Breakfast at Garfunkle’s

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Breakfast at Garfunkle’s

(Written at Heathrow Airport, 2002, while waiting for a flight to Cork.)


blond body-perfect She

corporate black/gray

casually draped label scarf

highlight-streaked hair

carelessly wrapped

tortoiseshell teeth caught

erect bangs to flick

display interest


mobile-phone laugh

every second pause

pouted poised use

office eyes and mouth

gaze-long sincerity

that familiar dance

steps well known

moist lips tongue-wetted

backwards and forwards

speaks intensely

leaning on elbows

table-hover toward

amphibious forward


(She’s good at this)

focus – focus - focus


His suit speaks volumes

pure wool power black

coat draped hair

distinctively mottled silver

cut just right on the neck

no-frame glasses


air of knowledge

quiet voice and intensity

reveals someone

comfortably  reaching goals


He orders


She contributes

very 2003 hesitantly

gently probing making

sure wishes considered

in other words with

quiet insistence and

 definite persistence


(this girl will get what She wants

but what does she want?

don’t think it is Him

for the long term

uninformed He

is Step One

around the middle

of the ladder I’d say)

croissant comes

coffee poured

‘My – that’s a big one!’

(I almost burst out laughing

at the obviousness of it all…)


moment judgement

He reaches over 

jacket pocket

pulls out the ubiquitous

square box

covered with simple

but stylish green paper

(politically good color)

matching green card




fingers fly-feel

size and shape not

immediately accepted

face re-clothed

‘Oh’ blush, blush,

‘…you shouldn’t have…’

decide hungry

hands grasp

rip the paper


frown wins again


She sees white

cardboard cover (still)

jeweler’s box – gauche!



hands examining

giving time fractions


milking the moment

using all weapons

deep questioning look

tentative smile


opens the offering

breath explains

softly gasps

(with cued drama)

held high like

an Academy Award

the diamonds sparkle

in the early morning

itinerant restaurant

electrical down-lights


‘Hmmmmm, this is what

they are wearing nowadays…’

(who are they?)

She puts it on – ‘it fits’

leave it there a beat

let him drink the vision

perfect arm held

by His perfect jewels

pat twice (enough?)

show eyes a caress

take it off  - put it back

in the box on the table



‘Cut!’ called

lurking waitress

interrupts this act of

Cleaning Agent play…


She insists

on paying for the meal

making her point

pushing her notes

into bored staff hands

(seen the show before)

scrabbling for change


they are alone again

She continues to flirt

now with an edge

knows She’s got Him

but can She still use Him?


He obviously

didn’t give her what

She expected… this time

but She leans over

to give Him a quick

‘Thank You’ non-sexy kiss

desperate He recognizes

makes a gluttonous meal


She leans back

mentally puts her hands

behind her head

He continues to

hold fast her hand

trying rubbing

closed fingers

possessed by His hand


She slides her glance

down and away-side

reaches back

to put her arm

through coat sleeve

body to follow

time to go

another meal

something tastier


He didn’t want this

moment to happen.

He is now no longer

strong corporate giant

but vine plucking

lover wants more

suddenly realizes

whatever was expected

wasn’t delivered

He stuffed up – failed

She walks out of his life

He will re-grow his hard shell

and make a mental note

not to bend again


‘Hello Darkness, my old friend…

I’ve come to talk to you again…’

From ‘The Boxer’

Simon & Garfunkle.

next table…

waiter regrets

no pancakes today

– no facilities.

croissants instead?

scones? ‘ No, sorry.’

 even toast couldn’t

 – the renovations…

no coffee machine either

no donut machine…

Oh tragedy!


black and white

photos of war planes

50’s & 60’s stuff

‘Unattended Luggage…’

testament to the

vacuum of itinerants.



Frances Macaulay Forde © 2002

Heathrow 2002Poemromancetongue in cheekUSA vs IraqWar on Terror

◄ Lesson No 65

Smooth Skin ►


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Frances Macaulay Forde

Sun 10th Mar 2019 16:56

Thank you all, so much for your time, attention and detailed comments.
This is one of those pieces left on the shelf because I know it's not finished even after many incarnations, it still doesn't say what I want it to... so I posted the original notes, as written, to get some feedback.
My mind was full of the 'War on Terror' having just flown over Iraq and listening to the American news on the flight.
The couple sitting a few tables away from us, at the back, seemed to epitomize the back and forth, the offers to negotiate etc.
I know this needs a lot more work, as you rightly observed, Tommy.
Thanks again, for reading it so carefully, all of you.
Much appreciated.

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Martin Elder

Sun 10th Mar 2019 15:07

This is a marvellous poem Frances. The way it sets up its own pace from the start and has so much going on. I am a great fan of observational pieces. After all that's what makes a writer or poet what they are.
Nice one

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keith jeffries

Sat 9th Mar 2019 12:40


I do believe we fall into the category of being members of the people watching fraternity. I have a passion for observing people and try to determine their personality, where they come from, their mode of dress and so on.

This poem also reminds me of an aged aunt who is still on this mortal coil and has the reputation of confusing her words. She once flew out to Spain to stay with me. On landing I suggested a bite to eat to which she replied that she was not all hungry as she had breakfasted at Carbuncles in Gatwick Airport. On another occasion she confused the words organism with orgasm, but that is another story.

Great poem
Thank you

Kate G

Sat 9th Mar 2019 12:32

Bloody marvellous Frances. Love the fly on the wall view. Ain't people watching grand. People are such fascinating creatures! Where is your book of poems? 😀

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Peter Taylor

Sat 9th Mar 2019 12:21

Frances, this is such an interesting poem – must read again to let it all sink in properly but on a first reading it's brilliant. I was thinking Ulysses pretty early on.

This is a really enjoyable piece, a great poem, thank you.

Peter T

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Tommy Carroll

Sat 9th Mar 2019 12:18

Frances, It conveyed a feeling of Tannoy speech info', and distracted observation. (thinks...) -Feedback-. Not quite redaction but exfoliating edits. Editing. Feedback Yes Feedback.
Not bad, infect quite good. ;- )


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