Issue > Poetry
Paul Doty

Paul Doty

Paul Doty is a Reference Librarian at St. Lawrence University and resides in Canton, New York with his wife and youngest daughter, a house full of books, and a garage full of canoes.

American Primitive

Early supper in a nearly empty diner my sons and I do Edward Hopper in whispers and cheeseburgers. The place is bright, the proprietor (judging by what's framed) loves motorcycles and a brunette who plays a Rickenbacker guitar—we are navigating any diner's Lilliput: linoleum table tops, paper napkins, simple stainless steel cutlery, warm thick china plates loaded with food painted spatula and fryer on plain but tightly stretched appetites. A Budweiser comes for me in a teenage shot glass, and my sons are off after supper to their late teen sketch book lives peopled by hastily drawn pencil studies of buddies who are themselves objects tumbling over paper yet to experience anything about the still life, being composed. Talk turns out to be expensive when days are always Jackson Pollock's paint flying with Pollock-ish testosterone, talk is brush strokes and broken pencil there and then on the floor. The place is empty, the waitress overly attentive, we talk in hushed voices, our words pencil scratch, intermittent laughter the subjects rearranged for another sketch, another quick study, the coleslaw otherwise uneaten on the younger one's plate. Not Da Vinci's Last Supper not Van Gogh's Potato Eaters this meal is my face in ball point pen on napkin one shared laugh, two hugs, two tail lights and short set of concrete steps watching them go this life has to be a composition or it doesn't make any sense.

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