Diner Destiny

milkshake, Pixabay, MorningbirdPhotoA milkshake is plopped down in front of me just as I decide to skedaddle. How can I possibly enjoy this guilty pleasure when my boss, the head of the English Department, the man I’ve crushed on for ten years, is sitting at the diner counter like a solitary cowboy with his gun (well in this case his silver pen) cocked and ready for battle? (click here to see Part I, Diner Dilemma)

Perhaps cocked is not the correct term. But Frank Jensen, Dr. Jensen if you please, writes poetry that zings like a bullet to your gut. He puts words together like a magician on LSD.  He hits his target with such precision that long-time tenured professors have quit or retired early if Jensen sets his sights on their profession.

 “Any chance this can be poured into a ‘to go’ cup?” I ask the waitress. However, I reach for the goblet of delight and place my lips on the straw, sucking in the sweet nectar of calorie guilt.

“Too late,” she smirks. But I’m not paying attention to her. Frank, Dr. Jensen, is scribbling on his newspaper.

Suddenly, the shake gives me the shakes. tanka, tanka structure, poetry

He’s known for his tankas, is Dr. Frigging Brilliant and Handsome Jenson. Yup, tankas, the deceptively simple 5/7/5/7/7, 31-syllable, five-line poem. His famous one set the Theology Department on fire.

Stars are heaven sent

Escaped light from the Bright One

Who leads us to war

To fight for the powerful

Presence of sheer nothingness.

After that poem was short listed for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, our Theology Department at the University disappeared.

poetry, newspaper, blog, romanceBut I digress, and I also finish off more than half my milkshake before I realize that my literary heartthrob, the man I dream about when dreams turn hot and sexy, the man who scares the you-know-what out of me, approaches my corner table, newspaper in hand.

His face is as pink as a blush, and his words stumble underneath his brown face mask.    “I . . .  well. Surprising to see you here, Dr. Limone.”

“Pauline,” I stutter.

“Yes, well.” Frank Jensen turns to go, but then he slowly, softly places the newspaper on my table. His blue ink is clear on the weather page, a five-line Tanka written on the map.

The title of the poem is “Pauline.” poetry, poem on newspaper, romance

My hands reach for the newspaper, but then I glance up to peer into Jensen’s eyes. Do I dare?

Dear Reader: If you answer YES to Pauline’s question, read Frank Jensen’s Tanka, below.

poetry, romance, tanka

149 thoughts on “Diner Destiny

  1. I love this!! It’s wonderful to see your writing skill on display, Pam. I am in awe of your ability to write stories and poems AND to incorporate them together into delightful vignettes.

    And your header photo?? Perfect! I want to go to that diner.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The new banner invited me into your story. What a temptress you are, Pam! I hope you think that your putting “words together like a magician on LSD” is a compliment.

    Great marriage of poetry and prose! oxo

    Liked by 4 people

    • I was a little worried about that description, but Dr. Jensen had a hard edge (as did his poetry) until now. Pauline has softened him so his poetry is more magical, and less harsh and “out there.” Love will do that to a person. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • I was nervous about my second parter – didn’t want to disappoint. But love always wins in the end. Or at least we hope so. And if not, we always can have a chocolate shake. 🙂 ❤
      "Love for the pages" – that's great!

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  3. Clearly one can have the milkshake and drink it too with a side of romance. Your writing hooks me in like a rabbit chasing a bright orange carrot through twists and turns. Always intriguing Pam.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Diner milkshakes–especially chocolate ones—are the absolute best. And Pauline should grab the bit and share her milkshake with him–or, offer to buy him one! I would never have guessed this ending in a million years, Pam, but I do love romantic endings! This was worth waiting a week for! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Why does sadness come,
    Somehow sully my scarred heart?
    The quaint sense of loss?
    A Valentine with pierced heart?
    Love must prevail over all!

    A Special Tanka for a Lycoming College ‘Warrior Princess’: Pamela Wight.

    Liked by 4 people

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  7. Awwwww … love this! Here are my takes on this, Pam.
    1 – no one is ever meant to eat all green food, so any break in that can only lead to good things. 2 – Diners are magical places, and it is only fitting that they both should be in the same one at the same time. 3 – Love can find us anywhere. Anywhere.
    This could really be a great short story. 🙂

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  8. I have been looking forward to this week‘s instalment of the Diner shenanigans. You have me at “…sucking in the sweet nectar of calorie guilt.” I have heard the word, tanka, yet I have no idea what type of poem and parameters to follow. Now is this your tanka, Pam? Or is there an actual Dr. Jenson? Just to set the record straight….I thought you were happily married.🙂

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    • Oh, you are so sweet and fun, Erica. Yes, I am happily married to an exceptional man. Who puts up with my stories and reads them on this blog every Friday morning, wearing a goofy grin. Professor Frank and Pauline are indeed fictional, but I can really see them in that diner, can’t you, sipping on milk shakes. I “channeled” the professor to create his Tankas. First one had to be dark and rather nihilistic. The second one shows how he’s lightened up . . . thanks to L O V E. ❤

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    • Thank you thank you Debby. You are encouraging me to write TWO books. The one in progress will be a compilation of my non-fiction short shorts, but soon after, I think I’ll next write one with my flash FICTION. Your recent post about fiction vs non-fiction is provocative and thoughtful!

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  10. Awww … did you hear the big sigh of happiness from across the ocean!? Pam, I loved the direction of your story, the blending of poetry and prose, your ingenious handwritten tanka at the end! Wow, Mr Jensen is quite the writer, smiling how he ‘He puts words together like a magician on LSD’. Yet, I feel his huge success is not so popular with all the colleagues who have since left the university! Reading the paper Pauline will fall absolutely for this man! Another great story, Pam – you’ve got a real gift for these!❤️

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    • I DID hear your sigh, Annika, and it came with 45 mph winds and a foot of snow!! 🙂 I love love your enthusiasm, even if it includes a blizzard. THANK you, because i was a little worried that I’d disappoint my readers with how Pauline’s diner adventure turned out. But I just gotta go where the character (and the professor poet) lead me. ❤

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  12. Beautifully written, Pam. That milkshake at the start already had me thinking was going to be a bit of a sweet story…and it is. So cute that both of them seem a bit shy with each other 😊


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