Saturday, April 16, 2016

Day 16 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2016


Day 16. It's all downhill from here, everyone!

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the . . . “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers." Click here to see the questionnaire.

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD prompt: "For today’s prompt, write a poem about (or at) a food establishment. You could pick on a chain like Taco Bell or McDonald’s, sure, but maybe there’s a local favorite — or some special dive. Heck, maybe that place where you took your first date or got your first job. Have fun with it, and if you need to do a little research, go out for something to eat."
Roy Kaltschmidt, Doggie Diner - San Francisco Zoo (1985)
(Click on the photo to see a larger version.)
Robert's prompt reminded me of the Doggie Diner, a fast-food chain from my childhood in San Francisco. They had great chili dogs, of course, and were open late into the night. Maybe even 24 hours, though I don't recall that exactly. The one pictured here was on Sloat Blvd, near the zoo, thus an irresistible restaurant for families with kids because of the 7-foot tall daschund dog head, sporting a chef's hat and bow tie, that was the diner's huge revolving logo. The Doggie Diner I used to frequent in high school was across town, at the corner of Geary and Arguello. They were all great little diners — fun place, fun time, fun memories.


Jed got done first today. Fascinating food establishment, Jed!

Menu

Soup
    $3 a bowl
Sandwiches
    $5
    $3 for half-sandwich
Dragon Tongue
    30 gold pieces
Unicorn Horn, Sautéed
    7 priceless pearls
    (you must pay in pearls)
Priceless Pearls (great in your wine!)
    80 gold pieces a pearl
Wine
    $20 a glass
Gold Pieces (I hear dragons love them)
    $300 a coin
Human Slaves, fattened (I hear dragons love them)
    30 pieces of silver
    (you must pay in silver)
Elixir of Youth
    Your Immortal Soul
    (management not responsible for soulless babies)
Immortal Souls
    10,000 gold pieces
    (management not responsible for escaping souls)
French Fries
    $2 small serving
    $3.50 medium serving
    $4 large serving
Dumb Looks
    $.50

—Draft by Jedediah Kurth    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Thanks, Jed. Good job mashing up both prompts (one of the items in the questionnaire is "animal from a myth"). I like how this food establishment also deals in moneychanging!

Alan writes today of a food (or something) that is found in many a fine establishment.

Fries of Spud

6.

A child said What are these fries? fetching them to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what they are any more than he.

I guess they must be the bane of my waistline, out of deep-fried fluff mouth shovin’.

Or I guess they are the goldencrisp of the lard,
Ascending scent raised from deep fryer resignedly dropt,
Bearing the fry cook’s sweat someway in the flavor, that we may sense and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess each fry is itself a child, the processed babe of the industry.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Expecting conformity from franchisee to franchisee,
Selling among black folks as among white,
Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody, I give them the same, I receive them the same.

And now they seem to me the tumbled-down Jenga blocks of spud.

Savoring, I once ate you, golden fry,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps,
And here you fill the mothers’ laps.

These fries are amber gold to be from the white heads of old mothers,
More gold than the colorless beards of old men,
Gold to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many stuttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not stick to the roofs of mouths for nothing.

I wish I could carry on this parody, but there is something going on here
When I hint about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive only in that they are breathing,
They move to feed themselves, somehow refuting death,
As they eat in their cars, at the sticky tables, berated by televisions,
Staring at phones instead of faces.

And I despise how we have made ourselves in our image.
And I despise what privilege deludes me into blaming them.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

I hear ya, Alan. Walt Whitman approves this message.

Here's my "food establishment" poem, with some details discovered through Maureen's "almanac questionnaire." You might look again at the Kaltschmidt photo above too.

Doggie Diner, Geary and Arguello, 1967

Out of San Francisco night, the cool fog’s
gray fingers caressing hills and houses,
emerged in bowtie and chef’s hat, the Dog.
A 7-foot daschund’s head in fiberglass.

Tina, my first real girlfriend in 9th grade,
and I entered through the shiny glass doors,
holding hands, both in hippie leathers, suede
vests and floppy hats, bellbottom cords.

It smelled like hog heaven, grease-laden air,
scents of amber-gold fries and sizzling thick
burgers, the sharp tang of cole slaw vinegar.
We ordered dogs slathered in chili with pickles

and blonde mustard. Everything was right. Above
the diner, the Dog revolved, glowing radiant love.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

The questionnaire-drawn elements were the fog ("weather") and the Dog ("mammals/reptile/fish" or maybe now, three decades after the closing of Doggie Diner, "animal from a myth"). That was fun. Haven't thought about Tina or the Doggie Diner for many, many years. Thanks also to Alan . . . I lifted a detail, a description, from his poem for today.

Here are three of the Doggie Diner heads that were rescued from the closed restaurants and restored. This image is from a dog festival in San Francisco, Market Days: A Breed Apart, in August 2014.
Sarah's mix of the two prompts — the kitchen and restaurant scene and setting brought together with "animal from myth" and "what you find down an alley" — is haunting and beautiful.

Comfort Food

Clouds of smoke and steam mingle in the air,
imbuing vegetables with sharp tastes. Booths
line the walls while flaming griddles give light.
Chefs obliged to crack jokes as well as they
crack eggs man their stations with ease, dreaming
of replacing Alton Brown. This is work,
a way of life. So the culinary
campaign continues. Crude words and art carved
into the soft metal stalls are witness
to hormone-crazed teens sensually stripping
to appease their lust in secret. Naked,
vulnerable to the dirt-crusted tiles
scrutiny, these innocents make shadows
to follow their memories forever.
Outside the waves of cement are broken
only by yellow guide lines for screaming
beasts of silver and rubber. Interest peaks
as crashes and commotions pile up
just beyond the doors. Forgotten receipts,
some with hastily scribbled numbers,
are trashed: hopes dashed. The romantics still say
that this is where dragons roam, that magic
exists and one block down the back alley
won’t reveal a family in a shelter
of cardboard. The police sirens quiet
under the hushed protection of fast food.
Here there is no fear. Instead, the menu
is bright with stars and inviting smiles.

—Draft by Sarah Smith    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Finally Ven's French ditty. Formidable! Bravo!

Pour Ceux qui Cherchent un Goût de “Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain”

Vous ne trouverez pas l'amour dans les Deux Moulins.
Vous ne trouverez pas la beauté dans les Deux Moulins.
Vous ne trouverez pas l'art dans les Deux Moulins.

Mais vous pouvez l'apporter avec vous et de le partager.

—Draft by Ven Batista    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Thanks, all. Another good day of poetry!


Friends, won't you comment, please? Love to know what you're thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don't find the word "comments" in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


NAPOWRIMO / PAD 2016 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


6 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

Vince, you snuck a sonnet in on me. I confess that in part, your sharing an image from my poem is in turn my writing and thinking of a fine poem by my friend William Wright, who in "Potato" describes images of resurrection. So much gold!

Vince Gotera said...

Alan, you know me ... gonna do a sonnet whenever I can. Thanks! Speaking of the potato, I did eventually get some potato olés today.

Bruce Niedt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Niedt said...

Blogger Bruce Niedt said...
Hey, Vince! Glad you're doing this again, and this time it looks like you have a whole poetic posse! Great sonnet. I'm not posting daily on my blog this month, but I did post today. Most of my poems are over at the Tiferet Journal website because I'm doing it as a fund-raiser for them and accepting sponsored pledges which go to keeping the journal going. Check it out at:
http://tiferetjournal.com/april-2016-poem-a-thon/
(Scroll down and click my name on my bio to see the poems, there's also a "sponsor a poet" button if you wish to sponsor me.)

Vince Gotera said...

Thanks, Bruce. I'll certainly take a look.

Blogger said...

I have just installed iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my desktop.

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