Cribbed Agency

(After a grating entrée)

No matter how I madly strove
to make sense of the garlic clove
the waitress gave me with my plate,
it simply made me more irate.
And thus, like a rambunctious child,
I called her to me, half beguiled
that I could make the gal accede
to claims of my frustrated need.
But rather than impart polite
directives for my addling plight,
she seized the garlic with her hand
and, seemingly to reprimand
me, grated it upon my bread,
while I bemoaned what lay ahead.


Turning Tables

“He’s being co-operative,” she told
her boss, like one interrogating me,
and not a waitress serving casserole.
Perhaps she feared – discerning my esprit-
I’d try to breach the wall of the control
she exercised with an indulgent charm
compatible with her maternal role.
Indeed, how fast she managed to disarm
my cocksure manner, even as she’d shape
my sensibilities till in accord
with hers. Nor was I anxious to escape
the fantasy of being deemed her ward.
I heeded the assessment that she made,
and grew excited that I’d made the grade.

Co-operation didn’t feel like much
of an intimidating exercise
concerning someone with that tender touch.
For who’s the guy insisting otherwise
who spent his childhood at the mother’s breast?
Remembrance of dependence still remains,
and I had neither will nor way to test
resources that she had, or lift my chains.
Indeed, the maître d’ attested he
would see me soon while I approached the door
to leave. And pointing at her, I said she
would be the person I’d be looking for;
not as a knight to damsels wooed with sword,
but as a vassal to his feudal lord.



Beleaguering her for the kind remark
my fortune cookie said would warm a frost,
I dressed myself in shark skin to embark
on my constrained desire to accost
this waitress. She just purred that I was cute!
No patronizing nod to manly pride
to make me feel like some stud in pursuit
of pleasure she’d indulgently provide.
She made of me a child of her conceit;
a plaything she’d adroitly entertain
until she made maternal whims complete.
In any case, while I played ardent swain
whose courting tactics were somewhat amiss,
she smothered me with eiderdowns of bliss.


Love Forlorn

How well the seeds of passion taking root
from smatterings of chatter in the brain,
had generated hopes of future fruit.
Propitious memories would serve as rain
to whet the appetite to meet again
for five more weeks. But hence, you weren’t there
in your seductive efflorescence when
I’d hoped to pluck the rosebuds from your hair.
Instead the prickly waiters seen were male
who, demonstrating artfully they care,
seemed more evocative of rankling hail
than harvest stimulating husbandry.
Nor was I just content to watch them breed
in spite of me, but stomached them like weed

that strangled my love’s garden of delight.
Each kindling sprout became a mockery.
And buds of summer blossomed like a blight
that singed my strangled sensibility.
I huddled in their presence like a fading spray
that lingers haplessly upon a branch
which, pregnant once as any bud in May,
is fated on its withered twig to blanch.
I neither had the will nor way to bloom
beside the dried up season of my dreams.
I just craved room to morbidly exhume
the reasons for my lover’s seeming schemes.
My labored steps now trod with rank dismay,
and stomped to dust each rosebud in my way.


Lost Quatrain

I’m inconsolable in my remorse.
What matter that I wrote those lines again
by tapping into my creative source?
What’s lost is lost. Though pregnant womb or pen
engendered it, its absence sears the brain
with phantom presences whose flesh and bone
remind us they’re the progeny of pain.
Resurgent labor spawned a twin or clone.
But rather than replace the child that’s lost,
the other only brings into relief
emotional investments and the cost
conceiving it, intensifying grief.
Thus, losing what my muses helped create
I wallow in implacable self-hate.


Frank De Canio was born and bred in New Jersey, and works in New York. 

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2 Responses

  1. John Toivonen

    The rhyme scheme works well in “Cribbed Agency”. While we think of poetry as dealing with grand issues, an everyday experience such as eating food in a restaurant can serve as an the subject of poetry. Also, your poem is humorous.

    • Frank De Canio

      Thanks a lot, John for your comment. Most of my poems come out of encounters with well, women! LOL!


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