On Meeting a Goth Androgyne in a Dark Downtown Bar by J.J. Steinfeld


The brooding darkly dressed
goth androgyne (I doubt if I can
give a better description)
stands next to me at the bar
expensive drink in hand
and tells me unprompted,
“It’s dark and getting darker,”
and I smile, bewildered into curiosity,
offering to buy the dark-worshipping
goth androgyne another drink
less expensive, though,
darkly accepted, then,
a long-fingered hand
waved pointing at the occupants
of the bar, “Look at their ersatz agony
and meaningless posturing.”
Thoughts of identity and authenticity
upending my psyche and sadness
I detect the scent of schadenfreude
we share yet another cathartic libation
(the goth androgyne’s mischievous phrase)
altogether three drinks worth of dialogue
about sex on Earth and sex
on other misdefined planets
and I ask, What sex or gender
do you prefer, in morning or nighttime?
And what is gender on other planets
and if it’s bright will you miss the darkness?
A subtle laugh, a refreshing smile
teeth marvellously gleaming
I estimate I’m twice the age
and three times the angst
of the amiable goth androgyne
but who’s counting or deconstructing.
I say, my farewell assertion,
At least you know exactly who you are,
a feeble insight catching me by the throat,
relinquishing bewilderment like an exhausted night
grudgingly relinquishes darkness.


Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published 24 books, including An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2016), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017), A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2018), Gregor Samsa Was Never in The Beatles (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2019), Morning Bafflement and Timeless Puzzlement (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2020), Somewhat Absurd, Somehow Existential (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2021), Acting on the Island (Stories, Pottersfield Press, 2022), and As You Continue to Wait (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2022).




“On Meeting a Goth Androgyne in a Dark Downtown Bar” from Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Guernica Editions, 2017) by J. J. Steinfeld. Used by permission of the author.

Published 2/14/24