Waffle House for Carter
May 27, 2016
this greasy morning coffee,
spattered and scattered breakfast
will not blind the poet’s eye.
The juke box goes cold until
the swolled woman in the red
pleather coat checks out of her
hotel room and into a booth.
Among the spatulas, waffle irons,
grill scrapers, the clatter of breakfast
utensils, this woman is slipped
up under some man who is not
her husband he feeds the juke box
and Otis, Al and Luther rattle
out of the busted overhead speaker.
There’s a dope dealer with a cell
phone in his ear and an orange soda
in his hand covered with gold rings
at the booth across the way.
The Waffle House workers are
checked out, clocked out, off
the floor except for Belinda,
the blond headed black lady who
keeps my coffee full and hot.
I harmonize with the noise of
minimum wage workers and Al,
Luther and Otis and when the lady
stuffs her last dollar into the what-could-be
a Wurlitzer, I feel the need to move
or are my feet just stuck to the floor.
Four cups of coffee are enough to move
a man with prostate problems, eggs
and sausage can’t hurt this heart that’s
been scattered and splattered like the faces
of the patrons at the Waffle House
Early Bird Special. Two rode
hard white alcoholic painters
pulling overtime to keep from
losing their doublewide, a bald
headed brother with Bluetooth
and cheap gold chains hustling
knock off Tim’s out of his
Mercedes with thirty-day tags,
the poor little white girl with big ears
and shiny new braces that her
step-daddy barely can afford on
the tithes he gets from his part-time
gig at the store front church, preaching
to a congregation who believe in waffles,
the salvation of maple syrup. Now Miss
Belinda makes another round with extra
creamer, we all need lightning up she jokes,
I’ve seen it all. What comes out after
midnight ain’t worth speaking about
and church people are piss poor tippers,
Granddaddy said, can’t trust a town where
there are more steeples than liquor stores.
Marty Silverthorne holds degrees from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and East Carolina University. He has published six chapbooks including his latest Holy Ghosts of Whiskey. He has received several grants from the NC Arts Council and in 2015 he won the NC Poetry Society Poet Laureate Award.
What motivates him to create?
I’m infected with the sound of words and what they convey.