Writing poems in the bar in the afternoon
doesn’t make me a cliche (well, maybe it does).
But it does make me hate this city a little less,
summoning words in the quiet
before the drinkers arrive and music
from former decades distracts.
Oh yes. The door shut against
the phonewalkers and loudtalkers,
the ever-presence of people and cars
and constant droning citynoise.
Here some of those jagged edges
are rubbed smoother,
some of that god-damned citygrit
is flicked off. And fucked off.
The tin ceiling reflects weak mid-winter sun
across red brick walls and dark wooden booths,
dissolves into corners that brooms pretend not to know.
Boots and sneakers scrape over scarred wood floors
(the planks tell their stories when pressed).
The coffee has its own story. But no bitterness here,
just a nutty warmth that smells more familiar than home.
It moves inside my mouth, leaving traces
of its sweet strong narrative on my tongue.
Dudes think it’s just fine
to crank the volume on their conference call
the tinny drone of [insert tour manager here]’s voice
like an disembodied radio DJ or an interview
that needed to be cut off ten minutes ago.
But it’s been 45 minutes.
Loud proud boasting about touring “across the pond”
and that “people in Spain still buy CDs”
while the old lady with her book
darts dirty looks and swears in whispers.
Even the homeless guy moves away;
a semicircle of empty tables,
a desert of discontentment.
But none of us dare to cross it. To say,
Hey douchebags, the rest of us don’t care
about your album, your sycophantic pandering
to that tinny voice that panders back. No,
we sit here and silently seethe,
wondering what does it take to ask
other humans to be a little more human.