Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Simms: Oh Darlin’

I like it when women I don’t know
Call me Darlin’. There’s something
Kind and generous in the tone
 
Without being sexual. The intimacy
Of strangers is luminous, the way
We wish well for the man who lost
 
His car keys, the woman coming in
Out of the rain, the girl who missed
Her bus, the boy who stutters.
 
The waitress who offers more coffee
Calls all the men at my table darlin’.
She may be somebody’s wife,
 
Somebody’s mother, somebody’s
Friend, but right now, to us
She’s the intimate stranger
 
Named Dolores, which means sadness,
Inviting us with a smile to have dessert.
You want me to alamode that 
For you, Darlin’?

This poem was first published in The Banyan Review, edited by Tayve Neese.

From American Ash published by Ragged Sky. Copyright 2020 Michael Simms.

For a limited time, Michael Simms is giving away free copies of American Ash to anyone who makes a new $20 donation to a progressive cause. Simply send an email with your mailing address and a note saying which organization you donated to. Here’s the ordering address: redcedardistribution(at)gmail.com.

photo by Liz Barclay

14 comments on “Michael Simms: Oh Darlin’

  1. chucktaylorauthor
    August 21, 2020

    Fine poem, and quite perceptive. I do get a slight erotic tingle when I get called darling by waitresses, and they often get larger tips by doing it. I know because my stepdaughter was long a waitress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      August 21, 2020

      Thanks, Chuck. Tips aside, it is a pleasant custom that has always pleased me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Russell
    August 8, 2020

    Smiled at this one. Not a stellar poem, but nice, you know?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jfrobb
    August 8, 2020

    Just what I needed to read today. i am definitely with you on all of it! Many thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Barbara Huntington
    August 8, 2020

    All I could think of was the square dance I did as a child, She Calls Everybody Darlin’. I could sing the entire call to you, but I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday except there was no one suggesting a little pie for dessert. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a coffee shop like that, but then it feels like forever since I have shared a meal with anyone other than the Jizo statue on my counter. What memories this invoked! Thanks, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joe Ahearn
    August 8, 2020

    Thanks for this poem, Michael. This is what we need: a poetics of generosity and engagement with human community.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Arlene Weiner
    August 8, 2020

    I love this poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. melpacker
    August 8, 2020

    I wonder how any of us would feel if the server were male or whose gender might be unclear and who addressed us the same way?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      August 8, 2020

      I actually have had men in drag address me as “darling.” I liked it. But that’s a different poem.

      Liked by 2 people

    • anotherkatewilson
      August 29, 2020

      I think that’s a really interesting question… I quite like a “Darlin'” from a waitress too, but having been asked “who are you here with dear” at a conference, for me it would seem patronising coming from a man. Unless they were in drag. 🙂 I think the gender of the customer might be more important than the server on this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. glen brown
    August 8, 2020

    Love it!

    Glen Brown

    Liked by 1 person

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