The Barman’s Confessions

A Poem By : Kamal Abdulhamid


One day, the bar man will tell you: We used to have a sad man, he was killed by a woman that almost resembles you. Do not search for too long in cities and farms and bars, the likes of him come only once every hundred years, because great tragedies are rare. The tragedies that cross our blood with love has no glory except in heights, where lovers swim with their wounds in rivers of sorrow and salt.


One day, the barman will tell you: The man that you look for, said a lot the night he died. He sat there on the last chair, and asked for a strange song for which the player knew no melody, as if it was a hymn or a prayer. Nobody understood him but me, I said to him: This is your glass of Chivas and Cola, so why do you need a song? Then he held my shirt and cried, he asked me to show him the way to a woman that almost resembles you, or to a nearby grave. But I left him like a parrot, I escaped from his dead birds. He was ready to become a story, so he left a deep tear on the bar’s entrance, and by the end of the night, he put a rose in his right palm and died

I never saw someone like him say goodbye to his palm like it is a house and family


One day, the barman will tell you: His eyes, did you say his eyes when he says, “Gamila ?”, it was as if the customers are children around his table, they leave their seats to make a cloud above his head. When he speaks of a wave that talks in the tongue of a woman, they clank their glasses cheering for the sea. We loved him like a loser captain, pointing towards wine bottles like sunken ships, and saying, “Give me this … and this … Pour me a glass of that, and make me a cocktail of water and sand”


One day, the barman will tell you: Twenty years I’ve been behind this bar, I have seen a lot of men, good and evil, they will talk to you a lot, and present you with glasses like nobles of palaces. But they do not secretly die when your eyes break like a jar, they don’t passionately say your name when your breath becomes short to the (Places)  song. So, don’t expect them to surprise you with telepathy, or to work behind you like laugh collectors. The man you look for is this bar’s talisman, because his voice is sleeping inside the piano, and his laid-out tears sing amidst the tables.


One day, the barman will tell you: The man you look for was understood by no one but me, that is why I would add extra ice and cola, to give him a few extra steps to the house, and bring him back safe to nightmares and dead people. I used to cry whenever he a drew a ship on his palm, and counted the hundreds of glasses he had drunk. The glasses that gathered in his blood like a great sea, he used to ask for one glass after the other, until wine took his mind away, then he would sit straight, and smile like a captain that dated a woman on a faraway beach. 

One day, the barman will tell you: The man you look for once told me that his father had not died, he comes to him every night holding his stick. He used to wave his finger before me, imitating the father’s anger in the dream.
Then he would quickly frown as he asks, “Did my father die before I see him?”

He told me the last time
That he held “Gamila” a hundred times
In one dream
And he held her tightly so as not to get lost
Then he quickly frowned as he asked:
On which side does she sleep now? 

One day, the barman will tell you:
My lady …
Who is this woman that almost resembles you
Who created a blind fate for him,
And dug a grave behind his back?
Who provoked the ground against him,
And connected his lungs to dust?
Who stole his light for a fruit-less bed?
And Why when his fingers became too week
Did the wolves stream behind him?

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