The Upper Room
Ben Egerton (bio)

The upper room
is a basement dive. I’m lured down
three metres below street level, through ruins,
razes and raises of twenty centuries, by happy hour,

and two-for-one chicken wings. Muted dayglo girls
grind on MTV, fail to lip-sync with disco-folk
blaring from speakers hung at each end

of the long tacky bar. I order arak. Between tracks
traffic on the one-way system rumbles above
the ancient architecture, the faded glory. Windows

opened once to almighty storms, goats, Zion,
blind-frame leatherette booths and fairy lights.
Erased from all guidebooks, this place passed over

in favour of hip and airy. Farewell dinners a thing
of the past. Its modest seedy threshold crossed
by the jaded or tourists in search of some shade.

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