D had been laid off

winter being down time for the muck shift

working heavy machinery building roads

& called to say he was broke

could I help at all?

all he had was a mobile home

somewhere out next to a muddy track

I had nothing not even a hangover

scrounged around found a tin or two

old packets of dead dried soup

stuck my thumb into the December black

set out to see if I could help & the cars came slow

I wasn’t a pretty picture on the side of the road

me needing their ride their heater full on

talking up my mission of mercy

one guy bought me a coffee & doughnut

& the last ride gave me a five

with a bible tract said the lord would help

all I had to do was pray & he’d take the load

& when I got there D had had a come up

some money the govt said it owed

we had us a drink on that got a meal

& during the night the rats came in

to get out of the cold eating slices of bread

we had nothing for breakfast then

as I stepped back out into the dark

all I was holding the cold the road my thumb

headed back to where I came from

but at least now I had a hangover


you find a great place

does breakfast

the menu good & plain

you order

& its good

then you pay

leaving a tip

because you are a decent person

the next time

is much the same

the time after that too

they recognise your face

sound of your boots on the wooden floor

& they know now

what you like

get it started before you order

& its good

you pay

leaving a tip

because you are a decent person

the next time

they say ‘the usual’?

place your breakfast in front of you

but this time

the cook has phoned it in

it is not the same

you pay

leave a tip because you are a decent person

to never return again

The kid in California

motel by the airport

young Japanese boy

fresh from an overnight flight

comes into the breakfast room

looks around

& under his breath

yet louder than he thinks

begins to sing Tupac’s California

designates the offer

fruit loops

frosted cornflakes


wheat bread

farmers choice OJ

coffee & decaff

half & half


quaker oats

scrambled eggs

pancakes to go


& slowly worked his way through

all of ‘em


his family

watched his smile



international hotel breakfast wars

Is more of a prolonged

set of skirmishes

with set piece confrontations

the Portuguese have taken over the toaster

set up a junta

to ensure their breakfast rolls are delicately done

while the Spanish militia

ties to empty the naranca dispenser

passing glasses in relay

while eyeing up the toaster positions

Portugal belongs to them they insist

& the people would live better with good guidance

meanwhile the English are fighting a dirty war

nipping in & out to slide in a piece of bread to toast

a lull in the naranca brigada attention to replenish its juice

they do not talk to each other in this

unsure of class lines or background

or catch each others eyes but unseen their guerrilla campaign

wages on

the Americans talk on the sidelines looking to join the action

waiting for an invitation that will never come

or is it leadership? & then one sallies into action

making a strong play for the coffee machine

which angers everyone as she must read the safety instructions first

a chippy Scot slides his cup in hiding his intentions

with a pert comment: choose your poison lassie & press the wee button

like this y’see?

he takes his full cup & goes while she puzzles out his accent

the French meanwhile wait patiently checking out the lay of the land

they have seen all of this before

will wait for a quiet moment in the battle & having reconnoitered completely

will sweep in to gain the spoils of war

& tomorrow as yesterday

like today

will be the same