a long extinct cafeteria,
(it was one of those roach on the wall, last dime eateries,
edifice of low cuisine,
you'd push your tray along rails
a sneezy server would plop food
on your plate and half on the floor,
you'd throw down your copper, silver,
run to claim a seat
that the fellow slob next to you didn't reek)
a 3 A.M. diner.
Joe stumbled in looking for the john,
was evicted by the manager
a "Scram bum."
had already spent his last cent;
inside were yet to spend ours.
he stared at us all
the wide front window---
a glass pane and pennies away.
zipped down his fly,
washed away window grime
he marked his territory.
the dining denizens dropped their knives and forks
my spoon in an almost salute
slurped my chicken soup.
manager chased him away with a bat.
much for marking territory without cash.
have feigned nausea
skipped out on the tab
keep a few more coins,
I was dining in a cash-in-advance dive.