I Went into the Maverick Bar

By Gary Snyder b. 1930 Gary Snyder
I went into the Maverick Bar   
In Farmington, New Mexico.
And drank double shots of bourbon
                         backed with beer.
My long hair was tucked up under a cap
I’d left the earring in the car.

Two cowboys did horseplay
                         by the pool tables,
A waitress asked us
                         where are you from?
a country-and-western band began to play   
“We don’t smoke Marijuana in Muskokie”   
And with the next song,
                         a couple began to dance.

They held each other like in High School dances   
                         in the fifties;
I recalled when I worked in the woods
                         and the bars of Madras, Oregon.   
That short-haired joy and roughness—
                         America—your stupidity.   
I could almost love you again.

We left—onto the freeway shoulders—
                         under the tough old stars—
In the shadow of bluffs
                         I came back to myself,
To the real work, to
                         “What is to be done.”

Gary Snyder, “I Went into the Maverick Bar” from Turtle Island. Copyright © 1974 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: No Nature: New and Selected Poems (1992)

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Poet Gary Snyder b. 1930

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Free Verse