She takes her culture
through a straw —
a double on the weekends —
and finds German food
pedestrian, oysters
unpalatable. Brie with
red pepper jelly
and broiled lobster
being more to
her taste.

He, an amateur musician,
playing street corners —
psychedelic clubs
on good nights —
on the bad nights he plays
blind through the migraine
with fairy lights dancing
behind his eyes.

He smelled the lobster
one night when he played
beneath her window,
not knowing what it was,
only that he was hungry.

Once, she gave his
hat a dollar, then laughed
at his mis-matched black
and white shoelaces
as she walked away.

English: Street musician in the Avenue Villema...

A second one for Shawna’s word list.
Also shared at dVerse for Victoria’s “Balance” prompt,
though this one is sort of out of balance.


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

19 responses to “Counter-Culture

  1. Great opening!! Two flipping poems!!! Awesome, Mark!!

  2. Totally Awesome Mark!!! Love the mismatched shoelaces!

  3. They helped out each other! There are more cooperation among the deprived than from those who stashed money only for themselves. Great thoughts Mark!


  4. “She takes her culture
    through a straw”

    “finds German food
    pedestrian, Oysters
    unpalatable” … This is hilarious. German food pedestrian. πŸ™‚ Ha!

    Oh wow, this is something I’ve never tried:
    “Brie with
    red pepper jelly
    and broiled lobster
    tail being more to
    her taste.” … Sounds very interesting. I do love lobster.

    “he plays
    blind through the migraine
    with fairy lights dancing
    behind his eyes” … Boy have you got the migraine description right.

    The black and white laces were a great touch. Funny how some might turn their nose up at that while others might find it intriguing.

    Awww, I totally thought they were going to get together at the end. 😦 You know, like the “Skater Boy” song by Avril Lavigne. πŸ™‚

  5. great work on the contrasts..wish she had shared her lobster and oysters with him..wish we all would share more of what we have with those that have to go hungry..

  6. really contrasts and balances well.

  7. i think it fits the balance with teh backa dn forth of the he and she verses mark…they have had little touches and i hope that it grows a bit you know…dinner surely sounds rather wonderful…would catch my nose as well…two worlds orbitting each other…

  8. I have a teen who thinks that different coloured socks is soooo cool! So, no way would she have laughed at his mis-matched shoelaces. Two different worlds and both, surviving.
    Lovely word painting all through this Mark.

  9. I enjoy the almost-conversational tone of this and how you contrast the two worlds. Wonderful imagery and I allowed myself to see a lobster claw in the shape of the poem! Good imagery.

  10. I think this is a great use of imbalance, with the final two stanzas “walking away” from the others to visually represent your final thought. And if you tilt your head to the right, making your dividing line diagonal instead of vertical, it is quite balanced. This is a very visually appealing poem.

  11. Laurie kolp

    Like the visual effect here, Mark!

  12. What fantastic opening lines! Really awesome write.

  13. Oh. I did not want it to end. At all. But the balance was good.

  14. lucychili

    m hard contrast

  15. I guess I liked most things about this. For me it works very well.

  16. I like this very much. An interesting story presented in an interesting way. Do you suppose his shoelaces were a fashion statement ?

  17. What a great story, what contrasts between the haute cuisine and the woman’s non-chalance, all related to the beggarly appearance of the artist. Love can play such cruel tricks, and your story has the classic cast of lovers’ tales which makes it very charming, though at the same time unique.

  18. I have been on both sides of this – the struggling musician (although not a busker, because I needed a keyboard) and the one who waltzes by. Difference? I’d take him out to dinner and listen to his story. The fairies dancing behind his eyelids, yes, yes. Great, Mark, and it’s an unusual sort of “love story,” the two who will never meet on common ground. It’s the life he wants, not the woman, that’s how it played out for me. Amy

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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