The Wreck of the 90’s Diner

The paint is peeling
The chairs decaying
The tables waiting
And yet still I can taste
The strawberry milkshake
And greasy burgers
That somehow were 
Definitively artificial
Hitting all the right 
Notes of berry and meat
And plastic tomato catsup
And bleached bone dry 
Margarine soaked wheat
Yet not tasting of those
Things at all, 
But the ghost
Of fruit and flesh and the
Bottle flies that land on
Yellow and red squeezable 
Containers, retaining
Only the brain-memory
Of what those things 
Should be, would be and
Were, back when
The paint was fresh
And the tables attended
And the chairs not fraying
And a man in a soiled
Apron working made
Burgers and milkshakes
Not franchised, nor
Hipsterized, not crafted
Nor factory-marketed
But simple syrup and
Fat, and the heat on 
His back, and converse
Sneakers propped up on 
Tables, and drug deals
And joints, and the
Drama of youth
And Cher playing
"If I could turn back time"
And the radio station jerks
With their soda fountain
Quirks, provided the 
Soundtrack to something
That felt like heaven
In E numbers and cheap
Burgers, and the small 
Pleasures of time running
Like water through the 
Fingers of other people's
Daughters. 

The chair in the corner
Back to the wall
A place someone 
Could wait for
Possibility to come 
Back again, 
Was carried away
And thrown onto
The dump truck
Of dreams.
Good riddance.
I never needed 
Them anyway
But those strawberry
Milkshakes that
Taste like someone
Trying to describe
Milk and Berry
Topped with
Fake cream and
A maraschino cherry
With charred floppy
Burgers in shades of 
Reckless abandon
Remain dirty and
Desirable
In the darkest 
Back alleys
Of my psyche.

5 Comments

      1. VJ

        Yes. We have one in our neighbourhood that has been in business forever and is still thriving. You’re welcome.

Leave a Reply