Hey Profound Bartender


The 33rd meeting of the Poetry Groupies of America 

There once was a girl from Broadway,
Who wrote poems from morn to midday.
She slept on her couch
With computer and mouse
And woke to compose verse ’bout subways.

~Michael Kroth

Originally Posted On Facebook

No Publisher Will Touch It, 2-25-18


Mr. Bartender sir, I am looking for the meeting of the poetry groupies, I understand they have “met-a-phored” (she laughs at her little joke) here for a while?

Yes, m’am, they’re in the back room down there to the right.  Someone put up a sign that says “Algonquin”, but that’s your groupa groupies (he laughs).

Thank you kind sir.  This is my first…time to come, you know. And I’m a bit nervous. It seems like it would be such an elegant covey, such a distinguished gaggle of gals.  All so highbrow – following poets, after all, you know – and clandestinely classy, the recondite erudites, if you will (laughing at her own wordplay, again).

It all seems so secret and exclusive.  I had to give myself a title – I chose Oliver Follower.  Pretty simple but I love her work, and no one had nabbed it yet.  Perhaps a good number of these women don’t want their affairs, of the heart only of course, to get back to their husbands?

You see them come in once a month, sir.  I realize they may not act too friendly, you a bartender, wiping down the counter and all that, but is there anything you can tell me before I make my entrance?

M’am, I’d be happy to do that.  You got this all wrong though.  This is no exclusive club and these are no stiff-lipped socialites.  These are party animales. And tighten up your bonnet, m’am, it’s not just women, there are a few groupie guys too.

They all meet here once a month and run up a tab the Medieval Maces Field of Practice Study Group can’t even touch.  For those bad boys, it’s all Guinness of course and I think it’s a challenge drinking a beer through a visor, but for the poetry gang it’s all hard liquor.  Sure, they ask me to make some with fancy names, like the Epic Journey or the Ferlinghetti Fling (there are some, m’am, I won’t even repeat to my regular customers), but they don’t want a bunch of ice in the glass, if you know what I mean.

But to answer your question, they just love poetry.  Usually, but not always, they have a favorite poet. They all give themselves names, like you had to do. A couple of my favorites are Feet of Hafiz and Rumi’s Roomies.

And there are subgroups of the groupies, with names too, and I have to say that the language here on rugby night can hardly compete with some of what you hear out of the Algonquin.  Sometimes they call their group by poet, sometimes by genre. There are the Haiku Hussies.  The Women of Nin (Anais’s Lasses just formed too as some kind of competition I guess). Jong’s Throng.  I feel sorry for the Elegy Elles, they usually sit around waiting for someone to die and then, you know, they have to produce something right away.  To stress, or not to stress, that’s their obsession.

Sheesh. Lighten up, I say.  How about a little Salute to Shel Silverstein?

And of course, they have their little swag, like the Sontag Bookbag, and Nash Cash (we don’t accept it here).  I do love to eat the Maya Papaya and Wendys’ – yeah, the burger joint – drops Frosties off once in awhile.  I don’t mind, it’s all in good fun.

When you stick your head in, you will see Sylvia, she’s in charge and they call her the persiflage personage, very French, and she works throughout the meeting to maintain high quality repartee in the spirit Dorothy Parker, the goddess of glib, rest her soul.

I guess that’s about it.  They don’t actually track down poets, that I know of anyway.  They are groupies, groupettes, groupsters.  Girls who just wanna have pun, girls and boys who just wanna have Donne, yeah, who just wanna have pun.* Harmless pun fun, but even I have to chortle when I hear them now and again.

Hey, have a good time, m’am, it’s a great group.  Not for me though – I’m not a poet, and I sure know it.

Trust me, I’m a bartender.

*A tip of the hat to Cyndi Lauper and songwriter Robert Hazard here, lyricists are some of the best poets, eh? (There was, after all, the Ode to Billie Joe.)

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