The ground is littered
with lottery tickets
torn through and scattered
there is no trace or track
to show what path
I might take
that others may have taken
Who has come before me?
I feel like the first soul here
Where did they come from?
Where did they go?
When were they here?
How long did they stay?
The sun moves to the center of the sky
A breeze starts, the lottery tickets begin
dancing across the ground
like dreams,
unfulfilled but remembered, 
leaving traces in the mind

Where am I?
I don’t recognize this place
What journey did I make?
I am not fatigued, but lethargic
How long have I been here?
I am neither hungry, nor full
Where is the sun?
I was walking on a beach and stopped and turned
To look at the ocean,
And in that instant
the beach disappeared
the winds, the clouds,
the gulls, the sun:
replaced,
during the blink of an eye
by a wasting venue 

I know not where
or when

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.”
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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.