Ned Said, in the Corner Booth at S&G’s Cafe
by Jim Davis

Damn it all, he said.
I am the most well adjusted lunatic
you’d ever want to meet, he said. Everything was brown and red.
Did you hear about that woman pushed down the steps
for her telephone? More than likely, we are dreaming.
I agreed, we are dreaming. There is thunder
in the pockets of night where lightning might have been,
where lighting and wind tear and tumble – thunder barks.
Carl Jung wrote of nightthoughts we recall
over eggs and toast, enwreathed by the smell of coffee, grease.
His book sits heavy on the shelf, unopened, not to say
that one day it will not be read. I have begun
to dream in letters – which might quite possibly mean
I do not sleep, but breathe through my nostrils just above the surface
of the brown and red lake of rest, most of me submerged.
Again, I have heard that the Saturday ladies in Macomb
are the Wednesday afternoon women of Chicago – I was told
by a man in the neighborhood pub who watched his buddy bend one over
the night stand in a motel, country music crackling through a sad clock radio –
I’m not proud, he said, but they take the train between shifts, and who else would
buy them a ticket, should patronage find conscience?
A couple of sawbucks held in place
by a porcelain urn of maple syrup. Orpheus, I call him, peeks
behind the counter for extra napkins and a spoon.
A waiter filling water glasses with a pitcher turned sideways.
His brother was left out of everything, for good reason
and exists as pain, more than assistant, nuisance over aid.
A brunette in an apron smokes against the wall out back.
She grinds her heel into an ember.
It’s all over, she says, when morning succumbs to the heat of day.
It’s all over the place, he says, of work.
In the garage, tools hang from a pegboard, still
until the door shuts, and the hammer sways.

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