A Cowboy Walks Into a Bar

A vertical oval black shape on a white background. Inside the solid black oval, a red orange shape similar to a rock formation or brushstroke disappears into a stylized zig zag pattern that looks like reflections of light on water. At the top of the shape, the black outline of a person wearing a cowboy hat is visible. The black oval has feathered edges.
Cowboy Cameo by Elif Saydam.


A cowboy walks into a bar. The bar is closed indefinitely.

A cowboy stays home where they’re losing the feeling of having a body that is a body in a city that is a city in which they – for the first time – had the feeling of having a body. Dysphoria and a cold one at the kitchen table, baby. Dolphin noises from the sink. The cowboy is a cowboy now only by wearing Tabi boots inside the house, ungodly porridge tricks, spurring credit card limits.

An extremely middle class podcaster and an exhausted druid walk into a bar. The bar is closed indefinitely. 

The druid still goes to work every day which, even when work is offline healing, is still boring. When she comes home, the rooms are still designed to feel empty and when even the empty-feeling apartments, says the druid to her cat, when even empty apartments like this feel this extra empty, how empty will the whirlpools up on the hill feel, without this specific form of financial worry. “Omg are you talking to the cat again”, says her girlfriend from the kitchen.

Trans Timothée Chalamet and a talking snail walk into a bar.

A feminist materialist critique from four years ago and a new master signifier walk into a bar.

Outside the bar, the Timothée-shaped boy, with the well-rehearsed awkwardness that has made him famous within the forever young segments of this town, waves at you from a safe distance. Right next to Timothée, his good friend Walter Benjamin is on his phone with both hands.

T’s waving comes solely from the wrist. You realize you love him. You’ve been loving him since, within the cramped opening situation of a mediocre art event, you accidentally dived your face into his armpit long enough until, in your mind, all of Timothée’s nonchalance was perfected with effects of reality. The bar is closed indefinitely.

The bar is closed indefinitely and has been since 2016 when a group of people who called themselves “the owners” decided to not renew the contract. If it hadn’t closed in 2016, it would have had to close now. If the people who played Book of Ra with Sambuca hadn’t stopped coming in 2016, they would stop now. If you listen closely, you can still make out the sound effects of animated gold coins in the wind. 

No, that’s precisely not how the past of this street works. Towering above the deserted machines: empty-feeling apartments filled with relationship talk.

A horse girl lesbian and one more horse girl lesbian and the literal Truth walk into a bar. However, in the punchline, the bar is revealed to be a kindergarten, which is also closed. 

How many horse girl lesbians does it take to advertise a MasterClass in stand-up comedy with a Walter Benjamin quote? The one about the entanglement of emergency, grief, laughter, revolution, grief, grief, grief, grief.

It has to exist? 

The strong women (earlier referred to as “druids”) and faggots (earlier referred to as “cowboys”) convened at a bar. The bar, located in the past tense of a half-accurate quality TV image of the year 1977, was open. The strong women and faggots smoked a lot and talked about things that happened in the late 70s. It was a different time. 

The strong women told the faggots that there are two important things to remember about the coming revolu­tions. The first is that we will get our asses kicked. The second is that we will win. As the strong women explained winning, the faggots were surprised and then excited. The faggots knew about surviving for they always had and this was going to be just plain better. That made ass-kicking different. Getting your ass kicked and then winning elevated the entire enterprise of making revolution.*

Too bad it’s still too early for solace! 


* from The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell, with illustrations from Ned Asta (1977)

Words by Maxi Wallenhorst
Header Image by Elif Saydam

Maxi Wallenhorst is a writer living in Berlin. Their work has been published in Edit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, and &shy, among other places. Beyond that, Maxi’s been working in the field of performance, most recently in an organizing position for the platform Dirty Debüt.