Saturday, January 22, 2011

All About Waitresses

A few days ago The Writer’s Almanac included a poem by Elliot Fried. It’s one that impressed me, and right from the gate, here it is.


Daily I fall in love with waitresses
with their white bouncing name tags
and white rubber shoes.
I love how they bend over tables
pouring coffee.
Their perky breasts hover above potatoes
like jets coming in to
hang above the suburbs—
shards of broken stars.
I feel their fingers
roughened by cube steaks softened with grease
slide over me.
Their hands and lean long bodies
keep moving so…
fumbling and clattering so harmoniously
that I am left overwhelmed, quivering.
Daily I fall in love with waitresses
with their cream-cheese cool.
They tell secrets in the kitchen
and I want them.
I know them.
They press buttons creases burgers buns—
their legs are menu smooth.

They have boyfriends or husbands or children
or all.
They are french dressing worldly—
they know how ice cubes clink.
Their chipped teeth form chipped beef
and muffin syllabics.
Daily I fall in love with waitresses.
They are Thousand Island dreams
but they never stand still long enough
as they serve serve serve.

Elliot Fried was an unfamiliar name and I made a point of looking for information about him, as well as other examples of his work. That proved to be hard work. Here is the sum total I managed to dredge up…

Elliot Fried got his MFA in creative writing from the University of California at Irvine. He is currently (?) a professor of creative writing at California State University at Long Beach. He has published two collections of poetry, Marvel Mystery Oil (1991) from which the above poem comes, The Man Who Owned Cars (1994) and has also edited three anthologies: Amorotica, Men Talk, and Gridlock. Co-founder of the Long Beach Poetry Festival, his poems as well as fiction have been included in anthologies and magazines. Since 1995 four of his poems have been spotlighted in The Writer’s Almanac.

None of his collections or anthologies are currently available, or in print. When offers no match for an Elliot Fried book search, you are pretty much at a dead end.

As for the poem above, no ‘literary’ remarks are required; no commentary necessary. A good poem simply because the poet makes facile and entertaining use of food words to convey story and picture.

1 comment:

  1. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? Not really.*listing*title*listing*title*listing*title,+Elliot&browse=1&cm_sp=works*listing*title

    Finding solo work, however, seems a bit of a pain. Probably would require more of a deep dive. Unusual for Writer's Almanac to feature out of print material.



About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America