The market front

(written from the warmth and comfort of a coffee house upon a cold market day)

Cold market,

nine of the morn,

flowerpots lined up,

troop-like,

ready to go over the top;

vegetables boxed side by side,

ammunition to gain a profit,

primed and prebagged;

tent tops arrayed as generals’ hats,

colourful and ignored;

shoppers fast-pacing to other fronts,

cursory glancing with hands firmly pocketed,

idle eyes idling,

frozen children handpulled to appointments unknown,

coffee shop voyeurs watching the unbloodied battlefield;

handbags for sale swing in line,

like neck-wrung turkeys,

mute falling for a shoulder to cry on;

rugs ready-rolled awaiting a floor to sprawl upon,

bulk-bought books cover-flapping to gain attention,

fresh-baked bread and cakes inch by minute towards their expiry,

devil-eyed seagulls eye up that time arriving,;

hoodied heads wander on,

acknowledging not the sacrifices ready to be made.

 

 

 

 

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Coffeeured

(another day, another coffee house…)

2017-10-19 08.55.27

 

counter queue,
early morn shoppers,
late running office girls,
hair half brushed,
hair ponytail tied,
one bag shoulder drooping,
another hand clutched,
newspaper-swapping passers-by,
cash fumbling,
loyalty card fingering,
dreaming of the free latte,
one day promised;
assistants recalling regulars orders,
headstacking the new next three,
eyeing deserted cups ready to recycle;
young men counter leaning,
fresh chatting fake-smiled trapped servers,
hoping banter turns to a night time rendezvous;
then silence falls,
empty queued,
silent turnover,
profits draining away with seated drinkers,
one coffee long drawn out over time long dawdled,
while outside strollers pass,
uncaffeined,
and market stallholders jealously eye warm-cosseted baristas;
the customer line regrows,
shoe shuffling,
eyeing shelf laden snacks condemned by salt and sugar within
and small print defined,
female identikit line up,
mismatched coats and skirts,
backpacks fighting with clutch bags for possession of minute phone and cardholder,
older buyers self consciously purchasing,
feeling out of place in a Friends-inspired scenario,
clothes safe bought at safe class aimed outlets,
surrounded by Top Shop and River Island manikins;
all await the sweet brown hit.

 

 

 

My Diary

(written some years ago, it almost still makes sense)

 

Castellated protection,
Rising to the clouds,
Unscaleable,
Unbreachable,
A shield undefeated.

Drawbridge eternally locked ,
No trickery,
No deception,
No corruption,
Will overcome
Locks forged in Hell.

The castle stands,
Unbowed,
A safe haven,
A secure port,
A sanctuary unbreakable,
For my heart.

 

 

Passing lives

(sitting in a warm coffee house today it was hard to ignore the individuals passing by or inhabiting the glassed walled room)

salt and pepper haired,
nether aged,
silent cornered,
laptop hypnotised,
mobile phone grafted to ear,
ringing cathedral loud,
answered megaphone loud,
his business now our business;

office hurried buxom girl,
shoulder strap half-masted,
sailing half-masted,
bag bedraggled,
black straightened hair a sail in full set,
coffee tight fist wrapped,
a takeaway shot to shoot away hours hard seated,
suit harassed;

coffee house female assistant,
black robed,
one word loaded,
‘enjoy’,
smile enticing fake friendship,
word widened by long earning orders,
menu list confident,
robotic repetition ricocheted,
a brained beauty awaiting freedom.

grey  regular urgent shuffles,
minutes late punished
by a different table,
routine routed,
same order caffeine coughed,
to maintain order in his unordered
lonely life;

tight jeaned,
tight topped,
black braided long locks,
fresh landed on new shores,
looking for streets paved
with gold,
finding pavements cold coated
with bronze,

young mother slow walking,
hand in hand with blonde
miniature replica,
worn boots scuffling forlorn,
wondering where dreams of everlasting love dissipated
into monotonous minutes time monopolised
by small mouth never sated;

young youth outside slumped,
cheapest coffee table rotting,
cigarette lip hung,
smoked to last pre-filtered inch,
hair waving all ways,
unloved and unloving,
parka-ed against all weathers and obstacles,
satchel strap loose,
not school life supporting,
but a life leather wrapped within,
battered and secondhand.

 

 

 

Strummed out

(Another poem written while consuming an early morning coffee, inspired by a lone guitarist on the pedestrian street)

2017-09-30 09.24.02

Grey hair bun-tied,

left leg beating the beat,

sunglasses shading eyes from cloudy skies,

strumming for a latte,

or something stronger,

interrupted by handshaking passersby,

well-wishing with zipped up wallets,

reliving teenage hopes of fame,

and one night stands,

now playing for pennies,

and one night hostel rooms,

80s Brit pop mixed with 60s simple shorties,

thinking he cuts a mean Mick Jagger in a rundown seaside town,

watching rainclouds drift,

not groupies beckoning,

crowds drifting around his island of 6 string melancholy melodies,

voice strident strong as they pass with eyes shopfront fixed,

even the seagulls have pecked the red button to exit,

raindrops fall,

but no happy cyclist with handlebar girl is he,

another rainy morning with cap waterfilled,

and coin deserted,

by dusk enough for a beer,

and dreams of what might have been,

decades lost ago.

 

2017-09-30 09.24.41

 

 

Round goes the gossip

(written in coffee house, one quick edit at home…)

Round goes the gossip,
north country accents machine gunning in a southern seaside town,
reshaping body shapes for coffee charged window-wishing dress buying,
Christmas decorations crisis early exhorted,
texting daughters rapid reply replayed,
head-nodded knowing,
proud envy sigh-shared;
make up base colours cross-checked,
creamier cream over beiger beige,
promised swift swap of free freebies,
vicious visits to inviting in-laws quick-chatted,
shops right rated by cross counter intercourse,
a sex of dancing words;
roads flash flooded in drenched downpours,
washing unhung as stair rods descended;
faded curtains charity shop listed,
husband’s lazy languidity sigh head-shook,
life’s quirky queries countered in ten minutes
girl-buddied word volley.

 

 

 

Market marketing

2017-09-07 09.14.51

Stallholders stalling,
watching,
waiting,
breakfast burger half devoured,
publicly chewing,
publicly watched,
eyes staring like a fisherman’s bait,
catching eyes,
a caught contact the first line of a contract;
hands back grasped,
nervous fingers counting empty,
in empty palms,
coffee cups dreg dredged,
cold liquid for comfort to a body belt lightweight in cash,
buggies one handed push by,
screen hypnotised mother’s see no market,
only messages of nothingness,
pensioners wander pleasant smiling, morning greeting,
pleased to interact in a lonely world of absent work and offspring, non-buying,
false hope to enduring stallholders,
the young work weaving,
drink and food finger-balanced on speedy sprint to waiting desks,
ignorant of table merchandise:
flowers, books, clothes, teas, breads, organic milk,
fast flying by;
the sun lifts cloudy shades,
warming bodies bring warming words,
smiles and jokes bring clicking wallets,
a sale,
a sale,
a sale from precarious futures.

 

And wow! Quite a ‘medium’ coffee in Costa’s…

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