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Poems - Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House

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Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House

by JPerry1980

Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House

16 June 2011

There are many places her memory reigns,
but this just ain't one of those places.
And tonight, the Waffle House welcomes me home.
From the jukebox, Mickey Gilley gives his pride.

Edith, my elderly grunting waitress,
she wipes sleep from her eyes as she pours me a cup.
The JFG coffee steams upward in dazzling smoke.
Outside the thunderstorm rips across the Smokies,
the lightning lights up all of sleeping Pigeon Forge.

And sometimes her memory floods my mind,
but for now, at least tonight, I'll settle for a fifth cup.
The coffee is salvation amongst the sunny side up eggs,
country ham, chili, chicken noodle soup,
and hash browns made ten ways to eternity.
No, I'll push her out of my memories,
and if my pushing is pushed too far,
the music from the juke will give me serenity.

The scents from the frying skillet protect me,
usher in a childhood memory from granny's kitchen,
a Sunday morning with me all dressed up for church,
as her wrinkled hands worked the buttered frying pan.
And in the comfort of this Waffle House,
I can almost become like a child again.
A trick of the Divine on my wondering mind,
Gilley's vocals give way to Porter Wagoner,
singing about the green, green grass of home.

A handful of all male truckers, insomniacs, and fellow drunks,
they all conjoin together to make this a home with me.
We're gathered like a David Mamet tragedy,
though I reckon I've got at least a fighting chance,
to escape her talons ripping through my head,
as the coffee tries to wash her scent, her laughter,
and her oh so many lies away from me.
But it's the laughter she shared which gives the hardest time.
The twelve pack of Pabst had earlier tonight,
well, it helps lose her focus from time to time,
while the fellow drunks wallow in their own back-wash.

Porter's rhinestone-blues vacate the juke,
and I'm brutally assaulted by the horror of Ke$ha now,
turning my head while cussing like mad hell under my breath,
"The hell is this god-awful shit!" my head roars,
a twentyish Kappa Gamma sweater-wearing girl,
stands by the juke with a roll of quarters as if she owns it.
Oh hell no! I stare at her wishing her painful death,
when she sees my penetrating glare in her eyes.
All the angry truckers grunt in gracious approval,
as she slowly backs away from the juke,
and takes up walking across the storm-battered street,
on towards the welcoming IHOP restaurant across the way.

With relief beyond measure,
we all breath again in peace as Moe Bandy,
now strums along on a guitar in our grateful company.
A 3 a.m. Waffle House, it's 'like totally' not a home for a sorority girl.
Edith stares out at the storm wiping grease on her apron,
and turns a look into my reflective direction.
"Ain't too many ol' folks comin' in here now,
not with that state-o'-the-art IHOP 'cross the street!"
And, indeed, the lights of the nearby IHOP sign are like electric sex,
penetrating all to come on inward with full-force.

I haunch my shoulders in a 'meh' gesture,
and a knowing but pained expression crosses Edith's face,
"I do declare, some folks still belong here with us old rednecks,
after all, there 'oughta be a place for all in this world.
Guess we'll still be here for a few years yet," prophesizes Edith.
She pours my sixth cup of coffee and I say nothing in turn.

I'd light up a smoke if I could,
but Tennessee has seen fit to end that even here,
these weary and thoughtful patrons and travelers with me.
Bandy's brogue gives way to the gentle giant Don Williams,
the juke like an alter to all our collective late night concerns.

The storm roars outside and shatters my mindful reverie,
trying to escape the thoughts of my ex and yet thinking only of her.
She'll still be here in my mind in the morn I realize,
waking up with a hang-over in my single-sleeping queen-sized bed.
though getting away from home to find my home here,
has proven to at least comfort me some.

In this quiet and reverent temple to holy time,
great yellow-signed Waffle House a shelter from many storms,
I await with a handful of silent others in communal worship,
waiting for the storm to part, for a sign of tomorrow,
and for the sun to come rising up over the Great Smokies,
to bring us all some light again with the coming tomorrow.

j.p.





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Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
by Ozymandias on Saturday, June 18, 2011 (04:00:40)
I really like the vivid and concrete images throughout this poem! The informal, colloquial language and the mixture of familiar homeliness with sadness. Just like life. Fine work, Jason.

| Parent
    Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
    by JPerry1980 on Saturday, June 18, 2011 (10:49:34)
    Hey Rory, thank you as always for taking the time to read one of my ditties. It's always a pleasure to hear your thoughts. This one is a spot-on memory from when I had just broken up with my ex-fiancee a few years back and spent many insomnia sleep-deprived nights in a local Waffle House to ease my mind. Edith is still there - says "Howdy!" to me and always takes care of me whenever I go in to visit. Things are far better now, but the pain of recalling those rough nights after it all fell apart in the glow of a Waffle House pre-dawn are very much still alive in me. Hope you are well, my friend.

    j.p.

    | Parent
      Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
      by Ozymandias on Saturday, June 18, 2011 (19:14:43)
      Actually I don't know exactly what a Waffle House is, we don't have them here in Oz, but I am presuming it is some kind of all-night diner.

      | Parent
        Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
        by JPerry1980 on Saturday, June 18, 2011 (20:37:26)
        Hey Rory, yes, Waffle House is a southern chain of 24 hour diners that are spread throughout the eastern half of the U.S. It was my mistake in not making this more apparent in the work, I sometimes forget not everyone is as aware of Tennessean things throughout all the world!

        Info on Waffle House:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waffle_House

        j.p.

        | Parent

Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
by Ilan on Sunday, June 19, 2011 (00:04:22)
A vignette to get lost in, life in waffle house
who would've thought yet for a skilled writer
it's a portrait of life you've painted for
the reader. Now I'm smelling waffles and
life and jperry I wish I was in the waffle
house with you having a yarn.

Good one mate

Kind rgs
Ilan

| Parent
    Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
    by JPerry1980 on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 (08:58:52)
    Ilan, I'm crazy (as I'm often told) so I enjoy to go into strange places with some of my work. The Waffle House for me was actually a step back to home. You're welcome to come join me in the Waffle House at any time, I'll have Edith and the cook (a great big balding giant) fix up something extra special for you and I can guarantee you'll never forget the experience.

    Now I'm wanting waffles for breakfast. Hope you are well, my friend.

    j.p.

    | Parent
      Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
      by Ilan on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 (09:09:27)
      Without waffling too much the barometer
      Of my wellness is in my poetry, you be the
      judge, but I warn you you'd have to
      read me daily to know me and no one
      reads me daily ah such is life for a silly
      old poet such as me talking to myself
      I like your style jperry, really if I could
      meet you in a waffle house I would
      trouble is I'm stuck on this island called
      Australia with an ex wife and a kid whose
      name is Genna on this site if you ever read
      her she's turning 8 Tomorrw!

      | Parent

Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
by Tamara on Sunday, June 19, 2011 (15:00:53)
Well-written prose poem. Enjoyable.

In this quiet and reverent temple to holy time,
great yellow-signed Waffle House a shelter from many storms,
I await with a handful of silent others in communal worship,
waiting for the storm to part, for a sign of tomorrow,
and for the sun to come rising up over the Great Smokies,
to bring us all some light again with the coming tomorrow.


***Sounds just like Tennessee. We have our share of Waffle Houses here too.

Best,

Tamara

| Parent
    Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
    by JPerry1980 on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 (09:48:31)
    Hi Tamara:

    As being a native Tennessean I can't properly write about my culture around here without from time to time throwing in a Waffle House! I appreciate your taking the time to come by and read and comment. I need to check out some of your work. I hope you have a great day.

    j.p.

    | Parent

Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
by electrictiger on Sunday, June 19, 2011 (15:20:03)
The verse captures well the dreamlike nature of memory, loss, and being in a waffle house at 2:45. I can relate easily to all of them. The tone evokes grief without succumbing to mawkishness; very nicely done.

| Parent
    Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
    by JPerry1980 on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 (09:50:38)
    Hi Christopher:

    I appreciate your coming by to read and comment. Next time you're around town you're welcome to join me for a late night excursion to the great yellow-signed Waffle House for some coffee and conversation. I appreciate your feedback.

    j.p.

    | Parent
      Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
      by ken2shoes on Thursday, June 23, 2011 (22:46:13)
      I have been to the Waffle House in Dayton, Ohio many times. You have really captured the feel of that kind of place - and woven in a tale of sadness masterfully. nice job.

      | Parent

Re: Life, Loss, and a 2:45 AM Waffle House (Score: 1 )
by omegapaf on Thursday, July 14, 2011 (08:30:04)
you paint a very vivid picture of a few minutes in time here j.p.
i tried to do something similar in my poem " bus passengers ", but i think you did a better job here.....i think the only places you are allowed to smoke in england now, are under a blanket in your own home....or on a boat five miles off the coast, while being escorted by the coastguard with a machine gun trained on you to make sure you don't throw your cigarette in the water ha ha - paul.

| Parent


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