Sunday, May 17, 2015

The need for proper punctuation

I rarely forget a face, but I lose context,
the further the divergence
of our stories

We're at a rib joint,
the kind with smokers in the back
around the clock,
          full of meat
                ready to drip off the bone,

ten minutes into twenty,
waiting on a four-top & thirty more
people have pushed into the small space, to where
moving, below the neck,
            is nearly impossible---

but we admire one another like Picasso's
Girl Before A Mirror,
                                  & recognizing

each other from somewhere,
he's with his wife & daughter --- she's a dancer,
dark skinned, his wife humble, but happy

He's a house, a foot taller & six inches wider,
older --- turning pages is useless,
I need an index,
                        more than a menu,
with all the pictures of glistening meat,
& the cost---
                we smile//
                              shrug to our wives
& mouth words, turned just enough away
they can't be read
                   until the roiling mass of humanity moves
spitting us out,
                    each in our own direction
to move on, beyond this brief punctuation
we may understand
                 a bit later,
                          in another chapter.


  1. What a place.. I have difficulties with those places just having meat, and especially around rolling mass of humanity. It is indeed punctuation, however brief, those acquaintances.. But I hope you got a nice dinner anyway.

  2. In New York, one becomes familiar with this feeling, though you have expressed it in a unique way! I like the way that everything is really an object of sorts--and not--a person too--but it is what crowding does to us. The man who is the house especially striking. Thanks. k.

  3. Those crowded places can make us feel small and I often feel the need to breathe. I like open spaces where I can think, I guess we all leave our mark no matter where the journey takes us.

  4. such detail, all while waiting in line. wonderful write! (now i'm hungry for ribs.)

  5. The details you included were riveting. I truly hate being crammed into a small space waiting for a table. But it sure is a good place for people watching. And great when the people watching turns to poetry!

  6. You have such a gift for conveying the heaviness and heartache of life in your descriptions of ... well, anything. This left me feeling very sad and weighted.

  7. Wonderful, though you are relatively new on blogosphere but I can see your waves rising high. Best wishes.

  8. great details and atmosphere in this poem. good stuff! :)

  9. great details and atmosphere in this poem. good stuff! :)

  10. Understanding the story of the crowd is immensely aided by the use of individual punctuation, I agree. Because each comma, each semi-colon sets a phrase apart to see in detail.Here the sense of different lives, the analogy to the mortality of our collective meat dripping off the bone, to be savored as the rich meal it is--it all rolls up into a tight and clarifying piece of writing.

  11. Much like your blog title, this has "ellipsis" written all over it.

    The first two stanzas and the Picasso stanza are my favorites.

  12. As a side note I had ribs for lunch today!

    So many great lines in this

    people have pushed into the small space, to where
    moving, below the neck,
    is nearly impossible-

    The whole closing, it is just brilliant. Punctuation what a spectacular way of looking at it


  13. punctuation is all about knowing when to pause, isn't it?

  14. I hate crowded eating places, the sweat and smells... Not sure I would have waited, lol. And the people acting as if they haven't seen food for days/months/years.

  15. I think it's due to the lack of proper punctuation that the world's population is becoming so 'large'. Btw, thanks for the clue!