talk comes at a price.
It is a bargain with the waitress
and the diners get what they need. The eggs are served with sympathy
for another birthday missed.
The road is more than miles for
the trucker who takes them over hard. Booth number 9 is an omelet and oatmeal. A preacher and acolyte looking for a church. The preacher’s collar is frayed and yellowed in service to a god who speaks too softly. At the table by the door farmers drink
coffee and talk of weather, tractors, prices.
They have the look of a dying breed, not because they are old – their sons are off to college, the army, the city, anywhere else.
Daughters will wait,
not one of them will marry a farmer. A young couple passing through
sits in number 8, close almost huddled.
The boy counts coins, his girl looks cold.
The waitress brings hot tea,
“It’s on the house honey.” They order toast
to share, she slips ham onto to the
plate when the cook’s not looking,
“I’ll take that outta your tips.”
He never does. The woman at the end of the counter
tattoos a glass with her lips.
She is the blue plate special, one egg,
one pancake, two strips of hard salty bacon.
The long night gives her an appetite for
comfort and something real before going home
to wash the scent of stale cologne from her hair. Street lights go out. The sun promises warmth.
Diners pay bills, homage, thanks,
and go out to live in the light.
The waitress cleans tables,
counts her tips. She floats from counter to table
to booth serving coffee water eggs toast and some things not on the menu. She takes their orders brings them what they need,
and all of this beneath a sign that says EAT. It’s story time at The Bar…come in and tell yours.
brian miller said:
smiles…cool write…knowing people by what they order….her as a blue plate special plays multiple ways…i like the compassion of the waitress on that one couple…and the cook keeping up his facade but hiding a heart under the gruff…you really set the scene and brought the characters as well in this ron…
This is like an American movie. We don’t have Diners here . Different customers in the different booths …shades of Hitchcock;s “Rear Window”looking at all the different scenarios at once. Some great lines…in a service to a god who speaks too softly. Don’t agree with it though. Our ears are just clogged with crap.
As usual notch up another winner!
Very interesting scene, from the waitress eyes, the lives of people coming and going ~ I specially like “god who speaks too softly”, farmer’s dying breed & woman served with blue plate special ~ One can imagine what had gone on & what is going to happen ~
This is a special “treat” tonight, smiles ~
I’ve traveled a lot alone, so the scene was very vivid for me. The kind of waitress one hopes to find. Patrons that are the same wherever you go along the highways. Very nice.
Ron, I read your poem a few times — savoring the scene that you set for us & appreciating all of the details you provided. You made the diner/restaurant come alive; and I hope that waitress got some good tips. A fine story here.
I love your poetry. It always strikes a chord with me. I love the identification of customers by what they order, the compassion of the waitress. Beautifully rendered scene.
K. A. Brace said:
Very well done. Excellent narrative control and a sense of mystery to it. >KB
Ronald E. Shields said:
thank you KB.
comfort food…. but the comfort isn’t the food.
Raven Spirit said:
I didn’t participate in this prompt but I have really enjoyed reading the stories. Yours is well written, it is full and tells us of each one there. I liked it alot.
Ron, excellent characterizations and pace. Sometimes words catch more than a photo – and this is one of those times ~
very cool… those diners have a lot of stories to tell… i would love to sit there a bit and just watch people…maybe sketch them..very cool capture
anmol(alias HA) said:
Wonderful… great setting and story-telling. The brief background of all those sitting there shared and the character sketch of waitress… moving here and there serving them all. I really liked it and the title too(the name of the food joint)… EAT.
I enjoyed the scene you showed, Ron, and the character you portrayed. Being a waitress can be repetitive and dull I am sure but your waitress sounds like someone who cares for her customers.
So well done Ron, an excellent picture portrayed in words.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I love the scenery.. I need to write down more when travelling… … such amount of small stories you weave together here.
one of my all-time favorites.
Ronald E. Shields said:
thanks ann. i have been going through my older poems and tweaking them and in some cases simply rewriting because i don’t like it anymore…not getting rid of the original but posting a revised copy.