Alan Catlin: “Work Anxiety Dream #5: In the Lake District”

Work Anxiety Dream #5: In the Lake District

First orders come from
above through murder holes
drilled into the floor where
the main bar sinks overflow
and the slop sinks leak.
The waitress is sleeping,
head down on the invisible
cellar bar while a rush of
patrons arrive, walking single
file down misaligned stairs,
chanting verses from a Pink Floyd
song, shouting out orders as they
pass into the well-lighted, unfinished
basement lounge. Second orders
come over the bar from everywhere
at once but all the bottles are
somewhere else, up flights of stairs
others are using, all the taps open
and free flowing but the glassware
is inaccessible in too tall, overhead
racks, in too low cabinets you have to
lie down next to in order to retrieve
what lies within, reaching hands
scraped and bleeding on rough hewn
wooden shelves, on the chipped and
broken glass, still more orders come
and there is no room to move,
the basement ceiling pressing down,
more murder holes being drilled,
delivering last orders from above.


Alan Catlin has been publishing for six decades, which feels like the answer to a Jeopardy question these days. His most recent full-length books include, Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh (Dos Madres), Memories (Alien Buddha), and Memories Too (Dos Madres).

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