Decaf scribble

(again, long time no write here, too busy with life and trying to edit two short novels, but here’s something written today, encouraged only by a decaffeinated latte…)

THE COFFEE HOUSE

Friday morning early, a coffee house faking Italian charm in a fake seaside town, historical fame long lost with the rising tide and crumbling cliffs.

Three sit with eyes fixated on screens, fingers tapping messages to no-one and blogging viewpoints to a readership only clicked through for reciprocated likes.

A barista chatters nonsense to a line of young women, eager for quick takeaways and even quicker getaways from chat up patter outdated in an age of legal minefields.

Older gentlemen sit, beige-coated, staring at passersby, remembering themselves long gone, chances not chanced, decisions wrong decided; pretty women bring a resurgence of desires with no hope of satisfaction.

A rush retreats, the room sits quiet, each seat an island of discontented content, preferred loneliness here to sat alone in a home no longer homely. A loud voiced conversation begins, phone to ear, private exchanges made public with deliberate intent, a proof they live a life unlike the other lost souls adrift in this coffee ship. Machinery hisses and spurts, milk tops pop, dregs disappear drained, one shot, two shots, extra shots, sprinkles and caramel, a vocabulary voiced across a counter stacked with packaged snacks rated red and red and red, all sold unwarned and unwary.

Classical strings harmonise a background, ill-fitted to a clientele dressed for pubs and clubs, layering the atmosphere warm with the unseasoned heating system soft hummed.

The hour hand stretches up straight, feet shuffle from different corners, timings timed to reach platforms as trains slide home and doors slide open.

Outside hot hand held cups are carried across a precinct still quiet as offices buzz alive with phones and bright screens, elderly women drag two-wheeled trolleys to catch the market full fruited and full bloomed, children toddle coat-clung to cigarette smoking mothers, too young for schooling, too old for early morning sleeps. Retired singles wander life lost, companions lost too early or never found among the rush of chasing money and reputations, shops and malls the only workplaces for them now.

The loud-voiced barista conducts his audience, half appreciated, half detested, a last day employed doubling his volume of adrenaline. Queues ebb and flow, each wave wavered in decisions of beverage and seating, no desire to share a stranger’s life, no wish to change their routined day, for better or for worse; no risk of failure brings no risk of success.

The coffee house churns out another day, another latte, another mocha, another another.

 

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George Michael: literary giant?

Well, the title might have got you here anyway.

I was watching the video of ‘Last Christmas’ a few days ago and although I have seen it many times before and heard the song many times before for some reason the opening two lines stuck in my mind on this occasion.

‘Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away’

That first line, there’s a whole story waiting to be told to explain those simple words. Had the two people just met? Had they known each other for months, years? What happened to make one of them give the other their heart? Did the other appear to feel the same way on that day? Were they only pretending? There’s a novel there.

And the second line, what made the person give the heart/love away? Did they meet someone else and suddenly realise they had made a mistake? Had they been pretending all along to reciprocate the love offered to them? Again, a story waits to be written.

So in just two lines of writing the author has presented us with a myriad of alternatives.

George Michael: literary giant?

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Coffeeured

(another day, another coffee house…)

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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.

 

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