Tom’s Waitress

USA - Tom Waits

01 Nov 1993, San Francisco, California, USA — Singer-songwriter, composer, and actor, Tom Waits at the Limbo Lounge Diner in San Francisco. — Image by © Ed Kashi/Corbis

I have a secret I must confess

I want to be Tom’s waitress

I want to be the woman who holds the flame

that lights the cigarette of the holy gravelly voiced one in a game

of coffee and rolls adoration

hopeless hospitality infatuation

I want to stand at his table with his head at my torso

ask him what he wants and point out that also

we have love consuming wine to go with his meal

and like Mary Magdelene at his feet I will kneel

shine up his shoes with spittle of awe

tickle his toes so I can hear him guffaw

yes yes I must confess

I want to be Tom’s waitress


I want to be Tom’s waitress

not such an impossible dream I guess

I could find him in America by sailing across the sea

pull pen and pad out of pocket and say so baby what’ll it be

I could sing you a song about toasted cheese sangers

or perhaps you’d prefer to eat mash and bangers

I know a cool poem about being perpetually drunk

or we could gaily swap stories on the virtues of punk

I could serve you up a slice of our best grapefruit moon

and while you’re consuming it I’ll quietly swoon

I’d pluck up the courage when time was in fullness

and say I’ve always wanted to meet you your coolness

yes yes I must confess

I want to be tom’s waitress


I want to be the waitress of Tom

not his daughter or lover or sister or mom

just an anonymous girl in his old café scene

that he strikes up a chat with at the coffee machine

a charmed willing object for his observation

transformed into lyrics via sweet inspiration

and when he’s busily chopping out that song

I’d jump in his piano and say take me along

I’ll serve you up pancakes with wasabi and mustard

he’ll look at me strange and say baby you’ve lost it

but a look is a look and it’s enough to satisfy

and I’d drink in that glorious gaze and happily die

yes yes I must confess

I want to be Tom’s waitress


tom’s waitress is published in you near verse (2014) selected poems by vasudha harte

recorded versions are available on stereognostic (2011) by dinkum bohos and an evening of poetry and music (2015) by dinkum bohos

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