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Old West End Bar, 1975-85

by Kevin T. McEneaney
Wed Dec 5th, 2018

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.