QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

Two Poems

Ideally I could present these side by side and the reader could jump between freely. I don't think I can get that to work for enough browsers and scenarios to suit me, so one after the other.

Daily I fall in love with waitresses

by Elliot Fried (1991)

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 LAX
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

And for the next poem...

Daily I fall in love with mechanics

by Susan Thurston

Daily I fall in love with mechanics
with their smudged coveralls and names embroidered
over where their hearts just might be
and thick soled boots.
I love how they jack up my car
and press the pneumatic drill
to my tires and with hip
press lean into the whir of liberation
nuts and bolts falling
released from so much spinning
and holding everything tight in place.
I feel their hands
roughened by spark plugs and washer fluid
yet sweetened by overflowing oil pans
slide over me.
Their arms and shoulders
remind me of deep river valleys
and other places where we could tumble
after setting the parking brake...
fumbling and clutching so melodiously
I am left grateful for their engine knowledge.
Daily I fall in love with mechanics
with their grease smudged bad boy grins
and come hither wide opening garage doors.
They tell secrets in the pit
and I want them.
I know them.
They slip belts back into place
their legs diesel dark

They have lovers or spouses or children
or all.
They are strut bearing reliable—
they know how timing belts twist.
Their toothpick punctuated grins
reassure you they are giving you the best
deal in town and they would not let you drive
without checking all your fluid levels.
Daily I fall in love with mechanics.
They are better than Free Air
want my vehicle to be safe and sound
but they never travel far enough
before pulling the next car into the station.

The first poem is evocative enough, conjuring images of places and times near enough in my memory, but also a world away. And then the second poem gently, but firmly, rips the image apart replacing the teasing sexual hopes of the first with practical greasy rags and clean oil filters.

I'm not much for reading poetry, but Mechanics has such charm. Yet, to me at least, the charm requires the original for those diesel dark legs to really shine, like some phoenix chick that cannot fully be appreciated without the ashen nest.