William Taylor Jr.

The Glory

We’re at the Lush Lounge on a Monday afternoon
and I happen to mention to the fellow next to me
how the banality of the average day
holds us like a prison,
and the gentleman spins upon his stool
to face me, shaking a finger at the air,
saying, that is simply the voice of your hubris!
We are alive in a glorious universe
in the midst of a glorious people,
and if you cannot banish
the banality of the day
with your own powers,
the fault is yours, my friend!
Our dooms and demons
are born of our own sorry choices
and attitudes, nothing more!
He spins back around,
leaving me to my silence
in which I drink beer while
considering his worldview,
eventually conceding
some plausible truth to it,
as the women walking
up Polk Street in their springtime
dresses and yoga pants
surely possess some sort
of otherworldly glow
that well might, in certain circles,
pass for glory.
A man I have christened Dirty Santa
leans through the window asking for change,
reminding me as he does
that he is a Christian soul,
imagining somehow
I am partial to such creatures.
The barmaid shoos him away
and rightly so, blocking, as he was,
my view of the girl standing
across the street in red velvet pants
gloriously smoking a cigarette.
A fellow in a tattered shirt
and shit-stained jeans
looking battered by the glory of things,
drunk with it, really,
is doing some kind of tap dance
through the afternoon traffic
in time to a glorious
music in his head,
until a kid in the back seat
of some obsolete machine
chucks something
that might be a half-eaten burrito
and the thing hits his head
with a glorious squelching thud,
and the man crumples into the street
like a dirty ragdoll,
flailing about as the cars
and things speed by
without slowing, desperate
for their sundry destinations.
I turn to speak again to the man
next to me but he is angrily shouting
into a smart phone the size of a small laptop,
red-faced beneath the glow
of the gloriously large flat-screen televisions
as the bartender like some angel asks
one more, and I say please.


William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a volume of fiction. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and The American Journal of Poetry. He is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. Pretty Words to Say, a new collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Six Ft. Swells Press.