Next up in our series of pieces from Crossroads III, we have “Lousy Food and Warm Beer” by Olivia Vande Woude. The rhythm of this poem is just beautiful. Look for a new poem each week, and submit to Crossroads IV now! And thank you Olivia!


Lousy Food and Warm Beer


Beads of raspberry paletta sink onto the tips of my fingers

Creating a bright film of sugary madness.


Watch a rugged man take a drag from his white cigarette



Rolling the blanketed tobacco between fingertips



Smoke billows

A column of dream.


Bandana, an indigo color

with a black tail of paisley.


Wrapped cloth sits precariously

On sunburned ears


Shirt boasts:

“Fishermen’s day in Stonington: nineteen ninety one”

“Day” barely

A splatter of paint


From when he worked

on Old Burt Beeson’s cottage.


Smokes the butt down to a nub

Dropping it carefully

Stomping it to a fine grey ash.


Paisley reassured,

he enters the shingled pub

whose vinyl sign promises,


“Lousy Food and Warm Beer”.