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Empty Barstool

"Rejection letters fill my throat."

Published onAug 02, 2023
Empty Barstool

Photo by Louis Hansel:

After work, O’Hara’s Bar on Broadway—I’m drinking
Poetry. After my third, I’m Gandalf conjuring the world.
Following my sixth, I’m Jesus: a seer, a saint, and a savior.
I scribble on my napkin—I am memory at a distance.
I must be Shakespeare but my girlfriend doesn’t join me.
Rejection letters fill my throat. A sip back to Sacred Heart
School, Tara Stewart said, “Your pants look like curtains.”
So now I’m home alone, watching Home Alone and all my
poems are my body’s lies. I can’t find the email that
I didn’t send. I am a toilet heaving. The movie ends. I might
blackout until death do us part and other things that I may never say
but I find a pen to write the words that join me anyway.

 Joe Barca is a poet from New England. He has a partner, two children, and a Wheaten Terrier named Brady. He is a fast talker and a slow runner. He grew up with the Atlantic Ocean at both ends of his street. His father loved boats, so he spent a lot of time on the sea. He is a fan of the Oxford Comma, and he is lobbying to have the em dash added to the keyboard.

Caitlin Cacciatore:

Joe, you have created a beautifully wrought, luminous piece of writing. I love your imagery, and your metaphors are divine. It’s a lovely, poignant poem. Thank you for sharing it with the world.