Thursday, August 18, 2011

55 - It is not...



the smell of potatoes crisping in hot grease,
lips and teeth passing through a hand-
made hamburger, the same checkered white/red
table clothes, or empty booth reflecting in silver
napkin holder, no it's

diner wall pictures of common men and women
that once ate here, gone, in black & white

that glare your lost appetite.

Tell a story in 55 words, give it a try or just read more, go see g-man. He opens it up at 8 pm tonight.

Today at dVerse, Carys is guest posting for Making the Bar: Critique & Craft where we are writing poems about big topics by focusing on something else, much like a metaphor. Mine is on lost loves and being in those old familiar places.

98 comments:

David Allen Waters said...

I have a fav diner called bo bo's pie house...when I lived in Tenn I ate there everday for lunch, it was a magical place, much like your write today...awesome :)

Claudia said...

i like it a lot - think i would change the stanza breaks to work out the rhymes and rhythm and cut some "the"

(the) smell of potatoes crisping in hot grease,
lips and teeth
passing through a hand-
made hamburger,
(the) same checkered white/red table clothes, or empty booth
reflecting (faces)
in silver napkin holder, no it's

diner wall pictures of
common men and women
that once ate here, gone,
in black and white

that glare your lost appetite.

Titanium said...

It's been more than ten years since I last ate in a diner like the one you describe here. Have to put it on the list of things to revisit (and be sure to pack my appetite in my backpack to keep it safe from errant wall photos).

The Empress said...

Reading this makes me feel sad, which means it works.

The power of words placed just right.

Thank you, Brian, for your art.

Ed Pilolla said...

i have a nostalgic love for booths in diners. i love 'em. this was fun and made me smile genuinely at the end:)

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
Your sensory descriptions put me right there.

Monkey Man said...

Real Diner Food. Nothing like it.

Pat Hatt said...

I'll have to take your word for that
As a diner has never been entered by Pat or the cat
Of course you no why
As I'm just a pringle eating guy..haha

Beachanny said...

Pictures of the dead don't rob me of an appetite; I think these days rather the reverse. There is a sense now that all life is in some state of decay. I liked your write - compact, terse. I'm not for cutting all articles. For me they're part of the rhythm of a piece. It's like cutting grace notes. They may not always be needed but they set up the music.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I love an old, diner....NOT the new ones made to LOOK like and older diner...cool write.

Daydreamertoo said...

I've been in many diners in my time. Hey I made that rhyme, much be catching some of that from that blinking rhyming Pat!!

avril yospa said...

I like the title and the way it links into the first line. You've really captured the moment and images on the wall trapped in timelessness. The lost appetite creates tension right at the end. Yes, very accessible and enjoyable.

bodhirose said...

Reminded me of my dating days and going to late-night diners like the one you describe--they all had the same red and white checked table cloths.

I love this story in 55 words--you said a lot in these few words. Brought up a lot of memories for me.

hedgewitch said...

I can see a stop at the local diner is in my future--diet or no diet. They have pictures of Elvis and Marilyn all over the walls. Love your succulent and sizzling 55.

farmlady said...

Oh yes!... swinging my long legs and kicking my sister, across from me, under the table.
Holding hands and sipping one coke with two straws...

kaykuala said...

It is nostalgic.Those were the times when we teenagers with first dates would rush for such to get the privacy. In a conservative society, those who ventured out of sync would be subject to stares and teasings.

MorningAJ said...

We have a diner near us - genuine, used to be in Connecticut, 1950s diner. The couple that own it try to make it as authentic as possible. Last year some of is original customers came over to visit and see it in its new UK home.

signed...bkm said...

"of common men and women" - it is as if they were the thieves that stole the appetite away...glaring back...bkm

Carys said...

Man I love short sharp pieces that pack a punch and this sure packs a sucker punch right at the end. Great verbs in the first stanza that really bring the piece alive Brian -

potatoes crisping in hot grease

and

lips and teeth passing through a hand-
made hamburger

This is the hook I was speaking about in the article, three lines in and I'm in the diner, I can smell the 'chips' - what can I say I'm a Brit haha and I can taste the hamburger. Love the mid-line half rhyme too of hot grease/lips and teeth.

Can't praise this one enough Brian, truly stellar piece of writing.

PattiKen said...

I have a feeling there was something personal in that glare. To make one lose an appetite for a handmade burger and diner fries, it must have been something really bad...

Mama Zen said...

Truth, right there. Great write, Brian.

Natasha said...

Used to have my own diner...picked up my amazing people skills waiting tables at a diner, (picked up other things as well!) yes, you have provided me a wonderful trip down memory lane that started with the very first line. The only critique I can offer here...yup, I'm going for it...the dVerse font should be larger! ;)

Daniel said...

Yeah, I agree with some others. Pictures of the past in diners just add to the atmosphere as far as I am concerned. Now if the wall of pictures was of folks who ate there and they died as a result, I would agree with your whole loss of appetite thing.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

You have such a gift for the tiny tale. :)

ayala said...

I like it!!!!!! :)

Betsy said...

I love those old diners! And I love the old photos on the walls...never lost my appetite from looking at them, though...

California Girl said...

Diner speak.

Steve Isaak said...

Sparse-but-potent versifying. Excellent.

moondustwriter said...

yeh diner and grease make me lose my appetite
hope you are having a gr8 date

Kim Nelson said...

You took me there, Brian. Sensory, succinct, sharp. I agree with Claudia - the line breaks felt burdensome. But perhaps the dissonance was your desire.

Arron Shilling said...

Im gonna try this format Bri - you do it so well - i like the idea of the restraint - may teach me a thing or two.

I think your example of channeling the every day life experience could also be a great thing for me to tackle in my own surrealhorrorclaustrophobicism style (this is my aesthetic label just rolls off the tongue lol)

You re package stuff with slick skill and cool voice

Thanks Brian - i popped in stole all your methods and talked about me

DOORMAN remove this parisite from the bar!

Cheers Brian

nice write

happygirl said...

Love the 55 and Jersey diners.

Aida Bode said...

I think of things like these all the time. You brought to mind those black and white scenes from the Titanic. Even luxury gets lost in that reality.
Really depressing, yet real write.

Janna said...

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but the first line makes me crave french fries.
One of those diner type paper-lined plastic baskets filled with fresh hot fries.
And a TON of ketchup.
Sigh.

Thanks for another Friday 55.
Mine's here. :)

Margie said...

Brian, there was a wonderful (very tiny) diner here that my husband and I used to enjoy going to.
The food was wonderful and the lady that owned it was a lovely person.
Sadly, she was murdered about 5 years ago and that was the end of the diner.
We thought her son might take over the diner but too many bad memories for him.

Thanks for this 55, wonderful as always and it made me think of Darlene(the diner owner) and I'm hoping she's at peace

G-Man said...

Whats better than The Blue Plate Special, followed by a Heaping helping of Banana Cream Pie?
Served by the Dead!
Loved your 55 Son...
Great pic
Thanks for playing, and have a Kick Ass Week-End

Teresa said...

Brings back some memories. It's been a long time since I ate in a diner. They're not generally vegetarian friendly.

Fireblossom said...

I'll have a cherry Coke.

Heather said...

I come from the land of diners! and i love the smell of greasy potatoes...and yes, it can remind me of lost loves...lost but never forgotten....

TALON said...

Lost love or not, I've got a huge hankering for a cheeseburger and some hand-cut fries :) Loved your 55, Brian.

Henry Clemmons said...

I don'tusually mind the pictures on the wall. But I loved your entry. I could smell the greasy spoon I enjoy and I'm in the mood for a burger. Works for me.

Alice Audrey said...

Actually, I count losing my appetite a good thing.

Tara Miller said...

we have visited some amazing diners over the years! This poem brought back many fun memories love! There is definitely comfort found in old diners and the fare they offer...and I agree with the others...old pictures are a must and a part of each diner's story.

Slamdunk said...

Stopped at a diner a few years ago in NC when the first kiddo was old enough and order a peanut butter milkshake. He still remembers.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...
What a great write...I like your lead..."It is not..." and your vivid description Of any diner in any town, in any city, in any..."diner wall pictures of common men and women
that once ate here, gone, in black & white
that glare your lost appetite."

lol
Thanks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

lori said...

Yeah, this seems like a great example of what Carys was talking about. We are instantly in the moment with you, and here I am still thinking about my own personal experiences mixed in with your words. That means job well done to me :)

KB said...

Great 55, Brian. Have a wonderful weekend.

Vicki Lane said...

It's fun to read the various reactions to your poem, Brian. Your words seem to take us where we want to go.

Katherine said...

I loved your 55 Brian... it evoked some great memories from my teens. I'm a rather old soul I think & for me the nostalgia on the walls would only add warmth to the diner & complement the dining experience. Nothing like a malted milk shake in those old stainless steel milkshake cups. mmmmmm

adeeyoyo said...

I adore greasy chips, yum! And there is nothing like smells to bring back memories associated with them. Sometimes make me choke up...

WINDOWLAD said...

..oh, i was carried away by my reading here that i didn’t notice it’s 55 for i feel a bit short and would like to have more at the end… i’m just not sure if it’s a positive or negative side for this piece… but i salute your mastery of this form.. for me 55 is a tough one to incorporate and i rather have taken more haikus in a sit than to have this form over my head.. hehe… thanks for your comment over at my pathetic lair! aww.. hehe!

~Kelvin

Zuzana said...

Deliciously sentimental with a hint of melancholy.;) A true film noir feel.;))
Have a lovely weekend dear Brian,
xoxo

Maxine said...

The past brought into the present, captured on the lense, transferred to the poem. But somehow, despite the myriad lenses, the image comes through crystal clear.

Lorraine said...

heavy, love the photo..I'm getting shivers, it remminds of my post today, there's n one around....;)

Dave King said...

Well done, I liked it a great deal, but then reading Claudia's comments I did find that it read more easily. Interesting stuff, this whole business of line breaks. Very individual at times.

Valerie said...

I like diners, wish we had some of that kind over here. Daniels comment really made me smile.

Drizel said...

I like it, even tell the story of time gone by:)

ethelmaepotter! said...

A melancholy post. For those of us old enough to remember the REAL THING. Our last surviving real thing in this area was Stratton's in Ashland City. It had been there since 1954, starting as an ice cream parlor, and it still had that original 50's vibe. The walls were absolutely crammed full of old records covers, fan magazines, autographed pictures of stars of long ago, old toys, model airplanes hanging from the ceiling...it was a treasure trove. Mr. Stratton himself would come around to every table and personally greet people.

Earlier this year, Mr. Stratton got an offer he couldn't refuse, and we now have a Walgreen's drugstore going up in its place.

The end of an era.

sigh.

sheila said...

Wow, how I do miss old diners. I remember as a kid taking the bus (for a dime and a penny, LOL!) to the mall and having lunch at the Kresgee's Counter. (not sure if I spelled that right). The sweet smell of grease and onion. *sigh*

Laurie Kolp said...

Brian- You had me right there sinking my teeth into one of those juicy burgers... YUM! I especially like:

diner wall pictures of common men and women
that once ate here, gone, in black & white

annell said...

I liked it! Never know where you will go! 55' captured well!

Madhulika said...

woooaaa... its really nice.. :)
however it tempted me a lil cause i live in a hostel and doesnt get good food most of the time :(

izzy said...

I eat in a train car diner almost every week! Nice one! The place I go has absolutely no frills; except copies of the local paper on the counter...

Janice said...

Great images here...I feel like I am sitting in that diner.

TechnoBabe said...

I like the tabletop connection to the jukebox in the old diners.

Akelamalu said...

We don't have diners like that here - shame.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Brian,

Amazing composition with just a few words. It is a long time since I had a burger and surely I will taste one at the next opportunity.

Best wishes,
Joseph

ModernMom said...

I know places like that:)

AngelMay said...

Hi Brian! Love that - brings back memories of diners and hamburgers and the reflective gleam of metal napkin holders - and maybe even a mini-jukebox on the table waiting for my nickel or quarter so it could belt out "Love is Strange" :)

tony said...

Not The Happy Eater Then? :)

Enchanted Oak said...

Once upon a time a starving miner
sated his hunger in the local diner
A waitress named Sally
caused him to dally
and he left there later with a shiner.

Pheromone Girl said...

I never got the diner thing. Guess I'm a food snob...

wolfsrosebud said...

Too bad you had to stop at 55...

Sue said...

I LOVE me a good diner.

=)

Whosyergurl said...

in my mind diners=late nights after concerts, slightly buzzed, downing grease, feeling woozy and boozy and sleepy and young.

Cheryl

*^_^* said...

Wonderful! Awesome!

Jannie Funster said...

You took me there. Now I so want a burger!!

xo

Kat_RN said...

Reminds me of the place we used to go with my Mom sometimes. It was called "Snappy Service".
Kat

Unknown Mami said...

Gives me appetite for diners I've known before.

hope said...

I can so smell those fries cooking!

beckykilsby said...

Love the narrative pull of this one Brian... all leading to a suitably resonant final line - using glare is wonderful here..

Poetic Soul said...

This reminds me of my favorite place Mac Frangos, I go there for their chips, they have this spicy thing they add that makes every bite heaven... Maybe I'll give 55 a try one day, probably next month because this month I'm unexpectedly busy.

william said...

what a tasty post mate, sounds like a great place to be...

secret agent woman said...

Can practically smell the potatoes.

flaubert said...

Very nostalgic, Brian. I like many could smell the potatoes.

Pamela

Fred said...

Brings back some memories, even made me look down at my hand, to the tiny, teeny white scar only I know is there, created from fryer grease, so many years ago. Metaphor is wonderfully used, again making use of every word, excellent write, thanks

Jyoti Mishra said...

post made me go down the memory lanes.. aptly described :)

maekitso said...

I love the feel of your words on my lips and the way they work together to make my tongue dance around. I admit that I didn't empathise with the loss of appetite that those diner wall pictures of common men and women might produce, but then I noticed they were black and white pictures. A suggestion of the speaker reminiscing over a lost youth?

Lydia said...

Places like that always make me envision scenes of days gone by. This poem describes the feeling to perfection.

Kodjo Deynoo. said...

Smart now you have made me hungry, thanks Brian..lol

butterfly2cocoon said...

You've painted the scene so well. I enjoyed it a lot. :)
deb

ECHT said...

don't constantly stare at me while I'm eating

barbara said...

Good portrait of the diner. (most of ours have color snaps now, or portfolio head shots of country wannabes, but it's still familiar)

If you're asking for critique: the final line, good as it is for a twist, is sudden ambiguity. The rest is in--not common speech--order. Whoever "your" refers to and (why )the loss of appetite are being glared by the pictures.
You give us the diner with such loving touches that "lost appetite" might need a context when you revise this outside a 55 context.

Magpie said...

Words painting pictures in my mind bringing back memories of days gone by.

Casey Freeland said...

This is great! I can't shake the idea that the past photos are pissed at the diner because he doesn't appreciate that he can still enjoy this place. I don't know if that was intended, but it's great at any rate.

Cheers,

Casey

Goofball said...

isn't it wonderful to wonder what the history of places is

Myrna R. said...

Melancholy mood. That's what this brought on. Nice.

Olivia said...

hmmmm!
Am fasting n the crisp potatoes isn't helping much.. :P

hugs xo