The Gospel of Gauguin hung in the air:
all emptied their pockets or ran a tab
while philosophers sipped their black coffee
as Jukebox blared “At the Dock of the Bay”
among thick wreaths of smoke rising from booths.
There was nothing that could not be discussed.
Professors lurked, drank with their mistresses
in quiet platitudes of derangement;
drugs were sold, bets were placed of baseball games;
women prowled to pick up, exploit a man.
The gleaming bar—shaped, glorious horseshoe—
spoke a hundred tongues of hang-over peak
as novels were dreamed, rather than written.
Here was half a poet’s education.