The Terminal Bar

(for Philip Haas)

The television set hung
in its wire-net cage,
protected from the flung
bottles of casual rage,
is fetish and icon
providing all we want
of magic and redemption,
routine and sentiment.
The year-old tinsels hang
where an unclaimed no-hoper
trembles; fly-corpses cling
to the grimy flypaper.
Manhattan snows swarm
on star-boxed waters,
steam trails from warm
subway ventilators . . . 
Welcome to the planet,
its fluorescent beers
buzzing in the desolate
silence of the spheres.
Slam the door and knock
the snow from your shoe,
admit that the vast dark
at last defeated you.
Nobody found the Grail
or conquered outer space;
join the clientele
watching itself increase.

Derek Mahon, "The Terminal Bar" from New Collected Poems .  Copyright © 2011 by Derek Mahon.  Reprinted by permission of The Gallery Press.
Source: New Collected Poems (The Gallery Press, 2011)
More Poems by Derek Mahon