I am a Storyteller, first and foremost. This is my blog for poetry, prose, stories, excerpts of my novels and videos. Been writing since the age of 7. Can't stop or I'll die. Life poetry, prophetic poetry, poetry for all genres. I think you'll find yourself here if you read long enough. Warning: I am a very funny girl with many layers.....
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Friday, March 17, 2017
NIGHT TRAIN TO THE STARS AT THE ALL NIGHT CAFE my second favorite thing I've ever written
Night Train To The Stars
At The All Night Cafe
It was raining........
(It always is in these kind of tales)
The night was dark and chilly
With a bitter wind howling
In between the raindrops
I was trying to finish my shift
And slip out of the cafe
Before the club crowd overtook us
As soon as the music died.
There was an old man
Sitting in the back booth mumbling
As he always did on Saturday nights
Drinking a cup of coffee
(Literally, one cup of coffee)
Nursing it for hours
Until it was as cold as ice
Making that buck twenty-five
Last till my boss gave him the evil eye.
My apron was a lovely shade
Of ham and eggs
Twelve kinds of beverages
Two globs of catsup
Nine colors of what-the-hell
(I'm sure Hollywood
Would have been impressed)
The trucker in the corner was
He kept trying to catch my eye
And I kept going blind
And refilling his iced tea
While keeping my distance
From his hard driving hands.
Ah, there came the club kids
Nose rings, black eyeliner
Purple hair, half a skirt
Smelling like vodka
And dancing to music
That evidently played in the back
Of their minds
And that was just the boys
The girls were so ugly
They were beautiful
And so young
They made me feel ancient.
Somebody started the jukebox
If I hear "West End Girls" one more time
I'm gonna scream!
And I used to love that song
Two hundred thousand plays ago
Someone should change the songs
In that thing
Oh, great! There goes "The Sultans of Swing"
The truck driver's favorite song
Along with "Money For Nothing."
Not what I work for, that's for sure
I work for nothing.
"You look tired, dear."
An older lady commented softly
And patted my hand as I made my rounds
"Yes, ma'am," I nodded and pushed back
A tendril of hair falling from behind my ear
"You have no idea."
She handed me a bill and smiled
"That's for you, sweetie."
I shoved it into my greasy pocket
And it wasn't until later
That I saw, to my shock
That it was a hundred dollar bill.
Rainy Night in Georgia was playing now
And loneliness overtook me
As it always did when I heard that song
On a Saturday night when it was raining
And I was working for nothing
In this crowded little cafe
In downtown Nowhere City
I should be on a stage somewhere, I thought
Or on t.v., in a movie.......
At the very least, in a commercial
For Purina Dog Chow or T.G.I.Fridays
When would I ever catch a break?
"I'm gonna catch a night train to the stars."
The old man with the coffee
Suddenly announced and got to his feet
"I hear ya, mister." I said tiredly
"You catch one for me."
And he looked at me strangely
As I began to mop the table
And take away his cup still half full
Of black caffeine
"No, really, I'm gonna do it." he insisted
"Tonight's the night. Taking that night train
Right up to the stars. You'll see."
And he pulled his tattered coat on
And went out the door in a blast of rain and wind
While I deposited his dollar twenty five
Inside the register.
A sad looking black guy
Put some change into the jukebox
And "I Can't Make You Love Me"
By the heartbreaking Bonnie Raitt starts up
"Oh, great!" I say out loud
"Now I'll have to kill myself!"
And all the customers look at me
And the boss looks at me and the black guy
Looks at me and shrugs and flashes
A million kilowatt smile
"Well, girl," he says, "If you would just
Give me the time of day
I wouldn't have to play that song no more."
And he kinda laughs and everybody laughs
But I notice that his smile fades before
They stop laughing.
"Phone call for you." the boss tells me
And tries to hand me the phone
But I say, "Tell them I'm not here
I have never been here, I ain't never
Gonna be here and you have no idea
Where I am or even if I exist."
He makes an exasperated sound
And turns his back, talking into the phone
Above the noise of a motorcycle gang
Making their grand entrance
Into our glorious establishment.
"It's your lover." the boss says
With his hand over the phone
And a wicked gleam in his eye
And the club kids with their Patty Melts
And the motorcycle guys with their chains
All kind of snicker and watch to see
What I will do
"He's my stalker!" I retort
"I have nothing to say to him!"
And I run to the back and leave
The whole cafe waiting there
With baited breath for the next episode
Of my pathetic little waitress life.
I take off the filthy apron
And the faded peach uniform
In the tiny restroom hardly big enough
For a toddler
Pull on my jeans and tight white T
Put on some pink lipstick, run a brush
Through my unruly curls
And thrust my weary feet
Into some stiletto heels
That I know are gonna be the death of me
But at that moment, I didn't care.
"Where do you think you're going?"
The boss screams like he's my daddy
When he sees me rounding the counter
Clutching my jacket and my fake leather purse
Making a bee line for the glass door
And the freedom of the dark, city streets
"I've been working for 10 hours, man." I say
"I've got to get out of here."
"You can't leave me like this!" he bellows
And every customer in the place, to a man
Bellows, "Yeah, you can't leave us like this!"
And they all erupt in raucous laughter.
A police car flies past the door, lights flashing
Sirens piercing my eardrums as a roll of thunder
Crashes over my head
I step outside into the rain and wind
Holding my jacket over my head and wishing
I had a decent coat
To my right I see the police car come to a stop
Out by the train tracks
I hear the wail of an ambulance
Slamming it's way through volumes of traffic
And I briefly wonder what's going on
But my mind is only full of myself.
"Baby, it's cold out side."
I hear a familiar voice singsong into my ear
And an arm goes round my waist and turns
Me away from the lights and trouble
And I am pressed up against the cafe wall
And kissed by a man who probably
Should be on his way to prison
"You've got to stop doing this." I warn
And let him fold me into his warmth
And hunger and loneliness and love
"I can't." he breathes, his dark eyes flashing
In the neon
"I can't live without you. I want you to come home."
"Maybe someday." I say and try to pull away
But not really wanting to
"I've got these big dreams, you know
I want to be somebody, do something great
Before I get old and die. I can't do that
In no god-forsaken small ass country town."
"Yes, you can." he insists and pulls me closer
"I'll help you. We'll get married and I'll give you
The moon and the stars. I'll get rich. I'll take you
To Hollywood in a big limousine and everybody
Will see that you're the most beautiful girl in the world."
But I know that will never happen
Johnny's just a country boy running his daddy's farm
Nobody ever got rich farming
My folks don't have two dimes to rub together
My sister works at the Dairy Queen
My brother at the Save-A-Lot
None of their dreams will ever come true
I can't go back there
Not even for this tall, hard-bodied man with dark eyes
That I love with almost all my heart.
"Please." he whispers and I shake my head
And turn back to the scene of the ongoing tragedy
Rain hitting me in the face now as I drop my jacket
And watch them loading an old man onto a gurney
His face covered with a white sheet
"The Coffee Man!" I exclaim and feel a lump
Start to form in my throat
"Dude, did you see that?" a teenager shouts
Across the street to another
"That old guy just walked right into an oncoming train!"
"Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" I cry and bury my face
In my lover/stalker's muscled chest
"Come on, baby, let me buy you a cup of coffee."
And I let him lead me back inside, sit me down
At the Coffee Man's table and hold me tenderly
As I cry, not just for the tragedy, but for him
And for me and for all my dreams and mislaid plans
My tired feet and my restless mind
"He really did take the night train to the stars."
I say finally, pulling myself away against the window
"And maybe those are the only stars he'll ever see."
I could hear the sirens fading into the distance
As the thunder roared and the sky poured down
It's icy, silver tears almost as cold as my heart
The room was still full of customers, young and old
Black and white, low and high
You could barely hear the tinkle of ice in sweaty glasses
No one laughed, no one coughed, no one got up and left
Someone had pulled the jukebox cord out of the wall