Derek R. Audette

Rookie (June 16th,1971 / Hull, Quebec, Canada)

Seven Dollar Breakfast - Poem by Derek R. Audette

I sat down for breakfast
one morning
at a favorite delicatessen
of mine
in downtown Ottawa.
This particular delicatessen
has the best smoked meat sandwiches
in the city,
but I wasn't there for that.
On this day,
I was there for breakfast.

Bacon and two
with a side of sausage
and a toasted,
sesame seed bagel
with cream cheese
and a bottomless coffee.

About seven bucks
worth of food
if you get there before
eleven a.m.,
which I rarely do.
I’m rarely even awake
before eleven a.m.
I work nights mostly

A family sits at the table next to me.
A father,
mother,
and daughter.

As they sit down,
the two women of the group,
place identical
matching purses
on their table.

The purses are odd looking,
very small,
tiny even,
black and gold,
quite ugly,
but each identical to the other.

The young daughter,
about eighteen I’d say,
and
very pretty,
begins to rifle through her purse.

“You’ve got too much stuff in there! ”
the mother exclaims.
“You’re going to ruin your purse!
You just got it! And it’s going to be ruined!
You paid
twelve-hundred dollars
for that purse,
and you’re not even gonna have it a week
before it’s ruined! ”

'Twelve-hundred dollars? ' I thought.

There is actually
more than
two-thousand dollars
worth of purses
sitting on the table next to me.
Incredible!
I didn’t think people who would
spend that kind of money
on such frivolous things
actually existed.

Then I thought:
“There sits two people
who need to be taken out
into a field somewhere,
made to kneel in the grass,
and then shot
in the back of the head,
execution style.
Then skinned;
their hides tanned
and branded
with a description
of their crimes.
Then,
their empty flesh
placed high on a pike
for everyone to see,
until they rot
in the sun and rain
and are pecked apart
by birds
and devoured
by
necropaghi.

Meanwhile,
outside
on the street,
less than a few blocks away,
homeless people
were begging for nickels
for food.

Jesus!
Buy a thirty dollar fucking purse
you stupid bitches!
You cunts!
And do something useful
with the other
eleven-hundred and seventy dollars!

What are people like that
even doing eating
in a place like this anyhow?
A place that serves
a seven dollar breakfast?
Perhaps they are here
for the smoked-meat?

The urge to grab their purses
and toss them out into
the traffic
crawling along
on the filthy, gritty street outside
was almost overwhelming.

'There! ' I'd say.
'Now you don't have your fucking ugly purses
or your twenty-four hundred dollars anymore!
So, shut-up and eat your
fucking breakfast,
or your smoked-meat,
or whatever the hell you are going to order
and think
about what you've done!
And,
think about
who you are!
Think about
what sort of a person
would spend such money
on such a thing! '

I wondered what the homeless man
on the corner
would think
If he knew
that twenty-four hundred dollars
had been spent on two purses.
I wondered what he would do
with that kind of money.

I looked down at my seven dollar
breakfast.
I wondered when the last time was
that he’d eaten a seven dollar
breakfast.

I could have made this same breakfast,
at home,
for two or three dollars.
Maybe I should be taken out
into a field somewhere
and shot
in the back of the head
execution style.


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Read poems about / on: money, daughter, people, food, mother, family, women, city, father, work, rain, home, sun, woman



Poem Submitted: Friday, October 22, 2004

Poem Edited: Saturday, October 23, 2004


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