It's just poetry, it won't bite


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By Sandy Patton

Crowd in diner begins dwindling down,
only a few stragglers linger over coffee;
volume will pick up again at dinner hour.
Wait staff taking a quick smoke break
out back, giving tired feet a rest. Angelo
Bianco (affectionately called Pops) in the
kitchen, putting finishing touches on his Mama’s
pizza sauce, hand-tosses fresh dough for
tonight’s Special- Pizza Bianco, $.50 a slice,
pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and cheese.

A few hours ago, Angelo’s was jumpin’.
Doo Wop, Pop, and Rock & Roll blasted,
clatter of coins fed hungry jukebox,
couples filled up the aisles,
jitterbugging and strolling,
caught up in the joy of the music,
as Dion chased Runaround Sue,
Elvis begged us, Don’t Be Cruel,
Fats found his Thrill on the Hill,
and Johnny wasn’t Being Goode.

Teenyboppers’ after-school haven,
where high school royalty, the jocks
and cheerleaders, along with the nerds,
the class clowns, the shy bookworms,
and the brainiacs, crammed into booths,
sipped Coca-Colas, giggled, gossiped,
flirted, and danced along to jukebox tunes.
Boys in khakis, Madras shirts and loafers,
and the girls, with ponytails bouncing, twirled
around in poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

This was their spot, their private world, for a
few, precious hours. A place for friendship,
for breaking up and making out, for music
and laughter. A coming of age, a coming
together, an innocence on the brink of
discovery, all wrapped up in a multitude
of raging hormones. A place where
lifetime memories were made.

Angelo’s Diner, the times of their lives!

Toulouse-Lautrec’s Pigalle
By Ilona Martonfi

He painted her nude

mouth reddest red
yellow crêpe, knitted silk.
Petticoat light pink
buildings of ashlar
finely cut masonry
18e arrondissement
Belle Époque artists.
Open-air restaurants
outdoor dancing

bal musette
with accordion band
swing concerts

waltz, tango.
White wine

mussels and fries
la Rive Droite
when night falls
Butte Montmartre

Place Pigalle and rue des Abbesses
Sacré-Cœur on its summit.

By Ray Sharp
She knows she is recreating
Edward Hopper’s Automat (1927),
updated sans green coat and chapeau—
same cup and saucer, black coffee—
as she reflects on the image
on her tightly gripped iPhone
and learns that the painting
is associated with urban alienation,
the subject described by one critic as
gazing at her coffee cup as if
it were the last thing in the world
she could hold on to.
Welcome to America
By Laura Zucca-Scott

I was nineteen
A European girl in San Francisco
A glass of coke filled with ice
Quenching the thirst of a July day

A corner of America
I had never seen before
Away from the busy streets
A place to rest and think

Could this be home?
I feel a little lost

She checks on my order
I catch only a couple of words
I smile and nod

For all I know
I could have just asked
For other three burgers

This should be an adventure, right?
Welcome to the real America

She Waits
By Nathan Gunter

She waits.

For coffee
for a menu
for a waitress
to take an order, though
she doesn’t know
what she wants
and isn’t hungry.

She waits
for someone
to see her.

Just Off the New Jersey Turnpike
with gratitude to Paul Simon for the ever-inspiring “America”
By Annmarie Lockhart

In a New Jersey diner, a man may be forgiven
the heresy of refusing tomatoes and a woman
may be forgiven for pointing out the obvious

as long as he offers her the end-of-season
tomatoes and she accepts, as long as neither
speaks but they both laugh at the wonder of timing
when they spy a paisan out the window, walking
from the car into their world right on cue.

This is a place where a man and a woman might
come to look for America and be forgiven for
having gotten lost along the way.

Diner Reflections
By J. Scott Price

“A poet could write volumes about diners, because they’re so beautiful. They’re brightly lit, with chrome and booths and Naugahyde and great waitresses.”—David Lynch

There’s plenty of opportunity for reflection in a diner like this.
They begin when you get out of your car
and are faced with the sun lit windows
giving you you,

but refusing
your peek inside the darker diner,
which you find is lit well enough once you sit.

The ceiling and machinery shine and the table top juke box
silver shows your eyes, too big
for the convexed,
tiny background,
but matching your now large nose.
Even the Naugahyde shines in the late afternoon light,

but it only reflects hints–no colors, no forms, just darker
hues of what is around you.
You’re waiting
for someone.
Coffee keeps you company.
Your cell phone offers a first line of defense,
a too-easy distraction, the pretense of multi-tasking.

There are others around, chatting and chomping
in the light that refracts between your world
and theirs, but you’re still waiting
as some finish their meal and
their waves carry them away.

No clue arrives on your phone
as you sip that solitary third cup
and every conceivable possibility unfolds
as to why today you will dine alone.

Now the phone is a stone
plunging you down deeper into things
you try to avoid.
So you concede,
place an order.
There’s plenty of opportunity for reflection in a diner.

key element of creative writing.