A Life Spent In Restaurants In Three Parts

I.
I read the menu like the morning paper,
looking for something familiar
and interesting and possibly tasty
that I can chew on for awhile and
walk away from satisfied.

Two eggs, toast, fresh fruit and someone
got shot last night in a parking
lot I’ve never been to.
I’m not having it.

French toast, hash browns, and a protest
at the Capitol Building- something
about abortion- these omelettes
have no yolks. I sigh.

Biscuits & Gravy, Chicken Fried Steak, and
the Death Penalty isn’t just the
cholesterol. The state execution
toll just hit seventeen for the year.
I examine the contents of my wallet
and assess my national budget.

The wait staff buzz about like talking heads
on a cable television pundit show.
I’m thinking about a life spent
in restaurants.

“Can I take your order?” asks the Waitress
as effortlessly as one exhales.
I place my order and she nods
distantly, almost disappointed. I
think she wanted something else
for me.

The waitress leaves for the kitchen and
I read my bus schedule as though
it were a menu. The number one
and the number five both look good
but I wish there was a lunch special.

Perhaps the whole world is a restaurant
of one sort or another with decisions
made to order and consequences
delivered with a bill and a peppermint.
There are just as many options
in a buffet line.

Must I wait to be seated when I’d
rather seat myself?

II.
Oh Bad Cafe-
I left you like a one night stand
and nearly as satisfied.
I left you like a one night stand
and nearly as hungover.

Oh Bad Cafe-
You pulled back the curtains
and said “GET OUT!” in not
so many words. I’m not sure
why I came inside you.

Oh Bad Cafe-
Neither of us got what
we wanted. I wanted comfort
and you wanted a tip. I
wanted a refill and you
rolled your eyes as if to say
“again?”

Oh Bad Cafe-
That hair net just doesn’t
compliment you. Those stains
on your apron just show
how many others were here
before me.

Oh Bad Cafe-
We both had a cigarette
afterwards and neither of
us said a word. You just
shook your head and I
couldn’t look at you the
same way.

Oh Bad Cafe-
There was a short hair
in my waffles and roaches
in your toilet. What will
the Health Inspector say?

Oh Bad Cafe-
I’m going to tell all my
friends about you like this:

STAY THE HELL AWAY.

III.
Tater tots are all they’ve got
that I can’t get somewhere else.
They remind me of being a kid
in public school back in Iowa.

They let you park your car
and eat in the parking lot
under neon lights drawing
mosquitoes.

“Drive in restaurants were a big deal
after living through the Depression”
my Grandma once tried to tell me.
I’d suppose anything hinting at
prosperity would look good next
to relief lines & ration stamps,
so who are they kidding?

Sonic is the boom that follows
digestion. I’ll be dropping gut
bombs on the porcelain city tonight.

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