Truth be told, I had a hard time really getting into this poem. It's short (which isn't really a problem) but it also seems very straight forward--too straight forward. I had to read a couple of his other poems to try and get a feel for his style and make a decision as to whether this poem wasn't in his usual style. I found very quickly that it is exactly like him, and even is one of the things people expect from his poetry. But enough about my challenge deciphering this piece--I eventually found it to be quite compelling.
The poem is relatively clear cut in that it is literally about a time that the author "went into the Maverick Bar." But there are multiple layers to his experience that become more visible upon multiple readings. What I think is the core message of the poem is at the end. After taking in some different sights and experiencing his own reactions to them, the speaker of the poem leaves the bar. He and his companion go out "onto the freeway shoulders-- / under the tough old stars-- / In the shadow of bluffs." And it is there that he "[comes] back to [him]self, / To the real work, to / 'What is to be done.'" In the end he was able to find himself again when he returned to his element, to his mission/passion/reason for being--whatever we want to call it. So I'd like to ask about this in particular. How do you guys approach the idea of "mission" or "reason for being"? Especially as students, I think we're at a special place in our lives where this question is perhaps more important than other times (if that's even possible).
"I Went into the Maverick Bar" on PF: