Write it on Rolling Paper and Smoke it

In the round at the bar
A circular table, a window seat
A college town
The place is important
It might be anyway
It could be the description of the place
That is:
Wooden floors, peanut shells, happy drinkers
Quiet drinkers, non-drinkers
Sober bikers in their sober biker leather:
No pills, no booze, no weed
No bikers now
Too late for some
too early for some
right on time for none
my gaze is on the marble cake hair,
the sharp angles of the face
blunted by bloat
the round spectacles
because on this kind of goateed gent
they are always spectacles
specs, maybe
never glasses
he lights an Export A
or Export, Eh?
Picks up his oily glass
Shakes the cubes
— they’ve rejected the fucker three times now
I keep sending it back
Reworked
better than ever
–the same poem, I ask, three times?
Smoke pours from his nostrils
His eyes look down the smoke to me
–yes…
what’s the point of holding tongue
wet fingers?
gag reflex?
–let it go. Write another one.
What does it matter, one poem…
He’s the professor poet momma-baby
What he knows goes
Because he knows he has it
And what he has goes
into students, hard
the measure
the rhyme
the greats, and his own,
his own self-composed greats
Locked in the seats of
Professor T’s wild ride
He’s gonna read the classroom one
And listen up because you can learn
You can get an A, a special A
If you flatter with imitation
Write him one set in a bar
Write him dull beer-drunk faces
Sucked dry
Life drained out like the pitchers
Going to their head
Give him a line on their lives
A life-line of boozy retreat.
…And he says to me,
–When you’ve been in this business
As long as I have, babe
You better bet, one poem matters
–Three things, babe, I say,
one, business?
two, “poem” and “matters”?
three, smoke American!

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