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#90, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

May 18, 1997

Passed the Bouncer's Bar tonight

in its old leaning building

just off the Embarcadero

Lots of stiffs in there

still nursing their beers

and staring at the wall

It was that kind of place

long on atmosphere

and short on talk

Even the bartender kept silent

having long ago given up bar banter

There was no Happy Hour in here

even in the bad old days

Nothing relieved the gloom

on days like this

The swinging door

rarely swung

The bums crept in out of the sun

Only the jukebox once in a while

showed signs of life

now and then letting out late at night

an old broken moan

about a dude leaving his wife

and how she done him wrong for a song

While an old head in a corner

mumbles and sings along

And falls out into the night

with its pathless starry sky

And raises a fist

to those black heavens

And lets out a bloody cry

From "A Far Rockaway of the Heart" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. (New Directions: 130 pp., $21.95) Copyright 1997 Reprinted by permission.

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