All You Can Eat

7 Train

Clanging chains that tie carriages together on the 7 train to Queens; we meander as stars crossing the dusk in a paralleled drifting, Biggie’s face on graffiti ten feet tall, snowed over. The guy next to me looks like Santa Claus who got robbed whilst asleep. His torn gloves wave as he shows me $4.50 in quarters and dimes.

All you can eat breakfast,
can you imagine?
Unlimited ham, toast, eggs
and coffee.

Oh he loves the coffee. All this fit for a king! For $4.50, somewhere in Forest Hills. He tells me of how the attorney took his inheritance of four million dollars; how his whole family had died after he returned from Vietnam. I pass him a business card, promising pro bono help. Tonight we are faceless, classless, one hoping the rent will be paid tomorrow, the other hoping to find a telephone booth that works; his obituary filled with euphemisms only I will write.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 10


6 thoughts on “All You Can Eat

  1. dear Alicia, i like the delicate shifts in tone in your poem and its starkly beautiful imagery. tony

  2. You know it’s interesting to see how different people can bring inanimate objects alive differently. ( Really it’s more than interesting, it’s peculiar and fascinating. ) A billboard is not just a billboard – it’s not just an ad; it’s a history and set of possibilities. In the same, bringing other people alive who are already alive is an even more difficult and necessarily convoluted endeavor. Maybe it’s because if the “I” barrier, or because of empathy – or of the relation of the two. I do know I feel more at home talking to broken people than I do with successful people. Not that the latter don’t have stories, I just find them more irrelevant to my own life and my experiences.

    Of course i’m not a silver dollar of success either, so there’s your ham and cheese biscuit – and your coffee.

    Half caff please.

    Thanks for the piece!

    • Thank you for the lovely comment. I prefer connecting with people who have fallen through the cracks too…however successful people have their own set of problems as well, the prevalence of suicidal millionaires is astounding when one gets to hear their deepest darkest fears and insecurities…

      • The quality of a problem isn’t necessarily quantification; not to suggest a set of moral subjectivities, but everyone has problems. What IS true though – is some people do simply have more problems than others. Some people are more adept at dealing with multiple problems than others. That doesn’t make them necessarily tougher – just adept at dealing with their issues. The most summary of the matter was said by my brother in law in a simple analogy: If we were all sitting around our tables with our problems in physical piles in front of us – we’d be quick to take back our own for fear of others taking it. A bit simplistic, but spot on.

    • Thank you! It’s a real honor to remind someone of the greats like Frank O’Hara…I would say yes, I am influenced and inspired by the same muses as he was. This poem has a lot more refining to do, which I will revisit after a period of time.

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