Today, I read a story in The Outline, by Laura Yan, who decided to spend 24 hours in her neighborhood Dunkin' Donuts - a Brooklyn neighborhood not far from the neighborhood where I spent my early childhood. It also reminded me of my own Dunkin' Donuts poem - a poem that was once published on the website of a popular NPR show that is no longer with us. A poem I can hardly believe I wrote 18 years ago! So, I am sharing it here again, as well as the link to the Brooklyn story.
|An unfortunate demolition of the driveup menu from 2007.|
Opening Night at the Jamesburg Dunkin Donuts
crushed all day,” says the man behind the counter
who unlike the
other workers, wears a crisp, embroidered, denim shirt,
position as a higher authority, maybe even the franchise owner.
All day long
they’ve been doling out coffee, doughnuts and ice cream
City card dealers — here’s your hand, let me scoop up your money.
By 8 PM, the
stock is depleted, not a chocolate doughnut in sight
but the ice
cream counter can make up for that
even though the
night is unseasonably chilly for June
big dollops of
mint chocolate chip tantalize the lips of customers
some who stay
to revel in the clean newness,
sitting at the
burgundy tables, scraping the floor with the heavy wooden chairs,
chocolate sprinkles, doughnut crumbs in their wake.
A huge van
equipped for cross-country travel tries to park outside the window
back and forth
it goes trying to fit, while the children inside
unrestrained, press their faces against the window.
are in the space and the door slides open
and out bounds
Dad with three in tow — pale blondes,
one for each
hand, and one to hold his shirt tail.
Inside he picks
up the youngest and stands him on the counter, leaning far over
to see what
doughnuts are left.
the line of coffee drinkers, soda buyers and ice cream lickers,
the other two
children discover the freezer and it’s all too easy to open the door.
wonderland of ice cream cakes, complete with sparkling trims
graduation hats, diplomas and glitter.
perfectly logical to help daddy out and bring him the cake
and they drag
it by the box until the corners give out
and the ice
cream cake with its chocolate top
roses and crunchy bottom
rolls out of
the box and onto the floor,
in front of
amused coffee drinkers who have no idea that the cake is real.
And daddy, who
notices at last, shoves the mutilated frozen treat
back into the
box, and back into the freezer,
departs with his purchases, and his
three little blondes,
two of whom
seem confused that they have no ice cream.
one asks, are those real cakes, or just displays,
and finding out
they are indeed consumable,
tells the tale
of the upside down cake —
immediately removed by the teenage girls
who dish out
the ice cream in their white shirts and hats
and the glitter
is swept up and the melted ice cream mopped up
as the dealers
at the counter don’t miss a beat
coffee, wrapping the donuts, collecting the money,
hoping this crush of business
24 Hours At My Local Dunkin' Donuts
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