On a corner in the Village

where MacDougal Street
meets Minetta Lane
still stands the ancient bar
where Manny, the smiling bartender,
poured and smiled and listened.

Over half a century ago
and more
Manny listened
to ancient scene designer,
Cleon Throckmorton
and to his black-clad wife, Julie,
listened to Monte,
the reporter from The Daily Mirror,
to his pal,
the Moose,
and to Phil Cazazza,
the fat wine merchant
of Bleeker Street.

Listened to Chelsea,
the Italian tenor,
and to Red,
the musical plumber,
and to an uncounted number of fledgling actors
who at one time or another
haunted the old Provincetown Playhouse
just up the street.

So Manny poured
and Manny listened
in interested silence,
his attention real,
never phony or false.

He listened
because he cared about you,
his fellow Man,
and you knew it.

Too bad you never met him.

But, they say,
the real old timers,
that if you step into
The Minetta Tavern to this day,
you can still catch a little of Manny’s spirit
if you listen quietly to what’s going on.

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