At the Diner (Hour 23)

At the diner at 4 a.m.,
cheesecake and coffee
the brew so dusty sweet
and the cake real ricotta.
At the diner, we’d talk
after the bars close
and the beer wore off,
and eat French fries
or eggs and put dimes
in the table top juke box,
hear our favorite songs
like Free bird and
Sympathy for the Devil.
And we’d splay our
legs on long, red, vinyl
seats sometimes cracked,
our backs against booth
walls of plastic sheen.
At the diner, we’d hum
the songs we heard at the
bar we just left, our favorite
local bands playing, while
we drank Heineken and
smoked Camel cigarettes,
out back for a J or two.
But under the bright lights
of the diner til quarter to 7 or
later, we’d laugh sometimes
spitting our coffee or Pepsi
at some stupid shit one of us
said, and everything’s funny
when you haven’t slept all night.
At the diner, off the expressway,
the waitresses know us, and
bring us our eggs and toast
the way we like them, sunny
side up and easy tan and grape
jelly in the little plastic peel off
boxes, three or four of them.
And every Friday and Saturday
it was the same for us three,
Deb, Jackie and me, at the diner.

2 Replies to “At the Diner (Hour 23)”

  1. Chick’s diner. At the corner of Moosic St. and Meadow Ave. A local institution since WWII, maybe longer. Looked like an Airstream and not much bigger. Best grease in town. Too busy 24/7 to be a Hopper. The owner lived a block away. Now the “building” remains but the institution is gone. It’s called something else now. Chick is dead. And with him an era to the kids of those who lived it.

    1. Amazing how an institution and huge part of your youth can just disappear like that–unless you stay up all night and write poems about what is lodged firmly in your memories.
      Great description of your diner. Mine was called Expressway diner. I could not find a picture of one that looked like it with the table jukeboxes and red vinyl seats.

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