Silsbe was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar by Jason Baldinger

We found the bar looking for dinner
blue round walls, no sign outside
pinholes of light leak out
We didn’t know the name till we were inside
Spyner’s. Four old men crammed in a corner
short sassy sixty something bartender
they watch the news, curse some guy
who stole a walker from an old lady
their best Chicago accents dissect the word fuck
at the pool table an old man with voice box
shoots pool with his granddaughter
this place is heaven, who says in heaven there is no beer?

We were smitten, so we returned after the reading
taking a booth, a group of lesbian shooting pool
one passes our table, needling us, we’re v.i.p.s
the champagne service is coming

They loaded the juke with a fiver
tell us to play what we want
I take a stab, play Motown
confused after five cities in five days
Then I remember Chess Records
Cobra Records, Curtis Mayfield and Sweet Chicago Soul
Margaret, our host, teaches Scott to Jive
Scott laughs about Jonathan Richman’s
I was Drunk in A Lesbian Bar

It’s the first song we play in the car
or when we get to Margaret’s
whose apartment is decorated like the inside of her head
She wants a dance party
she buzzes around moving stacks of papers
making a bed, talking while Sun Ra squonks
some new Strut comp, her turntable
bubbles and symmetry

Ready for bed, the dance party starts, no dancing
Margaret on the floor, Scott and I on the couch
Youtube videos off smart phones
doo wop then Gloria Lynne
I play Ruby Johnson’s I’ll Run Your Hurt Away
Silsbe trumps it all with Baby Huey’s
A Change Gonna Come
I counter with William DeVaughn
Be Thankful for What You Got
as Silsbe heads to bed

Our host crashed on the floor
says as I’m about to sprawl on the couch
Tell me another story
I peer over the coffee table, say
I think you’re asleep, sorry but I’m out of stories

Jason Baldinger
Jason Baldinger is a poet hailing for the Appalachian hamlet of Pittsburgh. He’s the author of several books the most recent of which, the chaplet, Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) is available now, and the collection Fragments of a Rainy Season (Six Gallery Press) which is coming in September. Recent publications include the Low Ghost Anthology Unconditional Surrender, Uppagus, Lilliput Review, Rusty Truck, Dirtbag Review, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nerve Cowboy Concrete Meat Press, and Heartland! Poetry of Love, Solidarity and Resistance. You can hear Jason read some poems at

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