Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Eat Cheap, Sleep Cheap: Truck Stops & Diners

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 8:01 am on Saturday, October 23, 2021

by Robert M. Katzman © October 20, 2021


I awake first

Dawn clicking on my brain

Gauze in my eyes

I see the brick-red sheet

Clamped across our windshields

Concealing us from 

Curious Truck Drivers’ eyes

But in reality

No one does that

Peeking is not cool

Some guys have switchblades

Coffee far more important


I see her laying there

A handful of sunlight 

Glinting off of her

Long silvery-grey hair

Spread like a transparent quilt

Across her pretty face

I watch her breathe

She remains enclosed

Tucked between 

Layers of sleeping bags

Above and below

Like a delicate American Pastry

With sweetness still inside


Awaking, she stretches

Looks into my eyes

Playfully asks

“Do you still love me?”

I respond as always in a 

Straightforward way

have no other way

That: I have no 

On or Off switch for love

I can’t comprehend

The bizarre concept of

Loving someone slightly


She reminds me

Like Velcro


We’re not so much

Stuck together

Surprisingly strong


We have traveled across hills

Seen many mountains

Crossed many rivers

Climbed splashing waterfalls

A flowing river 


Serene and falling

Pooling and falling

Like a filmed scene in nature

Repeated by 

A discontented Director

The whole of it 

Far more than its parts


We’ve seen stunning murals painted

On endless small-town walls

Sometimes psychedelic

Sometimes in alleys

Beauty concealed

Who creates such things?

Anonymous art

By an ego-less being?


American Food in American Diners

Runs the spectrum from 

Edible to fabulous

Some rancid coffee should 

Never be poured 

Into innocent cups

But some blessed days

Enchanted coffee spilling down

From Coffee Heaven

(Near Brazil)

The aroma a reason to 

Travel the Interstates

Seeking sublime everything


Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!!!

Oy vey is mir, Bacon!

Crisp, flavorful, wonderful 

And to me

The wandering Jew

Struggling with Kosher

An acceptable Sin

I’ll negotiate later

With the eternally 

Awaiting me

Great Fryer in the Sky


Mostly anonymous 

Gifted cooks

Bless hungry travelers 

With basted eggs

Fried eggs 

Scrambled eggs

Eggs with burned onions

Eggs the Foundation 

Of everything in motion

My two sleepy eyes 

Staring into two 

Poised pale yellow ones

A statement on a plate

So, go eat already!


A weary waitress


With pencil poised

Her ancient wisecrack 

Launched like an arrow




Depending on the gender

Of who’s paying the check


Years of waiting on strangers

Lines radiating fan-like 

Outward from each eye

Lines above them and below them, 

Smile lines framing her dry lips

Lines as distinct 

As the two-lane blacktop

Secondary state roads

My Flame and I roam on


We leave twenty per cent tips

Less left, a slap she feels

As the evil cheapskate

Flees her Diner

All her good work


By the ignorant



On cold rainy nights

No truck-stop in sight

No legal place to alight

Diner-Owners with warm hearts

Have sometimes granted us

Like Mary’s Biblical legend,

“Manger in the Barn”

The Kindness of Strangers

Is a very real thing

In otherwise 

Dark dangerous places

A safe spot to park

No money requested

See you in the morning


We are American Travelers

Rising with the dawn

Filling our fragile 

Vessel of Time

With densely packed

Old Bookstores 


Shadowy Antique Shops 

Inhaling the

Delicious moldy fragrance

Of long-ago castoff treasures

No longer treasured

Discovering ghost advertising 

On ancient bricks

Paint flaking away on 

Century-old brands


Coca-Cola and Tobacco 


After dusk

Dining while weary


Welcoming Diners

Reading our books by lantern

Until sleep claims our heavy lids

And we nestle into our

Sea of soft cushy bags

Within our steel Interstate chamber

Warming each other

Seeking the embrace

Of each other

Seeking the embrace

Of sleep


When morning comes

If still alive

–Because such a morning truly awaits us– 

We go on 

We are Older Beings

With a myriad of pills and creams 

To keep us moving

To keep our worn-out selves

Walking and lifting and climbing

Mr Pain an accepted new companion

Hoping Ms Mercy might come with us, too


We have no time to waste

We brace against

Our fear from falling

One vital broken something

Ending our dreams

Holding hands tightly

We together seek

What we’ve never seen

Exploring water moving as it wills,

Light as a Celestial Painter

The Sky its pallet

Human imagination in

Unanticipated Architectural

Creation beyond our expectations

The completely Black Sky

A thick infinite cover

To pull over us


Before someone

Some shadowy all-powerful 


Takes away our keys

Shows us our medicines

Hands us small cups

Of tepid water

Tells us we must sleep now


And all we’ll have left

Are our dreams


Diners and Truck Stops

Wondrous turns in the road

And how grand it was

Once upon a time

To do all of this

My Flame and I




Publishing News!

(Currently seeking representation as a speaker/poet for hire)

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998 (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1) $3.95; (2) $5.95; (3) $7.95; (4) $8.95 (5) $9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9) $13.95 (10) $15.95 (15) $19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools can call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My two latest books are available in the Racine Wis Public Library. Both books are labeled: 921 KAT. ROB on their spines, in autobiography Dept. 

Signed Books are also for sale at: 

Studio Moonfall Bookstore, 5031 7th St. Kenosha, Wis, email: hello@studiomoonfall


Comment by Jim Payne

October 23, 2021 @ 8:39 pm

Thank you for taking me with you via your poem. I like the ride and the scenery and especially the company.

Comment by Brad Dechter

October 24, 2021 @ 5:11 am

It was nice traveling with you on your journey(s?). The now as well as the future. That all-powerful someone needs to be you when the time is right. Do not go gently….

Comment by Beth Walsh

October 24, 2021 @ 9:46 am

I love your writing, Bob. Well done and thanks for sharing the ebbs and flows of your journey this summer and through life. Here’s to peeling murals, dusty books, treasures, beautiful sunsets and interesting kind people along the way.

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