Tuesday, July 10, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Sundays in the wild

street art

The night shift lady at the gas station
retires in 10 days
& tonight, on the linoleum, I ask
what she looks forward to---

 “Coffee.

Sitting with my coffee.
I might sit all day
with my coffee.”

Sounds like a good life.

The cash drawer juts
out the base of the register.
She fishes my change.

“See you around Frank”

“See you later Delores,”
it’s what her name tag has said
the five years I have been
coming here.

Hell,
I don’t care
she doesn’t know my name---
not here to make a name
for myself, I am

 Just picking up a bottle
of wine for my wife
& a Sunday paper

Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next.

The bells on the door jangle
as I exit.

 I hope she enjoys that coffee.

I take mine strong & black,
just like her.
Just like my wife.

Over at dVerse Poets, it is OpenLinkNight ~ Week 52....hard to believe we been doing this a year...so go write and come join us...and Monday, we kick off our anniversary week. Gonna be fun. But right now, we got some poetry to get on and our lovely host Natasha Head will be opening the doors at 3 pm EST.

130 comments:

Heaven said...

I don't drink coffee but you pictured the scene clearly ~ And that street art image is eye-catching ~

Can't believe its going to be almost one year ~

Happy day to you ~

kaykuala said...

We stop over, make friends, talk a little and off on our way. Your coffee stop may allow more time though but doesn't matter if she doesn't know your name. Great write, Brian!

Hank

manicddaily said...

First, congrats for the year. Then, smell that coffee! Or roses! Or whatever one is supposed to stop and take the time to sniff. You always do and share with us too. K.

the walking man said...

Pumping quarters into life's juke box...GREAT line.

I hope that Delores makes her ten days and isnot one of those unfortunates that gets to be a target just hours before they finally get to pack up their tools for the last time, walk ou tthe door to days that she decides the direction of.

Just a little cream brother to mellow out the toughness of the bean.

Lorraine said...

Love this preciousness of every day life and coffee ;)

Mary said...

Ah, Brian...this is one of my favorites of your recents. Loved the way you described this scene, the woman about to retire, and both of your loves of 'coffee.' I'm one who could drink coffee all day as well..sitting here right now with mine 'strong and black.'

Mrsupole said...

Just learning to like coffee, but you do make it interesting. And I am so glad you love your wife that way. Both of you are very blessed along with the boys.

God bless.

G-Man said...

Double Cream...
We all have to be known as something.
Whats in a name anyway?

Daniel said...

Nice job Frank! Love how you celebrate everything you take in.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Wait a minute, Frank. They sell decent wine at the gas station?

DJan said...

Oooh, nice job here. I like my coffee strong and blond, just like me. Oh, I guess it's gray now, isn't it? :-)

Susan said...

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."

Sunday, Sunday! Retirement, day of rest, black coffee earned and served and worthy.

I love how you are creating gallery of encounters among the nameless (to us) without actually moving in to get closer. There are too many! Better to see, to witness, and to report. We are not alone in this world.

izzy said...

Another oustanding piece Brian- I love : I'm not here to make a name for myself- and- how the mind drifts to his wife after coffee, on the way out!!
When you are ON you are beautifully
clear- & 'people can take what they need and leave the rest'!

Dave King said...

Happy anniversary!

I thought this inspired:-

Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next.

Great stuff!

Pat Hatt said...

Sitting there with is all day
Might make it cold and blah at your bay
But could warm it up
And also just take it strong and black in my cup

Lisa Golden said...

This is fantastic. A sketch of daily interaction as art. I love it.

Myrna R. said...

I suspect Delores will do more than drink coffee. Hope so.

Funny how we all put those quarters in life's jukebox differently.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Happy Anniversary to OpenLinkNight!

What you do NOT mention, Brian, is that Frank will miss Delores. He does not really care about her nor she about him but she is a constant in his life and he will miss her.

Drinking coffee all day DOES sound like a good life to me.

Laurie Kolp said...

I love my daily coffee, too... with vanilla cream, though.

ayala said...

Sometimes that's all we need is to sit with our coffee...some rush through life because they have no choice and sitting with their coffee is a luxury. Nice capture, Brian :)

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Great small moment of life captured perfectly. Very well done. Yes, just sitting with a cuppa coffee sounds just fine by me.

Wander said...

Yes they do...there are fine selections of wonderful wines such as Mad dog20/20, Sisco, and the ever filling Wild Irish Rose, yum! If your tastes are even more discerning they may have the rare vintage known as Night Train; a rare treat to be sure, but as Bacchus always says, imbibe responsibly. ;-)

Brian Miller said...

wander you are turning my stomach at the memories...

actually this station is the only place in town you can get the particular reisling my wife is fond of...

and agree as well on responsibly...

Louise said...

Wow...it's been a year already! And another thoughtful poem from you...I like the idea of sitting around drinking coffee...when I was off work a while (long story) I did the same (with tea) Just great to unwind...bet she'll miss the faces though :)

She Writes Here Now said...

You know, Frank, coffee with cream is better :)!

Claudia said...

after years and years of nightshift i'm happy for her that she soon just can sit and enjoy her coffee.. what i liked most here is the part with not making a name for yourself.. just pumping quarters down life's throat..and hear what song plays next.. there's much non-expectation, willingness to serve and take things as they come in this.. i still have to learn this...

Daydreamertoo said...

LOL...Loved it!
I like my coffee too. She sounds like a great character and, I hope she gets to enjoy many, many coffees, Frank ;)
Reminds me of years ago when I'd repeatedly called a bus driver Len, and met him years later and heard someone call him Ted. LOL I said, 'Always thought your name was Len, why didn't you tell me it wasn't? He said "Didn't matter to me what you called me, I didn't mind.' LOL

Alice Audrey said...

You have such a wait of painting the scene with your words. I love this.

JANU said...

So much for coffee? I would do the same for tea. Nice one.

happygirl said...

Yep, good coffee can make a day GREAT. Wonderful word picture today. Enjoy the wine. :)

truck finance said...

I'm a coffee-o-holic. This poem touches home. I can almost imagine the scenes vividly. Your truly the best.

Stephanie said...

Amazing the realtionships we can build as we go about our busy days:)

Jamie Dedes said...

Brian, enjoyed the story here and the layers of implication. Nicely done.

A leisurely morning coffee is indeed one of the great joys of retirement - one of the songs that comes up on the juke box - listing to the birds sing and to the poetry of the wind and my neighbor's windchime.

Poem on ...

turtlememoir said...

love this slice of life (could be mine, could be anybody's)
& i sometimes get this awesome feeling about life, that it really does come down to

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."

& in a big way, that's what keeps me in it

Grand Pooba said...

Ok, ok I'm now craving coffee!

Eva Gallant said...

I, too, love:
Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next.

Nice piece of writing!

chris said...

Great! I can certainly identify with wanting to just sit with my coffee, with no time restraints. Fun ending. Everyone takes their coffee black...I do sometimes. :)

Andrew Kreider said...

Great writing, Frank. Love the simplicity of pushing quarters down the throat of life's jukebox - the quick fixes we use to fill our days. Beautifully caught, as always.

Orange UaPoet said...

ah, the people in retail we interact with...always pleased when they get their moment in poetry. Well done.

Margaret said...

a BIG splash of Bailey's Irish Cream always helps strong coffee. What a wonderful, "everyday" poem this is. Inspiration holds your hand all day! :)

Vernon Wildy, Jr. said...

Like how you captured the simplicity of it all. A single moment of two people not wanting much and being totally satisfied with it.

Anna Montgomery said...

Love that jukebox metaphor! Thank you for all you've done to bring us a year of poetry community. Y'all are visionaries - the world needs you and we poets need you!

Lolamouse said...

I love those little interactions with people that happen in mundane places. I've gotten to know some really interesting folks that way.

hedgewitch said...

I once got that same exact answer from a man I worked with who was retiring--and now that I am, I do very much relish that morning coffee that doesn't have to be made the night before, drunk in ten minutes while trying to get dressed before rushing out the door. Happy Birfday to Us, Boss.

Slamdunk said...

I always thought that not drinking coffee or smoking has probably resulted in me missing lots of quality opportunities for social interaction. Hmmm.

jen revved said...

Hi Brian-- I've been running behind all summer, but this is such an accessible poem-- that is the appeal of much of your work-- you don't hide what you mean; you're a what you see is what you get guy-- thanks for all you do for the value of poetry-- to inspire, move, us, teach us, heal us. xxxj

Beth Winter said...

'Not herre to make a name for myself. ( am'

Love that line. It sepaks of being comfortable with self. I love narrative poetry and truely hope Delores enjoys coffee all day long. Wonderdul work,

Joan Barrett Roberts said...

Excellent write - love my cup of joe too and then there is nothing like a place where they know your name! CHEERS -- however, in real life experienced we "don't need to know your name". . .really it's OK not to be a name, just by being comfortable to share with others -- this is more important- connecting! Sharing the day, a moment, a cup of coffee, a look, smile or a caught hand wave. Images here are great.

aprille said...

small-town cosyness in a large city?
Liked the ambience of that mini scene in your life.

Kimolisa said...

I love how you painted the scene and that she just wanted to drink coffee. This poem is just perfect.

jackie dick said...

Two ships passing in the night, yet touching one another's humanity with a simple please...coffee...and a vast change in her life mad human, palpable. I dunno how you do it Brian...but you do have this incredible talent for capturing simple human moments and making them huge and meaningful. Love this!

jackie dick said...

Two ships passing in the night, yet touching one another's humanity with a simple please...coffee...and a vast change in her life mad human, palpable. I dunno how you do it Brian...but you do have this incredible talent for capturing simple human moments and making them huge and meaningful. Love this!

Mama Zen said...

This is so vivid! I can hear the bell on the door.

K McGee said...

Love mine french vanilla! Smooth, sweet and like desert. Of course I'll do anything to cover the decaf, maybe even with a shot of something stronger.

I love this reflection on the everyday people we meet and how they can often become a part of their life without us even knowing. Funny how we don't always understand this until they are gone.

Zach Payne said...

I love this, Brian. So very vivid, and humming with life, that complex spark that is sometimes so hard to find, even in writing. One of my favorites! :)

Uneven Stephen said...

I love my coffee black, too. Fantastic poem, Brian! This is quite the gem:

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."

It must be so bittersweet to retire after working for a whole lifetime. I really enjoyed reading this one.

Tara Miller said...

there is peace in you piece today. Delores always seems joyful when she's working and talking with people. I'm sure she'll be missed but will enjoy her coffee!

Happy Anniversary for D'verse my love! You and the team of d'verse have sparked a fire and passion in the poetry community that won't soon burn out. Proud of you!!!

Suz said...

I agree with everyone else...great writing....vivid

libithina said...

Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next.' - cracking line this - she sounds like she'll be missed - you breezed through this, buying your paper and wine but then that touch that lifts this simple encounter into something so much more - an in sight into this ladies life - that momentary share and there we have it - life - wishing oodles of
coffee days ahead - hope things have settled a little your end Brian - still lashing down here -
can't believe it;s been 12 months - 12 mnths of friendship and wonderful community - Happy Anniversary - hugs Lib

Heather Grace Stewart said...

Love the jukebox metaphor, loved the dialogue in this one. Excellent visuals!

colleen said...

Especially like the stanza about the juke box. I understand her sentiment, only for me it is tea. I could linger and see what I find myself doing next. Maybe a second cup.

vivinfrance said...

I don't drink coffee either, but I wish Dolores a happy time doing whatever it is that turns her on, whenever she wants, instead of having to listen for that jingling doorbell and watch the pumps.

Annmarie Pipa said...

I bet you will miss her a little.

Ginny Brannan said...

Another moment in the life of Brian...I love how you capture these. Sometimes its the ones that land on our peripheral vision that we remember the most. Well done, Brian.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Love this creative spin on an ordinary situation! Knowing but knowing! Life has so many badges defying any real identity!

Wolfsrosebud said...

... and happy anniversary along with the coffee... thanks Brian and crew... you've brought a society of peeps together to share the thing they all love...SMILES

Matt said...

This was sehr, sehr groovy, brother- loved it- just captured those moments we all experience perfectly. My favorite line:
"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."
Peace.

amyjosprague said...

Loved this Brian. It felt like I was right there, picturing that small town 7/11 with the old yellow curtains. Loved it!

Arron Shilling said...

a wicked chunk of cool brian... i was nodding all the way thru reading this like a nodding dog high on jazz and caffeine... and then the jukebox and the kicker ending made this a sweet read - almost as sweet as it was to write id imagine...

great work bro

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Pumping quarters down the throat of life's jukebox... I just love that and the whole package here Brian, one of my favourites of yours.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

I like that, I don't know why but it felt like an Tennessee Williams write or something classic to watch or read.
Also, glad i had this serendipitous time to spend with ya"ll, as I had the day off and things are a bit better. Congrats

Timoteo said...

Pumping quarters down the throat of life's jukebox...hey, just don't play that damned B17!

^.^ said...

... life goes on ... until it does not ... enjoy these little encounters with people ... who knows, might make their day ... and yours ...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I like that. Moments come n go n sometimes we remember those that didn't last very long. Sweet Brian .
Gardenlile

otin said...

I like mine with cream and two sugars!

flipside records said...

Okay, am I the only one who reads this as Frank and Delores getting it on (on the linoleum floor)? "Pumping quarters down the throat of the jukebox?" "I like it black, just like her, just like my wife?"

I really feel like this guy has a regular thing going with Miss D, but he doesn't give a flip about her name, nor about "making a name for himself" with her. He's just "getting his coffee."

Please tell me I'm reading this right, Brian. :) It all looks pretty obvious to me.

~Shawna

marousia said...

Again this is a wonderfully vivid portrait - you have a real gift for biographical poetry

Laura said...

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next." brilliant!!!

Brian Miller said...

well i will give you this shawna...you pretty much made me spit out my coffee at the thought....nah, delores is not my type...nice lady and all but i am pretty well taken care of in that department...lol...err

Chazinator said...

I do know that some people take it easy after retirement. I mean some might ask what this woman has done with her life, that it's sad, she's to be pitied. But who are we to judge, how? I love the idea of spending the time in front of a cup of coffee. Time to think, reflect, and maybe pray about what's been going on. Indeed, spending time in front of a cup of coffee suggests to me that she's worked her arse off and just wants some rest. People deserve that, don't they? Your poem is really great in that it brings these things to the surface from where they often sit beneath.

adan said...

coffee and retirement, mmmmm, i've had a taste, and hopefully, be my present for the holidays ;-) you might just as well been talking to me behind the counter ;-)

the raw empathy is simply captivating, nice write brian!

Steve E said...

Brian, I believe your 'inspiration' happens from the moment your feet hit the floor--maybe earlier.

The wordsmithing is your own, but building a story from the point of view of a growing weed--or an 11PM to 7AM convenience store clerk before retirement is that special God-Gift you possess. And you SHARE it with us...then the miracles occur.

Blessings.
PEACE!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

A great little slice of life show here, Brian. Beautifully done, as always!

mrs mediocrity said...

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."

That is a fabulous stanza...

I love the way I can see the whole scene, love that she tells you she will just sit with her coffee. I hope that's what she does, at least for awhile, and enjoys those days.

Gloria said...

Nice Brian ! I love strong coffe too:)

wood said...

you always have an eye for the unusual, and you seem to find something everyday, you write a lot of poems. i don't know how you manage to do that, but im glad that you do. i read them and wish i had time to comment on them all. great stuff here. just sit with her coffee, i think she's got the right idea.

Evelyn Adams said...

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."
f*ck yea.
something about this makes me feel like Im choking on the quarters.
real strong.

flipside records said...

I was talking about Frank, not Brian! I did not ever think it was you.

Tara, I didn't think it was him. :)

~Shawna

Raven said...

Have I asked you if you know of the poet C.K. Williams? I think that you would like him.

PattiKen said...

Well, as good as this was, Brian, i think you've been one-upped by the comments. Now there is a story!

Beachanny said...

It's your heaven that is in the details. Fine work here and in your ever observant and clearly present voice. The world of the minute adds up to a metaphor for life on the planet. So exceptionally explored in all your work!

Cindee Snider Re said...

Brian, these words caught in my throat. I don't know why. But they've stuck with me, playing at the edges of thought for awhile: "Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear what song plays next."

Interesting emotion -- throaty, gravelly, trying to play it cool, but touched somewhere down deep.

You never fail to take me where I didn't expect to go and leave me thinking.

Barbara Shallue said...

What a great voice - and you put me right there!

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Quarters down the throat of life's juke box, yeah, I hear you. I get that lady's desire to simply sit and be with her coffee... Thanks, Brian, and congrats on your first year of one of the most popular prompt sites I've seen! Peace, Amy

Aidz Giannini said...

Love these types of writes, so one word .... kewl

Archna Sharma said...

This makes me sad. In this simple pleasure. It's a little piece and it is really human. I hope she enjoys it too. I like that you connected her to yourself and to your wife. As we all move along, accepting what plays next.

dreamersteve99 said...

Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next. Now Brian..that is a Poet my friend..and I am for one proud to know you..stevet

Polly said...

'Pumping quarters down the throat / of life’s juke box, just to hear / what song plays next.'

Fantastic

Gerry Snape said...

I'm right inside that scenario!...will read it again...I like the simplicity of the words and yet what a story behind all of that.The kiosk woman taking time to reflect on her life and the picture of the mug of coffee symbolizing all of this...oh I feel quite jealous of her! Brilliant as usual.

Valerie said...

Wow I thought I'd never reach the comment box.

Love this description of daily encounters and the way you make it personal. I miss the lady who served lunch at a regular haunt, no explanation why she wasn't there, and nobody knew. That's life, I guess.

SueAnn Lommler said...

My dream was to lay on the couch on Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and watch cartoons with my son. Ahhh! That was my dream then.
Glad she will get to enjoy that cup of coffee!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE
"Pumpin quarters down the throat of life's juke box just to hear what song plays next"

beautiful!

Rachel Hoyt said...

I love my coffee... drinking some now, getting readt to "[Pump some] quarters down the throat of life's juke box just to hear what song plays next". Brilliant line! :)

Grandmother said...

Tell her about the Italian way- caffé coretto- with a lille splash of grappa! I like this slice of life that you've opened up and that many would ignore only to miss Delores.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Excellent observation of lifes little interactions...

... all little bits that are the stuff of our lives.

Anna :o]

joanna said...

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next...."

--niiice. :)

vividly drawn scene & commentary, as ever, brian.

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

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next..."


Hi! Brian...
I like when you share just a "human" moment/or moments in your life. [Through your poetry...]
Because that moment can happen to anyone, at anytime, and in any town.

Tks, for sharing the image too and I love to drink tea!
deedee ;-D

Poet Laundry said...

Love these moments of interaction with the everyday people we know, but don't...good retelling...

Dana Dampier said...

You have a gift of documenting everyday life through poetry! It's so refreshing.

Thanks for the kind words on my post.

Natasha Head said...

I think this might well be one of my favorite slice's of life you've presented us...mind you, I am presently battling the urge to call it a day just so I can get drunk on poetry...alas, the real world has me chained...coffee run! :)

flaubert said...

Nice slice of life poem, Brian. Some excellent phrasing here.

Pamela

Debbie Dawnslight said...

hmmm... the smell of good coffee... small talk, a glimpse into the everyday, not making a name for yourself... :)

Magpie said...

Congratulations on the anniversary.
Glad you had some rain and a break from all the heat too.
"See you around, Frank." :)

Pauline said...

"Pumping quarters down the throat
of life’s juke box, just to hear
what song plays next."

You are just too cool.

Semaphore said...

Every poem you write proves that there is poetry in every slice of what we think of as ordinary life, in cash registers jutting out their jaw, in cups of strong, black coffee. With sugar. Three teaspoons, please.

Divya said...

Nice and sweet and yes I would love to have my coffee too ,all day along with my pen :)
Nice metaphor of juke box and good details :)

Divya said...

Nice and sweet and yes I would love to have my coffee too ,all day along with my pen :)
Nice metaphor of juke box and good details :)

DQPoetry said...

haha I enjoyed that Brian, esp. when she called you Frank and I was thinking 'hang on, I'm sure I know his name as Brian' (a funny thought considering I have only 'met' you digitally, but still feels like I know you to some extent)

and fun piece, and read well

DQPoetry said...

I'm a cappuccino man by the way, I love eating the froth off the top, as long as the coffee underneath is also good!

Chris Lawrence said...

So visual that you get swept along the whole feel is complete yet you have a sense of other stories which is great as you become engaged

ZielonaMila said...

Fantastic post, super illustrations, I like the coffee. I am greeting

poetjanstie said...

That's a great poem, Brian, and one which tells a story of everyday life that we'd all miss if we didn't get a memorable reminder every now and then, like what you've done with this poem.

And, by the by, I liken this kind of relationship almost with the many 'acquaintances' and 'friends' we have online. We don't really 'know' each other, but we would pull for each other if human need arose. I guess, if Dolores went missing one day, Frank would probably ask after her. And when she came back, he'd be delighted to see her again and the 'acquaintance' would move a little closer to friendship.

lucychili said...

we are all ephemeral landmarks
points on the curve

kolembo said...

Reads like a movie! I'm in some celluloid image of small town somethingness where no-one sees me but I see everyone knowing everyone else. Like 'Lars and the Real Girl'. Enjoyed.

Goofball said...

funny but what stands out most to me is that you go to a gas station to buy a bottle of wine...intriguing

Sue said...

Painting a scene is your specialty. And layers of meaning, of course.

Loved it.

=)

RMP said...

I, myself, am more partial to tea...but the idea of actually having the time to leisurely drink it before it gets cold. As it is, I'm still drinking my cup from this morning.

really enjoyed the read.

poeticlicensee said...

Strong & black, a coffee purist; my kind of coffee drinker; nice write,
as always...

poeticlicensee said...

Strong & black, a coffee purist; my kind of coffee drinker; nice write,
as always...

Syd said...

Hope that she has a good life. Maybe she will find a passion that lights up her life. If coffee is it, then so be it. But there are many other delights as well.