“The Café Stool”
The café stool at the corner bus stop spins
Lukewarm as his miles concentrate on the coffee. The counter reeks
Of vinegar and last night’s cream and stranded weeks
In tufts of cusps and smoke and maybes render standard wins
As dust bunnies in an otherwise long night’s wait. The daily turn
Puts miles on both the urn and that old stool.
He’s going nowhere fast but yes, he knows the rules.
He’s been to school. He’s got a lot to say, and bile to burn
Before he bags the keys, and hits the road
For all it’s worth out there; and tell me, now, what’s
It worth? Another dime, another cup of time forever cuts
A path between the long and short, and both are simple codes
For what he means to say, “I’m here and going nowhere,
Fast, but, if you’ve found the exit, let me know, and I’ll be there.
Oh, well, and since you asked me, yes! The twisted lips,
Emaciated torso, darkest circles,
Smudges, really, orbs―a pair―and matching icicles
For breasts suggesting that they’re beyond suggesting; tips
Of fingers, possibly, or weaknesses supporting barbed wire frames,
And all this while naked, reading The New Yorker; raked, reclining, draped
Across a thing or two. A second piercing, pain, or whatever can be scraped
Together to perform the task achieves its consummate utilitarian fame
Expressed in motifs on the menu or à la mode made decorative and dative
In function, deliberately neutered as are the midnight waffles.
Yes! There’s so much that can be found in any diner or rendered awful
In some missing space or blank provided―the passive or the active
Voice required―sired, producing tired generations of sensations
To the point that what’s come in on the bus becomes the stuff of veneration.