In the early 70's I attended a literary convention in Atlanta where this incident took place. The man at the center of the poem was a more or less respected conservative critic and scholar. The black cane for Mag 11 looks just like the one I remember he carried.
He stood in the hotel room doorway,
Atlanta, post-civil rights,
a contingent of scholars
and editors schmoozing in one smoky
room on the 25th floor,
I the lone female sitting apart in the corner,
my plastic cup half-full of bourbon,
my cigarette burning its way down to filter,
and jabbed his black silver-tipped cane
toward the window where lights swarmed.
Out there, he said, cane swung at threats
cresting round us, I know they'll be waiting.
But I'm ready. Lifted his waistcoat
to show us the gun nestled under
his armpit. Laughed. Tipped his cowboy hat
to me, leaned down to wipe dirt from
his boots, and drawled, Have a good night.