Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Panera Poet, 2

Okay, time to quit stalling. Last time I told you about our (my) Sunday morning routines, one of which is to compose (in my head) and recite to Joyce--as we're leaving the Panera in Hudson following our breakfast/New York Times-reading--a quatrain based on something recent in our experience and on the coffee at Panera. A blend, if you will.

About the time I started these verses, Panera was introducing its "new dark roast." And that--for some reason--set me off. Here's one of the earliest ones, from December 13, 2009. At the time, I was teaching English III at Western Reserve Academy--and Hamlet was part of our curriculum (as it has been since, oh, 1605 or so). Here you go ...

Prince Hamlet climbed the castle stairs,
And there he heard the Ghost:
“I do not want revenge, my son;
I want some new dark roast!”

Already, I believe, you can see--after just one example--the level of "poetry" we're talking about here. Pure doggerel, of course, worthy of little but an evanescent amusement on a Sunday morning before going to the grocery store. (You'll have to ask Joyce for a more scholarly opinion--she, after all, until now, has been the sole audience for this sort of thing.) 

I'll put some more examples--older and more recent--at the end of this, but I do want to talk about the pressure of having to do this, every Sunday we're in town. I have sort a deal with myself: I do not start thinking about it until Sunday morning, when I'm working on my bread dough. I usually have something by the time the dough is ready to set aside, and I continually go over the thing in my head while I'm in the shower, dressing, heading to Panera. I always drop Joyce off first, then go park the car closer to Acme (the grocery that shares a large parking lot with Panera and other businesses in the little cluster); while I walk to Panera from the car, I go over it a few more times. Inside, reading the Times and munching on a toasted bagel, I review it a few more times.

Then ... we leave Panera, and as we step outside, Joyce turns to look at me, as if to say, "Well, did you remember to do one today?!!?" She does not actually say these words--she is not such a human being. But ... she does look.

Sometimes I forget when I'm downstairs, preparing the bread. I have on several (many?) occasions composed the dumb thing while walking from the car to Panera; one time I had to do it while actually seated at the table in the restaurant...  But I'm generally a little more--what?--foresightful? Usually, they're ready to go when we hit the exit door.

Okay ... here's an assortment of the good, the bad, and the ugly (minus the good):

Oh, she was dressed in L. L. Bean, 
And he was in J. Crew,
But neither of them had my style, 
For I had dark roast new!

Some cannibals grabbed Henry Stanley,
Tossed him in a stew.
“I know a better taste!” he cried.
“Panera’s dark roast new!”

6/19/2011 (Father’s Day)
Both Joyce and Dan had fathers, who
Of course had fathers, too.
Today let’s celebrate those men
With cups of dark roast new!

I'm getting tired of this--a couple more recent ones.

The doe was swift, and I am glad,
For I would be so blue
If I had hit that lovely thing:
I’d drink no dark roast brew.

9/28/2014 (after seeing James Gandolfini’s final film, The Drop)
Yes, Gandolfini’s final role—
He died then, it is true,
But he lives on in celluloid.
We toast him! (Dark roast brew!)

I'm sure you have the idea now--sadly so. My son will be glad to know that all of these are in my journal, so one day he will have the pleasure of reading the thousands of Panera Poems his feckless father had composed on Sunday mornings when he could have been doing something more ... useful.

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