home photos drawings about the poems reasons... more poems collaborations translations family pictures movie intros

Siam Cafe

One afternoon in Chicago, walking with my cool pal Arnie

down Lawrence Avenue Uptown where the L rattles over

a rundown looking neighborhood teeming with senior citizens

The Aragon marquee featuring "Montrose" or "Los Zapatistas"

We were looking for a Xerox machine to copy some poems

went to a bank

Stopped in at a Kresge's

I ate an eclair -- a weird object

Then, on Sheridan, stopped in the Siam Cafe

a nondescript restaurant where water is served in a tin bowl

by pretty Siamese waitresses

The menu is half Siamese and half English

They have the greatest food and that afternoon

we shared a Charcoal Chicken which is burned

barbequed chicken with dark flecks of sauce

and completely delicious

They also have the hottest sweet and sour pork

I've ever sampled, laden, as it is,

with thin strips of banana peppers

And also a very cheap fried rice with egg flecks

And for dessert -- candied water chestnuts

which look like cherry Jello chunks

floating in milk and ice cubes

After five minutes of eating this dessert

you have as much left as when you started to eat it

Ten minutes later, you give up, happily sated and piqued by this treat,

leave a big tip and saunter down the summer street night

I've been in the Siam Cafe many times on fond visits

to my native city, and I recommend it highly to all

I wish I were there, being so hungry right now in Iowa

City room watching football --

                                                  I salute you, Siam Cafe --

you are unreal!