New York City has recently upped indoor dining capacity to 35%, which really doesn’t mean much: families of five aren’t allowed to dine together; the number of tables available to seat guests is the same. But, it does allow for people to wait in the lobby of the restaurant for a table, rather than outside or in their car. Today’s poem captures a bygone moment of indoor dining in the city (no one smokes inside restaurants anymore!), but it also captures a yearning for whatever the new normal will be.

Being an Habitué of a Dingy Diner on the Lower West Side

the clatter of coffee cups &
a low roar of mumblings of stock quotes
& college grad hopes
& waiter dopes
& cream-&-sugar notes.

there’s a stirring of swirling steam & cigarette
smoke.  there’s a 
mixture of chuckles &
venture capital hyperbole.
there’s	the man with the over-used laptop,
		typing & tapping away
the cashier with dancing fingers
	       fast & elegant as they waltz on the keypad
	the busboy with the zebra-streaked dishrag
       &  the manager with the shiny bald spot
		& stress sweat.
don’t forget the single man who stirs his espresso with two lumps
        or the woman on the cell phone who chatters like boxes.

but none stood out like the waitress
		who gave to me my 
				sticky check.

©David Siller – 2021


For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

#100Days100Poems of What’s Next!? wants your poems, your prose, your visual art (photos, drawings, sculptures), your music, your short films and animations. Interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like.

If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with your visual art (as .jpg or .pdf) or your poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. Include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and social media/website information. All rights remain with the author. Please address any formatting preferences in your email. will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day beginning 20 January 2021.

Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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