Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Diner

There is a diner where the waitress lets down her hair,
despite Health Department directives,
or fevered men with their angry wives.

Each table has a miniature juke box
with songs on a flip wheel, 25 cents a number.
"Mister Sandman." "Brandy." "Spirit In The Sky."

You can order eggs, but the cook is loathe to break them.
He says he is haunted by the birds,
silent and accusing about their unlived lives.

At night, after closing, the cook and waitress go home together,
and take menus with them to remind themselves that everything has cost.
In her dreams, the waitress has an operatic voice, and can fly. 

There is a clock in the diner, advertising a particular soft drink.
At exactly noon, the waitress stuffs napkins into a dispenser
until it is full to bursting. She hates a mess, that's why.

Come to the diner. Take the bus, avoid the downtown rush.
Bring a good appetite and order pancakes
warm and brown as the waitress's eyes.
_______

12 comments:

Sioux Roslawski said...

Each of your poems sound like they came from different people. This one is no exception.

You should check out the picture book "An Angel for Solomon Singer" by Cynthia Rylant. Your poem and this book--in a strange way--are similar.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Hmmm, the pancakes sound good. And the music.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

Small and amiable and warm: that and "Brandy" makes me yearn for simple fare.

hedgewitch said...

I like the way this evokes the famous Hopper picture without actually mentioning it, and carries much the same mood of humans fighting their endless isolation, even when surrounded by others. Together but separate. The cook and the waitress, however, seem to have found a language in common, and a modicum of comfort thereby, even if 'everything has a cost.'

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your sense of place and character always impresses me and this poem shows your skill so well. I love the interjection about the eggs - the cook not wanting to break them - it is so human.
Also the line about taking home the menus to keep in mind that everything comes at a price is truly brilliant.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Love this especially the interjection about the eggs!❤️ A most profound write.

brudberg said...

Every diner has its own soul, on the surface all the same, but the people makes the difference. This would be a place to be... (but I guess there is no Wifi)

Cloudia said...

Universal

Margaret said...

Diners have their regulars and then the ones who just pass through perhaps once... We have a unique diner or two here in this small town - truly is a great people watching place. Your characters, as I've said before, always seem to be developed as if opening a novel in the middle of the book - They have lots of before and after stories ...

angieinspired said...

Loved it all, especially the foibles

Kona said...

What a fabulous feel-good poem. I love it. Especially these sections:

"There is a diner where the waitress lets down her hair,
despite Health Department directives"

"You can order eggs, but the cook is loathe to break them."

"At night, after closing, the cook and waitress go home together,
and take menus with them to remind themselves that everything has cost."

"At exactly noon, the waitress stuffs napkins into a dispenser
until it is full to bursting. She hates a mess, that's why."

We were at a family diner the other night and saw a big blue clock advertising Viagra on the wall. :)

The final line of the poem was my favorite, of course.

It gets embarrassing to gush every time, but you certainly deserve it. You are a bottomless pith of poetry.

Helen said...

A splendid poem, I wanna go there.