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Noontime cafe

July 22, 2012

This week, the dVerse Poets Pub released a fabulous group reading of Schiller’s “Song of the Bell.” I didn’t have time to participate, but I was up for the Poetics challenge it prompted: Observe someone or something and describe what you see. Thanks, Claudia!

Noontime Cafe

It’s a sold out house
every chair holding a diner
every table heavy with mounded potatoes
dripping silent golden yolk and
noisy bacon grease

The line grows outward from
the battered canoe paddle
balanced on its pommel
Please wait to be seated

And they do

Fidgety shuffle up concrete sidewalk
close in on loosely hung screen doors
add to the compact room’s heat
already outpacing rising mercury
at the back of the queue

Oval plates are wiped clean
with sourdough’s last crust
chairs scraped back
patched mesh pushed open
wood frame banging closed rhythmically

Yet lacquered pine tables sit idling
napkins crumpled against mugs
holding dregs of hotplate-burned decaf
water still kissing acrylic brims
sweating faster than the line cook

Thick-browed, Busboy enters stage left
Black-and-white do-rag at his hairline
brightly striped rasta crown
seemingly hiding snaking dreads
more likely unruly, short-cropped curls

One trip removes stainless and paper
the next plastic and ceramic
Before heavy-lashed eyes
lazily find those eager
to break their fast at noon

Pale rags finally
wipe the slate clean for
table number three
Next-In-Line releases sighs of longing
Please wait to be seated

Busboy saunters cramped paths
blue diamond patch winking
halfway between knee and small ass
Clear cups slink in after black mugs
shining flatware trails limp linens

Spellbound, the audience watches
Busboy’s endless performance
Straighten chairs
align salt pepper sugar
turn to the sun-faded door

I expect him to bow
entering footsteps on
darkly stained wood floorboards
sound like applause

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2012 2:18 am

    This is glorious! Your descriptions of the door were especially poignant for they partnered with the busboy’s activity so tenderly.

    patched mesh pushed open
    wood frame banging closed rhythmically
    . . .

    . . . turn to the sun-faded door


  2. SilverGardenia permalink
    July 23, 2012 2:16 pm

    Nice poem. I really liked the line “Next-In-Line releases sighs of longing.”


  3. July 23, 2012 12:04 pm

    this is wonderful-descriptive and bright. mugs and linens and chairs. so well done.


  4. July 23, 2012 11:06 am

    Wonderful observations all through this. I really enjoyed all of it. Cannot say that any meal would be worth standing in a really long line waiting for it in high heat though, but, I guess many do think it’s well worth the wait. These people seem to. I love how you captured everything about the busboy even down to his nice ass…lol
    Loved this!


  5. July 22, 2012 10:09 pm

    very cool…would’ve loved to watch him for a while as well…at least there’s lot of things to observe while waiting to get seated… great capture of the scene..could really see and even hear it


  6. July 22, 2012 7:04 pm

    smiles…they do put on quite the show…orchestrating all the movements in cleaning up the tables…and a bit of music in the clank of dishes and silver in their tubs, scratch the record as they wipe…love the footsteps at the end like applause…you really captured the scene welll


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