The Sportsman Hotel, 3am


The Sportsman Hotel, 3am


The advantage of my position, he
tells me, is that I can see every man

is a vase to be filled .

At this time of night I’ll half-listen
to almost anyone.

The crowd in the smokers’ cage
is dwindling down
to dregs.

To be a man
is to scrutinise
all men.

And then lie about it. While he talks
the beer in his glass, liquid
in a vessel,
effervesces to heaven.

The last two
masc4mascs lumber
off together stiff
hipped and necked.

The men here are no different
except to each other

they promise ascension.

I watch the Queen
with a knife in her purse
call it quits.

Greek vase-painters would
sometimes include gibberish
inscriptions beside the figures.

Some say to dupe
the ignorant. Others claim
the vase-painters themselves
were illiterate.

Tonight I’m inclined
to blame
the treacherous alphabet.

I’m leaving.

You’re right, he says,
Stay empty. Stay beautiful.

Jarad Bruinstroop

Author: Jarad Bruinstroop

Jarad Bruinstroop is a writer who lives in Brisbane. His work has appeared in Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry Journal, Rabbit Poetry Journal, Australian Poetry Anthology, Peril Magazine, Foglifter (US) and at the Queensland Art Gallery and George Paton Gallery. He is undertaking a PhD at QUT. @jbruinstroop

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