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I'm sitting next to the restrooms
and a stinking trash receptacle
in an El Polo Loco across the street
from a strip club and the county mental health building -
the afternoon autumn light bathing everything
in a golden hue.
An aged Mexican man walks through the double glass doors.
He squints up at the menu
like he's looking into a microscope through a pair of reading glasses.
You can tell by the guilelessness in his eyes,
he has no one.
And so doesn't even realize he's lonely.
I am attracted to his face
in the same way I’m attracted to Arabian music
or Japanese calligraphy or death.
I can't stop staring.
There is something in it
that makes me regret all the wrong I've done,
and I'm ashamed.
He orders one drumstick,
pays for it with nickels and dimes and bits of trash.
He eats his supper standing right there at the counter,
his lips and cheeks shiny with grease -
crumbs stuck in his mustache and beard.
The sight rips out my insides
and I am ashamed.
I head into the restroom and vomit in the sink.

14 Oct 12

(define the words in this poem)
(79 more poems by this author)

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Too much strawberry fanta can do this.  It's a lesson usually learned by 7 years old.
 — lateninepoet

stains your lips too
 — unknown

How about "drumstick" instead of "chicken leg?"  Has more of a mysteriousness to it.  Pretty dark scene here.  In all honesty, it tells a story, but could benefit from some more "chickeny" embellishments.  The last line kills this instantly.  If you go with the "drumstick," you could make some "percussion" references such as rimshot, beat, snare, high hat, etc...what'cha think?  It's a good vehicle, but it's a little run down.  :-)
 — starr

^good advice Starr.
 — unknown

I thought this would make your poem better, but u still have 2 change "chicken leg" in L17 to "drumstick."  It's understood that you're talkin' about chicken where you're at Church's Chicken.  Again, the last line kills this and not in a good way.  Maybe talk about "emptying" a plate (yours) in conjunction with his empty life?  Just a thought.  Also, you're talking about autumn light through the windows and in the next breath, it's raining?  Keep the weather consistent between L's 6 & 18.  U can even maybe use the rain as your tears?  The possibilities are endless and I'm sure much better than barfing in a sink.  Seriously.  Expand upon this.  It's got potential.  :-)
 — starr

keeping it
 — unknown