The first leaves of autumn
Gather under the empty, grey, park benches
That are arranged so neatly
Beneath the one hundred year old oak trees
In the county courthouse yard.
I ask the waitress at the cafe on the corner
Where they’ve all gone –
The old men who used to sit out
On the now forsaken grey benches
Every day that it didn’t rain
They were there until the first snow
The ones who still wore overalls and work boots
Even in retirement – in less than perfect conditions
The ones who carried pocket watches on Brockway fobs
And smoked pipes packed with Prince Albert
Or Muriel cigars or Lucky Strike cigarettes
As they discussed…
the drought and the flood
the County Attorney and the last election
the heat and the cold
the John Birch Society and the N.F.O.
the Warren Court and Richard Nixon
the checkout girl at the Save-a-Lot
the Chicago Bears and the price of gas
the price of haircuts, and Kaiser-Frazer cars
the good war and the bad war
the new war and next war
the wife they’d lost to cancer
the son they’d lost to drink
the daughter they’d lost to Jesus
the friend they’d lost to carelessness
the farm they’d lost to the bank
the life they’d lost to toil
the dreams they’d plowed under
the waitress shrugs
and says that nobody like that has sat on those benches
in over thirty five years.
Sounds to me you need to get a book and sit there for a good long stretch. Not everyone feels like coffee shops are a place to meet and talk. A park bench is an encounter invitation.
That may be so, Biochicklet! I may have to try that. Thank you for reading.
I like your writing style….. In fact I believe you and Alan Carlson could be brothers if you rated Brotherhood on Writing Style…..
Alan blogs over at Shootin’ the Breeze
Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny t
Hey thank you, Kenny, for the link to Mr Carlson’s blog. I just took a look, and I have bookmarked it so I can go back later when I have more time.
Reblogged this on Morning Story and Dilbert.
Thank you so much for the reblog!! I really appreciate it.
It does sound like something that might have happened 35 years ago. I remember a lot of the things mentioned in this post. Thanks for the trip into the dusty attic of my memory.
Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to comment.
That is an excellent poem. And I am now old enough to appreciate it!
Thank you for your kind words. I wrote the poem after visiting my old home town awhile back. The poem was hanging out on my computer collecting ‘electronic dust’ for a long time before I decided to post it.