Home > The Crowd > Night at the Interstate Diner

Night at the Interstate Diner

December 10, 2010

by James Brush

I ran in circles that turned into spirals leading me
back to the same crowds I hoped to escape.
These crowds gathered around holes in the ground,
at truckstops and on famous San Francisco street corners
where they offered drugs and hookups. Did you know
a straight line inscribed on a sphere is a circle?
Driving deep into the night chasing headlights
flickering with bugs, the circles became too much
and I sought crowds in muddy-tile interstate diners
offering tired-eyed cigarette and coffee warmth.
Not conversation, rather a simple acknowledgement
that we’re all of us out here, millions, a crowd
dispersed along asphalt lines and stretched so thin
we hardly seem a crowd. But at night, we’re
all in the same place. Tired alone worn out
and looking for others to remind us that we’re
not the last ones left. Out there, beyond the pooling
rest stop lights, there is nothing. Nobody
you’d want to meet. It’s warm here. Stay with us.
Listen to these whispered stories. We’ll all be moving on
come morning, a crowd stretched again to the breaking,
forgetful and perhaps just a little embarrassed
that we needed to come together in the long last night.


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James Brush lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, cat and two rescued greyhounds. He teaches English in a juvenile correctional facility. He doesn’t mind crowds if the music is good or the game is well-played. A list of publication credits and links can be found here. You can find him online at Coyote Mercury.

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  1. December 10, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    A very nice reading of a fine poem. Congratulations, James!

  2. December 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    ‘a crowd stretched again to the breaking ‘

    what an honest moment & authentic voice. enjoyed.

  3. Alex Cigale
    December 30, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    We’re putting the Translation issue to bed and I’m finally catching up with all the great stuff in Crowds I had missed, yours among the foremost. Just wanted to let you know you will be joining us for the next number, and I am still pushing for more than one of the three (iCoyote has the six of us completely split down the middle; fascinating but I still don’t know how it can be settled). More good poems to you in 2011!

  4. January 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

    @Sherry and Sherry, Thanks.

    @Alex, Thank you. I’m excited to see how Translation comes out.

  1. December 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm
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