Eating Grief at Bickford’s

by Doug Holder

Eating Grief at Bickford's

·        From  Allen Ginsberg's “Kaddish”


There are no places anymore

Where I can sit at a threadbare table

Pick at the crumbs on my plate

And wipe

The white dust

From my pitch

Black shirt.


The old men

Who used to spout


Rants from

The cracked porcelain of their cups

Are gone

The boiling water

Ketchup soup

The mustard sandwich

They use to relish

All that so lean



Oh, Hunchback

In the corner

Your lonely reflection

In the glass of water---

 And Tennessee Williams' Blanche

Eyes me through her grilled cheese

“Pass the sugar, sugar”

She teases.



The queer

Late night

Security guard.

His policeman's hat

Draped on his head

Looking like a

Sacrilegious rake

This countless


Of defending his honor

In the amorous, crazed embraces

Of  muscular young men

How he protests…

Too much…too much.



The discarded men

Blue blazers

Shedding their threads

Outcasts with newspapers

Stains of baked beans

On their lapels

Fingering a piece

Of passionless Cod

Lolled by their

own murmur.


Winter is outside the large, long window

Pushing pedestrians

With its cold, snapping whip

The cracks in the pavement

Are filled

With flakes of melting,

Dying, snow.