‘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
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
Micheal Casey I have been trying to get you on my cable show. Where are you ?
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.
Paul, I found my copy of “Millrat”. Will read again.
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.