Stop me if you’ve heard this one before—

(i.m. Grant Andrews)

A man walks into a bar
and breaks his nose.
A man and a woman walk
into a bar and ask for directions.
He had a north, she an east, but
from there their marriage went south.

A woman and a photographer
walk into a bar and flash other patrons.
A blind man walked into a bar
and ordered a line of double whiskies.
He kept on until he was legless.
A man in a loincloth walked into a bar,
and asked for a job as a bouncer.

A man walked into a bar
on the usual bartender’s night off.
He sat in a corner, drawing angels
on coasters until the clock struck one.
The coasters didn’t seem to mind.
It was that kind of bar.

A horse ambles into a bar.
For legal reasons, I can say
nothing more.

A scientist walked into a bar, and ordered shots
from the whole top shelf. He spent
the evening comparing specific
gravities of spirits, and other phenomena.

A fire-fighter walked into a bar,
and took off her helmet in silence.
The other patrons stood
as she wiped soot and sweat from her face.
They bought her drinks all evening.

A tide flowed up to the bar and lapped
at the bartender’s feet, reflecting his face
as though he was a lamp at the end of a pier.
It shivered as he spoke; his syllables fell
like rain. Then it turned and flowed
back the way it had come.

A politician walked into a bar.
All spirits turned to water, and don’t ask
what became of the wine. A trio
of angry flautists stalked into a bar.
In double quick time they set about
whetting their whistles.

A teacher walked into a bar,
and took off his glasses in silence.
The other patrons stood
as he wiped chalk and sweat from his face.
They bought him drinks all evening.

A transvestite and a Catholic priest
walked into a bar together, and spent the night
discussing economies, as expressed
by hemlines and lipstick.
A messily-tied piece of rope went into a bar.
‘Know any good jokes?’ it asked.’
‘Fraid not,’ the bartender said.

An elderly nun walked into a bar.
‘Beer please. A big one. Dark.’ she said.
He reverently poured her a stout.
She drained it to the last drop,
tucked a note under the glass, said
‘Keep the change,’ over her shoulder.
The note was in spidery writing:
‘God keep and protect you, always.’

An exotic dancer and a corporate lawyer
sauntered into a bar, tassels merry.
The bartender asked them to leave,
as it wasn’t that kind of establishment.

Closing time came to the bar
and found a seat in the corner.
The bartender, polishing glasses,
nodded – be right with you –
and rang the last sale on the till.
She ushered the stragglers out,
flicked the switch and unfolded
the darkness behind her. Then
she shut the door and turned
into the night.

Landfall 226

first published in Landfall 226

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