What The Waitress Sees

Her life is like ours. One day

Something went snap!, and she found herself

In the service of businessmen. More bread,

They call to her, and she responds (1)

As if known by that name. More Bread.

We want burgundy, lots of it, and then We would like her to leave. She sees Couples all the time: married, pretending (2)

To be, not to be, about to be. Yet We are different. A man of dangerous Middle Age: suited, tied. And you are younger Of course: casual, cute. That says plenty,

But how we carry on! How we huddle Over paper! You yell, redden, are ready To wash my face with wine. I cannot argue With you anymore. I reach for a napkin,

A pen. "Don't give me a line," I write, "Give me a stanza." You are quiet again So I add, "It will work. Trust me." In an hour, you tell me We can't go on

Like this, I want to be whole for you. She cannot hear us. But she sees you Crying now, and no one has raised A voice. A glass. Or a fist. Later

She finds the napkin with a tip. Stanza? A type of dance maybe, a Latin one like tango. Last stanza in Paris. How we belong there! But this is Oklahoma where something goes

Snap!. Dancers. She wants us to be dancers Who stanza in a honky-tonk. She looks At the clock. She will meet someone tonight. It will work this time. It will be good.

Let's see what happens in the white spaces as numbered:

1. Scene shift. The waitress responds, moving from the table of businessmen to the couple.

2. Focus shift. The point of view switches from the waitress alone to the couple and the waitress.

3. Mood, scene and focus shift. The couple seems to be fighting, the waitress observing from a distance and the man reaching for a napkin (as if to dry his face or tears).

4. Mood, focus and time shift. No, he is going to write. Then the scene flashes forward to the woman's italicized outburst, cut off, as if she's struggling to get out her words.

5. Focus shift. The waitress tries to figure out what is happening at that table.

6. Time and scene shift. The customers have left. The waitress tries to decipher the note at the couple's table and has an epiphany about romance.

7. Mood, time, scene and focus shift. Like a dancer's fingers going Snap!, the mood of the poem suddenly becomes magical, the scene shifts to a honky-tonk, and time pushes forward again as the waitress makes her wish.

If you want to measure what, exactly, the stanza is doing in "What the Waitress Sees," type the poem out in a single column without any breaks. It probably will confuse you. You'll wonder from whose viewpoint this story is being told and question why scenes and time elements change without warning.

In this case, the stanza makes the poem.

0 0

Post a comment