late night at the Igloo Diner


Imagine this photo is all one perspex panel. It is, but I couldn’t get it into the one frame because it’s jammed in the stairwell. (Directly under our Damien Hirst, but that’s tomorrow’s post, entitled I buy things off the internet in the dead of night & don’t know what the hell they are).

So, Igloo Diner.

The downsizing is not going so well. Mainly because I discover things and get sidetracked. Then I try to re-find things and I can’t, because they’re stuck in piles of much-loved junk. Then I either

a) sulk

b) feel claustrophobic

c) feel defeated

d) feel tired

e) find something shinier to play with

or f) a combination of any or all of a – e

I think what I like about going to resorts and hotels and stuff is that there’s none of your stuff cluttering them up. But I couldn’t live like that.

I worked out tonight that I don’t have copies of most of the things I ever wrote. It doesn’t actually matter much. Some things I can find stuck in old notebooks (which I happen to chance upon when I’m supposed to be packing things up), or framed unevenly in perspex, as above.

Late night at the Igloo Diner does hold a special place in my heart though. I think it was the first poem I ever read aloud in front of a crowd. (And probably also one of the last, ha.) I made it with scissors and glue and My First Laptop (the one I blew up), late at night, Hawkesbury Ave, St Albans, Christchurch. Pretty much exactly eleven and a half years ago. October ’98.

So, as a gesture to the echo of my 21 year-old self (although I am still making stuff with scissors and glue, so not too much has changed since then), and in the interests of preserving a thing or two, I am going to type it out now, from a musty old journal, and here it will live. In perpetuity. Or at least until WordPress crumbles into a busted shell of gone no address pages, or until I get bored and forget about it. (Just kidding, but only kind of). Here goes.

Late night at the Igloo Diner


I paid my money, I want to see what happens (late night at the Igloo Diner)

we are regulars
here's a laminated menu & a tired
handshake           a milkshake maybe
vanilla & gingham & elvis
your eyes are red
under neon &
goldfish swim
against your silhouette
in forgetmenot blue water
you almost speak but
the jukebox sadsong voiceover
says everything you ever wanted to
although you never did
get round to saying it
it is hard to be so lyrical   to string up your karaoke heart
like fairylights
when all the lovesongs
have been written
in the next booth along from us       the boy & girl
are going steady
& burntout through weird halo smoke rings
you eye up
their sitcom sentiment   the drive-in move cuteness
of it all
it's just about your idea
of utopia
looking into blue eyes
across a formica surface    forever in bluejeans/sweet
in a carpark     in the back of the car
caught up in buttons & bra-clasps & first
fixed beneath a panorama of stars     with the country & western
from the radio playing so sad
& slow
as the streetlights slip silver over
virgin skin
we are regulars
all we want     is to be regular
like them    walking home from the diner
through the fairground    making it to third base
behind the sideshow tents
while the wooden clowns revolve
openmouthed & painted
with loneliness
each refuge fails us; each danger becomes a haven (late night at the Igloo Diner)
3am cushioned in red vinyl like an outsized vulva
       on a cocacola rollercoaster I play easy to get
& footsie with you    under the table
because it's better than nothing   because it's almost as good
                                            as watching
the way the skin on your bottomless coffee
is luminous as an oil spill on a wet road
all the while Marilyn in monochrome & two dimensions
leans down at us with cleavage & melancholy
in the bathroom   the girl who just walked in
with her sugar daddy
sums herself up puckered lipped & adorable
in a compact mirror
& soon the gunman will come in with rubbermask/carrybag & say
everybody be cool this is a robbery

we will get down on the floor     our lives
will flash before our eyes &
at the end of the trauma we will be better people for it
& until then we will watch carlights go by
filterinng yellow through a dirty wall of windows
sitting pretty in the interim
just you & me   boy     just like it was
in the matinee movies
in the good old days   black & white     cleancut
heroes with chiselled jawlines      just
you & me & five bucks
it's different now     like waiting at a llaundromat
for the cycle to finish    although it is set
at infinity &
the gunmen in floral print shirts down come & we
can't look each other in the eye no more   & all we've got
is small change
for the slot machines
& you spend the evening looking at the tits of Nancy
the waitress    although I'm too busy wondering
whether or not it's Nancy Drew     to care
                                  whether it's my tits or hers
& wondering how it could be that my
girl wonder with miracle torchlight & corkscrew curls
      ended up foresaking adventure
to work the graveyard shift in a frilly apron     at the Igloo Diner
although I guess we're all hanging out
for a touch of drama              even here
but there are only so many times you can shoot up in a cubicle or tap your
notsolucky last cigarette to some kind of screwy drumbeat mantra on the side
of your golden softpack while tallying up the colours of passing cars     too scared
to go home    only so many times you can order more fries with ketchup all the while looking up
at James Dean driving cooly down a suave highway to death    watching Elvis all the while
thinking of how he got so fat & too fucken depressed to even get out of bed
& now I can't help but get to thinking
how in eighth grade you said
I was Shirley Temple    I don't know why exactly
& how
I wasn't like all the other girls
that was a long time ago & now
I am just like all the other girls
you burn the formica
with your lighter      you say
I love you but I just don't like you
of the great escape         the remarkable getaway
you will never make       not
in these trampled bluesuede shoes
& as we get up to leave in our shirtsleeves
Nancy stops us at the door to say    you'll catch your deaths
& you say
talking all the while to her breasts
thank you for your concern Nancy    but
I reckon we already have

3 Responses to “late night at the Igloo Diner”

  1. 1 katy77

    bastard formatting stole all my linebreaks

  2. 3 Becky

    Me too, and I remember that poetry reading clearly. Me idolising you in the way younger sisters do.

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