A Minion of Death Serves Breakfast at the Wakeup Hotel


Too anorexic to work as a fashion model

(with translucent skin whiter than the ghost

of porcelain drawn tight over his shaved

skull, black apron wrapped like a shroud

around his skeletal frame, eyes set deep

as if peering from a cave, mouth set

in a show of perpetual doom) he has taken

a job as a hotel waiter, moving around

the restaurant with zombie-like efficiency;

he performs his duties wordlessly, with

neither smile nor nod, replenishing the fruits

that nourish the living, with the secret

knowledge that death will take them soon

and he will feast finally on brains.


Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Coffee House on Saturday

At the Coffee House on Cherry Street,

adjacent to the weekly farmers’ market,

Saturday morning bustles with a lively,

energetic crowd breakfasting

or getting their start-up caffeine buzz,

one diligent student type already

camped out with laptop and pile of books.


The layout of the place rather odd,

the vibe hippy crossed with Italian,

ponytailed cashier, shout-outs

from the barista working the espresso machine,

Tuscan scenes painted on one wall,

otherwise slightly rustic-looking decor,

but with modern leather seating.


Noisy right now, a lot of commotion,

but everyone’s laidback, agreeable,

enjoying the weekend atmosphere–

and the iced coffee’s not bad at all.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Lines Written a Few Minutes Before Drinking Some Much Needed Coffee


Tuesday morning I wake to rain,

distant thunder, nothing severe,

the whir of the ceiling fan, birdsong.

Sleeping with windows open a mistake;

my head aches with sinus pain,

but life is short and night air sweet.

It’s still quite early, short of six,

and there was no need for alarm;

my pounding head’s what broke my sleep.

The commotion I hear is just the cat,

skating the hardwoods on fuzzy feet,

scoring mouse-puck under sofa.

Bathroom. Feed and water her.

Hungry, need aspirin, but back to bed.

Rain harder now, a bit of breeze

feels good as it caresses skin.

I lie and listen to the cars

pass slowly on the dampened street;

a poet, I want the exact word,

for that sound, but it eludes me.

I listen closely and discover

northbound, south don’t sound the same.

Birds a little quieter now,

probably looking for breakfast with the

arrival of grayish light.

Sevenish, I should rise, there’s work

to do, just at home, but still.

Though it’s not especially dark,

I flip on the reading light—

the table lamp has a short; it needs

replacement, but I can’t remember;

with that signal, my favorite allergen

jumps on my pillow, wants

a snuggle, a rub, a scratching of ears.

Her coat is soft, brushed last night;

she feels warm, but her nose

presses cold against my face.

Starving now, I must get up,

pull on shorts, look for food.

Head hurts too much to try to cook,

think what’s easy, banana maybe,

smeared with a bit of peanut butter,

followed by juice with a handful of aspirin.

Is it just me, or is that coffeemaker

slower than the dawning of the next

major epoch of geological time?

That’s the poem; it ends here, I think.

But where’s the moral, the lesson, the insight?

No one, I assure you, is more curious than I.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper