Last Call

Last Call

by Randall Mann

A giant bird-
of-paradise
has climbed the bar:
in this paradise

there are no flowers,
no flowers at all.
When Happy Hour
becomes Last Call—

Adam in drag
our royalty—
we buy her gin
for eternity

(an unseen deejay
scores the years
with pulsing music
of the spheres).

Now the queen has gone,
gone again
in search of love,
in search of sin.

It’s closing time.
You were not at fault.
I drain my glass
and lick the salt.

Literary Analysis

Last Call” is about the recollection of the loss of love and the destruction that happened in the past. The theme of this poem is sad memories of a past event and the lost love that is the cause of destruction. Hence, the mood of the poem is melancholic; sad with a sense of loss.

The tone has a great amount of lugubrious feelings and emotions. The title of the poem is symbolic in nature, representing a final chance or a last opportunity for new life and a new beginning. The speaker is someone who narrates an event of destruction, which he faces and submits to.

The poem begins with the description of a beautiful bird, which is called a bird of paradise by the speaker “A giant bird- / of-paradise / has climbed the bar.” Then, the speaker describes the destructive moment, which has destroyed everything in a place that looks like paradise. He uses a metaphor (paradise) to describe the beautiful place, before this unfortunate event. The place was just like a paradise for its residents and for those who used to come and visit it. Now, there is no charm and no beauty as he points out “there are no flowers, / no flowers at all.” Although, the place recovers, it could not however regain the beauty and life it used to have.

Here, two lines make a reference to the last chance and last moment of a life that is going to be destroyed by nature, and refer to the title as well – “When Happy Hour / becomes Last Call.” Then the speaker talks about Adam, a young boy who passes through that area and recalls those beautiful years he spent there. The speaker, alludes to Adam (the father of humans), who was expelled from paradise due to his deliberate mistake. There is a man playing music that brings back the memories of those blissful days, “an unseen deejay scores the years.” The poet again uses metaphors such as “scores the years” that means to recall the memories. Then, the speaker continues his narration, saying the queen of this paradise is again going to commit a sin (like Adam and Eve committed) “Now the queen has gone, / gone again.” The poet is seemingly putting the blame on lovers for their love, saying it a sin which brought disaster. However, now the time is over because everything is lost and she (the queen) would not be able to find her partner anymore. She has lost him “It’s closing time.” Since, everything is lost due to natural disaster, she is hapless in this regard when he says, “You were not at fault”.

Structural Analysis

This is a lyric poem. However, it has a touch of narrative style as well. There are six stanzas in this poem and it has a regular rhyme scheme: ABCB, which is used in the entire poem:

    A giant bird- A
    of-paradise B
    has climbed the bar: C
    in this paradise B

The metrical pattern of this poem is iambic monometer with alternative iambic diameter such as “A giant bird- / of-paradise / has climbed the bar.” End-stopped lines seen at different places in the poem, such as “It’s closing time. / You were not at fault. / I drain my glass.” End-stopping is used three times in the last three lines of the poem.

Enjambment is also used in some lines, such as “A giant bird- / of-paradise / has climbed the bar.” In these three lines, the sense is moving into the following lines. The language and diction of this poem is figurative and connotative. The poem is lacking alliteration and assonance; therefore, there is no prominent rhythm. Repetition is used thrice in two stanzas, firstly as “there are no flowers, / no flowers at all.” In addition, the poet makes use of anacoluthon as a literary device, which is an abrupt change in the grammatical flow of the sentence such as “Adam in drag / our royalty.” The two lines have different meanings altogether; the purpose of this change is to draw the readers’ attention.

Guidance for Usage of Quotes

The poem has feelings of regrets, grief and sadness, as it is about a sense of losing something; loved ones, lovely beautiful things and places. Since it is also a narration of a lover’s love story and his/her loss of love, lovers who have lost their loved ones, can dedicate this poem to themselves. Such as, when they recount those memories:

    “an unseen deejay
    scores the years
    with pulsing music
    of the spheres.”

Also, a woman can show her search for the lost love in this way:

    “Now the queen has gone,
    gone again
    in search of love,
    in search of sin.”

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