‘Coffee Truck’ by Michael Casey

This is one of my favorite poems by Michael Casey, Lowell High School alumnus and now Andover resident, who is the award-winning author of a classic book of poems about the Vietnam War. Michael and Nicholas Samaras (also with Lowell connections) will be reading together in Lowell next spring in a program sponsored by the Hellenic Culture and Heritage Association of Lowell and UMass Lowell Center for Arts and Ideas. Both Michael and Nicholas have won the prestigious Yale Younger Poet Award, in 1972 and 1992 respectively. This poem is from Michael’s book of Lowell poems, “Millrat” (Adastra Press, 1999). To order copies, write to Adastra Press, 16 Reservation Road, Easthampton, MA 01027. This is a good poem for a hot summer day when you are thinking about a cold tonic.—PM


Coffee Truck


the coffee truck once ran out

of Tahitian Treat at the mill

so for a long time I used to get Wink

and the coffee truck guy told me a story

he said the mending room girls

always used to get

Halfnhalf with their lunch

then for a long time

he couldn’t get Halfnhalf

only Polynesian Punch

and when the guy got Halfnhalf back

they wouldn’t touch it

they was so used

to getting Polynesian Punch

so when the guy got back Tahitian Treat

he thought I wasn’t gonna touch it either

but I went right back

to getting Tahitian Treat

no more Wink for me after that

I fooled the guy

and he was surprised too


—Michael Casey (c) 1999

4 Responses to ‘Coffee Truck’ by Michael Casey

  1. joe from Lowell says:

    Great poem.

    The rhythm sounds like somebody telling a story around mouthfuls of food. It felt like I was back working a job where I bought lunch off a truck and ate it sitting on the ground with a bunch of other guys.


  2. PaulM says:

    The poets from Lowell, whether born here, living here, working here, whatever, write poems that people want to read. At least we try to write that way. Walt Whitman declared: “To have great poets there must be great audiences.” Thanks to our readers for being part of the great audience.