Lyrical Somerville – April 3

On April 3, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times


Somerville Bagel Bard Tom Miller writes about his favorite breakfast joint as if it is a modern dance company. Miller is a graduate student in history at Salem State University, reads and writes poetry, and is a retired auto executive.

Somerville Bagel Bard Tom Miller.

Somerville Bagel Bard Tom Miller.





There are three,

Sometimes four,

Dancers at the grills

Moving in carefully choreographed steps.


Their symphony the clattering of plates being stacked,

And cups being rattled,

And tableware being tossed

Into divided trays.


Side by side by side

They sway this way and that.

Backsteps, sidesteps, slidesteps and twirls.

Their costumes of black

Accented by aprons decorated with grease.


They play percussion with spatulas and presses.

Their movements are well practiced

And executed with consummate skill.


Eggs spoonwhipped in a metal bowl.

Pools of batter poured out on the grill.

Splashes of yellow sizzle into omelets.

Steaming peppers and mushrooms, layers of cheese

Folded with a finishing flip of the hand.


Vocals of “behind you”

“Carrie, Laurie, Donna, pick up please!”


Plates filled with delicacies artfully placed

Are staged on the counter for other dancers

Who dressed in plumb tops and black pants

Also glide to and fro on the larger stage.


As they move among the tables,

Delicately balanced plates on their arms,

They too sway and glide, passing each other

In practiced movements.


Stopping only briefly at tables or booths

To scribble an order on a green pad

Or deposit an overflowing plate.

Refill a coffee or a tea.


Intermittently busboys, mostly ignored,

Quietly slip into the scene clearing tables silently

Adapting their steps to the others in the cast.


The audience participates

With movements directed by hostesses.

Sitting, ordering, conversing

Adding their sounds to the music.


The crescendo builds then passes.

Dancers recede from the stage.

The music slows, volume lowers,

Lights dim.


Then only the dancers at the grills remain.

Their instruments now scrapers and scrubbers,

Their movements less hurried yet practiced and smooth.

One by one each completes their routine and exits the stage


Till but one remains.

And he turns out the lights


– Tom Miller


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