A strange, somehow dangerous beatnik place—

some of the customers were barefoot—the waitress

with her long, straight hair was dressed in black.

The drinks were exotic—bitter espresso,

Constant Comment tea. We were 17.


Singers in rubber sandals pretended to be hillbillies—

since this was Boston, they sang of a “broken haht.”

Then a woman sat at the mike with her guitar

and sang songs from Vanguard albums:


The water is wide, I cannot cross over


and we held hands, poised at the edge of a bay.


And neither have I wings to fly


We breathed her fingers’ rhythm on the strings.


Give us a boat that will carry two

And both shall row, my love and I


Would anyone ever love me that much?

Why not us? Why not us, sitting in the smoky light

of a beatnik coffee house? Along the broad shore

the water would shine forever.


And both shall row, my love and I






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