Getting Gas in Barstow, California

Getting Gas in Barstow, California

A Poem by Justin W Price

A poem about a worse for wear gas station attendant. I feel like it's close, but it's also missing something, and I can't quite put my finger on it.


Getting Gas in Barstow, California


There’s a full service gas station

just east of Barstow, California. I’m taking

my brand new Dodge Charger for a trip

to Las Vegas. It still bears temporary tags.

It’s blood, blood red

with a white racing stripe running all along it.


I pull in and see the gas station attendant.

He’s a baked loaf of bread, cooked

well past the point of pleasant crunchiness.

He’s wearing blue coveralls and a salty beard.

He approaches my car.

His cratered lips speak

in a sandpaper voice. Fill ‘er up?


Twenty. I pull out a crisp

bill. His curled black fingers take it,

crumble it, into his shirt pocket. He smiles

Nice car, he says.

His oily brown skin dirties my hood

when he leans against it.  He squints

and puts a cracked,

oil stained boot

on the curb and inserts the nozzle

into my gas tank.


His musty hair stumbles

in the dry Mojave wind. There’s a thin

tan line on his left ring finger.  His eyes

are dried out red caverns. He spits brown

and sticky chew, sucking some of it

back in.


Where ya headed?



He nods sadly and, as I drive away, `

he waves.


© 2012 Justin W Price

My Review

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One of those trips you read about in the pages of postmodernist novels. I like it.

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Thanks for your input, KJ. I've been struggling with this one for awhile

Posted 10 Years Ago

Wow, I love this poem. The way you described the man pumping the gas is wonderful. I love how at first he seemed like a really rough character, but in the end, I ended up feeling a lot of sympathy for him. Very nice :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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3 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on June 21, 2012
Last Updated on June 22, 2012
Tags: poetry, story poems, realistic poems, poems, free verse poetry


Justin W Price
Justin W Price

Portland, OR

I'm a writer of poetry, short stories, essays and articles. Managing editor for efiction horror magazine, husband, student, lover of life and dogs, chef more..