Briefly Transported

I’m briefly transported from the diner,
far from the faux leather seats, the questionable hygiene,
the guttural grunts from the coffee machine, struggling to
grind the coffee beans, the hollow slurps from the kids behind,
the rambling man who openly speaks his political mind, the furious waiter
strutting the floors, hands grappling grubby dishes, sweaty pores, racing
around for compliments and morsel tips,
I’m temporarily deaf to all this, taken by your smile,
your laugh, and your soup-stained lips.

Originally published August 2016

37,001

I step outside and you’re on your break,
smoking a cigarette, clutching coffee.
The sleepless night crinkling your brow.
It’s Hawaii today, you tell me,
where you’ll go when you quit.

Yesterday, it was Australia. The day before, Portugal.
A week ago, and I remember it clearly because I had
no idea where it was, you wanted to move
to Liechtenstein. Population: 37,000.

The waitress – christ, I don’t even know your name,
I’ve never asked, and forgive me for labelling
your face, your voice, to a profession you hate.
but every morning I pass by the cafe,
and hope and beg to see

a customer sat at a table,
thumbs twiddling,
hungry.

Cat Stevens

At least the lightbulbs were colourful, strung
along the wooden beams. The glow of blue,
red, and green through dust. We left the pub
dragging a new found weight of existence.

You said it would be nice to leave something
behind. No change in tide, no renewing waves
to a shore. Just a footprint in the sand would do.

We came home to a power cut, and so we lay on the bed
and listened to Cat Stevens on an old Walkman.

If it could be only this: you and I, nestled in the dark.

Coffee and Kerosene

I can’t help what inspires.
For the most part, it’s the usual old poets,
the budding new writers, the ancient great thinkers
and war hero fighters
who help me form and shape my thoughts to words
with creative sticky-tape.

But, for the other part, it’s the absurd
when my writing is born and spurred in bacteria-sized moments
that are gone in an instant if not written when potent.
Like when I sat underneath the garden heaters
outside the spring canteen
when the air was thick and warm
in tasteful coffee and kerosene.

Originally published March 2016