"Will you shut up, man?"

by Poet on the Piano   Sep 30, 2020

You didn't read the forecast today,
didn't plan on the heavy raindrops
pooling in your shoes, yet it's
somehow fitting. The world
continues to weep, with no end
anywhere near. People are dying,
and no one bats an eye.

The jukebox is too lively for
such a dreary year, inspiring the
feet of truckers to sway and find
a rhythm. The diner is your safe
haven now, and you gladly accept
the invitation of warmth in a
laughably large mug of coffee, if only
to delude the ache that comes with
acknowledging pain.

You're sitting at a booth while
the TV is muted, watching the
faces on the screen stir and
shake, fear brewing on their
pores. You lean back, sip, and
notice the colors of the diner
scream at you. They want to
be heard, the lonely footprints
nobody has mopped up, the
tiny rainbow flag almost shredded
in a corner, the words "Make
America Great Again" written
on the community board.
You shift uncomfortably, head
down, and make a beeline for
the bathroom. Obscenities dirty
the walls, slurs and stereotypes
ruining the foundation, and you
can't help the shudder in your
bones. You don't dry your hands;
it doesn't sit right to touch
anything else here.

You take your time returning to
the vinyl booth and acidic, now
cold, coffee. You try to drown
out the buzz of police scanners
and rustling newspapers when
you hear "will you shut up, man?"
from your left, and see a woman in
overalls give a look of disgust at two
men at the counter, elbows deep in
confrontation and crumbs, debating
the role of immigrants, as if they
are disposable items, scraps of fabric
too torn to be deemed worthy.

The man who was the most vocal
looks startled, then gives the woman
a middle finger. She returns the
gesture and you smile at her before
she exits the diner, meeting eyes that
are tired of having to do this, and as
she walks out in the rain without
hesitation, you wonder why
America never learns,

but maybe, it's always been like this,
and people are too content with
ignorance to switch it out for truth,

because that would require

and most people can't shed the
selfishness of their skin for
an ounce of humility

(and humanity).


written while listening to "Gymnopedie No.1" by Erik Satie


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Latest Comments

  • 2 years ago

    by (Linda)

    I love this so much. I came here hoping you had written something and was not disappointed <3 Thank you for so carefully crafting the sentiment and normalcy of the diner with the psychological complexity of everything around us. It’s a clear focused picture meant to be read with a cup of coffee in your hand and Zombie by the Cranberries blasting. Nominated. What a historical piece to look back on.

  • 2 years ago

    by Maple Tree

    I can't tell you or express how much I love this!!!

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