering calendar, all its pages at once.

Revolution! cries Nick. Peace and love! chants Nock.

La mauvaise foi, sneers Nudge, demurring—

until there they are, a guerilla, a hippy, and an existentialist in a bar— as suddenly, beautifully, with the red sky white with mushrooms,

the world goes boom!

Act Three

Silence, for seventeen minutes, or until the last of the audience is gone.

Then, very gradually, in the formless void, up center,

by the light of a red-flashing sign, we see a door.

A BAR. (Darkness.) A BAR. (Darkness.) A BAR.

Will it open? (Darkness.)

Will it open? (Darkness.)

Will it open?

Derek Kannemeyer's latest book of poetry is Mutt Spirituals. His novel, The Memory Addicts is due out in September. He lives and writes in Richmond, Virginia. His bio photo is from his years of getting plastered with his best friend in Paris, when he lived and wrote in Lille, France.