Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ed Galing's Diner

Diner is a collection of poems by Ed Galing, published by Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press in 1999 about…Diners! Of course! It is a wonderful homage to all the diners Mr. Galing (and you and I, for that matter) have eaten in across American. Below are a few of my favorites:

those who work in

in the front,
and in the back,
somehow never get
enough credit
for the great job
they do…

that big fat cook
who works the kitchen grill,
hot steam rolling down
his face,
slapping orders together
like a machine,
no letup…

the dishwasher,
the dirtiest job
in the place,
(and i know)
my hat is off to you…

the cashier,
the waitresses…

and last week,
joe the cook,
and mary the blonde waitress,
got married, in the diner,
closed for the day, they hired
a preacher, invited everyone to their
diner wedding,
decorated with flowers,
wine flowed, people cheered,

they kissed each other…now married…
went back to work the next day.

Not only is this a poem where Mr. Galing acknowledges the roles of the diners but he captures briefly the wonderful event in anyone’s life by adding in the wedding of two of the workers. I think what I love best is that he ends it with the couple returning to work the very next day—my parents went through the same thing (only Dad worked in a factory and Mom worked at the local burger joint). Here Mr. Galing portrays diner life exactly as it is, no more, no less, no romanticizing, no embellishment, just like a no-frills diner.

counter work

i like sitting
at the counter
in my diner

grab a quick
lonely cupa
coffee and Danish

read the paper
and rub elbows
with the big fat guy
next to me,
on one side,
and the little thin
bald headed guy on the other,
who asks me to pass him the sugar…
it’s easy to make friends
at the counter,
when you’re by yourself,
or in a hurry…
the counter is for the
brave ones,
like myself,
trying to catch a waitress’
as they flit by…
that’s the hard part.
but hell, what’s the hurry

Mr. Galing says exactly what I’ve always thought about the counter: It’s for the “brave ones,” the people who are typically their alone, braving a seat next to the unknown folks at the counter. I like the picture he paints of who sits there and the difficulty of capturing the eye of the ever-busy waitress, the hustle and bustle you’d expect while you sit “alone” at the counter making new friends.


i hear the rumor
this morning
when i walk into
this diner

where i eat
all the time

mary the cashier
has died…

worked the front
for twenty five

always pleasant
gave you a cheery
hello and goodbye

if you got to know
mary the way i
you got to like her
a lot…
knew all about her family,
her two sons and her

how she worked the 11 to 7 shift
so she could be
home during the day

mary is gone
mary has left the diner
to serve at
the table in heaven

hope God knows
how lucky he is.

I love this poem because it’s one most can relate to—most of us frequent a restaurant or diner and have a favorite waiter or waitress we’ve come to rely on each visit, one we’ve gotten to know and make part of our lives even if it’s in a small way. I also love the ending, that mary is now working in Heaven’s Diner, serving God, which is an idea that brings a smile to my face. Mr. Galing allows himself to be sentimental, as well he should be, in dedicating a poem to a favorite diner worker who has passed away.

If you enjoyed this short sample of poems as much as I have you can purchase a copy of Diner for yourself for $5.00 (not including Shipping & Handling) through the Propaganda Press Catalog at:


You can find more of Ed Galing’s work at

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

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