mean blonde at El Cotixan

she was wrapped tight
in a light-gray business outfit,
and stood in line
with her behind
blaring at the
two Hispanic landscape workers
crumbled in the back
near an electronic video game.

I was sitting on a stool
waiting for my carne asada burrito,
at El Cotixan
a Mexican drive-by off Avocado Boulevard
with my tortoise-shell Ray-Bans on full blast
and watched as she twisted
her expensive black heels
impatiently into the linoleum.

she was the type who would order
five rolled-chicken tacos,
.sans guacamole
.sans cilantro & onions
.sans salsa verde
.sans any condiments
that might cause her
to fart unexpectedly in the conference room.

she was a delicious corporate blonde
stacked to the hilt,
with a mean and angry disposition
dressed to kill
and the kind
who could make
a man turn into
instant jello.

polla asada torta

I go to Javier's Sombrero
several times a week
to eat Mexican food,
and sometimes
it's the small chubby brown one
working the front counter
with four turquoise rings on his left hand.

and when he's off
it's the thin young girl
with just a hint of a faint black moustache,
working the front counter
looking very much like my sister-in-law
with the tight cheekbones
in Marina Del Rey.

it's the old compadre with pock marks
filling in behind the register,
usually on Saturdays
but they've all taken my order
at one time or another
they seem to know me somehow.

"polla asada torta?" the thin girl
working today's lunch schedule asks
"polla asada torta," I tell her while waving to the cook,
"polla asada torta?"
he asks from the kitchen
"polla asada torta,"
I tell him over the formica.

"you work too hard," I tell him
and we both laugh
"si," he says,
"you need a vacation," I tell him
"you're here every time I come in"
"si," he smiles and puts up two fingers
"I go on vacation in two weeks."

"you go on vacation in two weeks?"
 "si," he says
"I go on vacation in two weeks."
"where?" I ask him
"I stay home," he laughs
"home?" I tell him,
"that's no vacation."

"polla asada torta to go,"
the thin girl nods toward me
"gracias," I tell her as she hands me the sandwich,
I take my lunch bag home
where I catch a half hour of Emerille Lagasse
preparing shrimp jambalaya.
on the Food TV Network.

spotting a redhead

the first thing I noticed
were the maroon freckles
on her legs,
and after I placed an order
for a machaca burrito,
she began
a silly converstation
with her boyfriend


she looked a little like Tallulah Bankhead
from the Hitchcock film
and her boyfriend looked a little like Anthony Perkins
as he came back from the counter,
he was carrying two orders of rolled-chicken taquitos
while I finished reading the box scores.

scene at a Mexican take-out joint

"California Burrito to go," I said,
"potatoes, instead of beans."
"Si.. frijoles,"
the small Hispanic woman standing on a stool
repeated from behind the cash register at El Cotixan.


"3 dollars and 29 cents," she said,
as I grabbed a five from my wallet
while she scribbled down my order
and flipped it to the cook
with the two fingers missing on his right hand.


"California Burrito to go," she said,
handing me 1 dollar and 71 cents.
"No frijoles," I said.
" frijoles," she repeated to herself after ringing me up.
"Si, frijoles," the cook said after getting the slip.


"California beans,"
the little Mexican cashier called into the microphone.
I waved my hand from the back near an electronic video game
walked to the counter
and grabbed two containers of salsa verde.


"Gracias," I said.
"Thank you," she said.
"Juimenos!" I shouted as she gave me my burrito.
she laughed and asked me what
I meant by that.


"Juimenos," I said,
"means 'let's went' in Spanish."
"it was a song by Sam The Sham and the Pharoahs," I told her,
"it was on his first album,"
"the one with Wooly Bully on it."

Charles Frank Roethel

If you've any comments on this poem, Charles Frank Roethel would be pleased to hear from you.

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