I’m From Here #7

I was washing dishes

At a restaurant and

I’d seen all kinds of

Folks come through,

Leaving me dirty dish

After dirty dish, clink,

Clink, soiled utensils

And I’d think about my

Father who’d worked at

A high class hotel on

Nob Hill and when I told

Him I was washing dishes

He said, Oh, you’re diving

For pearls, huh? And one

By one they’d come in,

Waiters and waitresses

And cooks. There was fast

Eddy who rode a motorcycle

And spoke about a bad case

Of crabs he caught in New

Jersey and there was another

Guy from Oklahoma who was

A mass of freckles topped with

A wig-like head of red hair

Who had said the Beatles

Were overrated and hated

Music that was too commercial

And there were more folks from

Everywhere else and I was from

Here and I washed those dishes

Between classes at City College

And there was another guy

Who worked at the restaurant

Who’d recently arrived and he

Was reading books about my

Hometown, my city, compiling

Facts and visiting landmarks and

Places that I had missed. Soon

This guy knew more about my

Hometown than I did and

I continued doing those dishes

And the guy kept telling me

About every inch of my city

As if he were born here

Himself and I gazed at the

Dirty plates, every inch of them

As he told me about every inch

Of my city except the space

Of the back of my hand



© 2015 Tony Robles


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