Bar Fragments (poem)

Sweat, after some hard dancing

Sweat, after some hard dancing

This is the series of couplets that includes the lines about Michael Jackson included in my last post. Though written in 1995, the experiences date from 1983-84, when I was in my 20s & often went out dancing (& drinking & smoking) as many as three or four nights of the week to the Village Lounge & Disco, a gay/lesbian bar on Anchorage’s 5th Avenue (same building as the present-day Kodiak Bar). Not the best poetry in the world, but at least catches the flavor of the time for me… I was working toward something bigger about what was going on for me in those days, which ultimately led to another poem called “Ode to Alcohol.” Gee, might as well post that next.

But first —

Bar Fragments

Catching air on 5th Ave., in front of the bar. A guy jumps out from the wall.
Wild-eyed: “You mean, I been standing in front of a goddamn QUEER bar?”

A bank shot — so of course I miss, in fact drop the cue ball in.
“I’m bad at banks. That’s why I joined a credit union.”

We get sick of the straight couple dry-fucking on the dance floor.
I lean over, tell the woman, “It’s more fun with a woman,” and they stop.

“C’mon, hurry, gotta unload some beer!” Finally she comes out.
No, he — you can’t get those drag queens to use the men’s room.

They leave their coats at the coatroom and walk in, eyes wide:
tourists — straight folks slumming at the queer bar, the zoo.

Smoke, sweat, the glitter ball, Donna Summers, Michael Jackson —
make your fun, but I lost 20 pounds there one summer, dancing.

The sign said drug dealers would be 86ed,
but I know the coke she ODed on she scored from a bartender.

Dead drunk, she pretends her pager’s called her back to work
to escape the woman she’s flirted herself into a corner with.


(Oh yeah… & before those Christianist anti-ordinance zealots leap on the lines about the drag queen in the women’s room, let me do some preventative connecting of the dots for you: this was a queer bar! Duh.)

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