Hi! Here are several examples of pitcures and poetry from the Book
Coffeehouse Reflections available under Books. Enjoy!
Coffee Shop Reality
It seems to me the coffee shop has come of Age.
Ubiquitous, more than a café, less than a salon,
dispensing Lattes, hot, and Frappuccinos, cold,
to match the weather; no longer after-hour hangouts
for beat poets or college revolutionaries
and their hangers-on. They are mainstream now –
Starbucks, Java City, Sue’s Pastries Beans and Brew –
catering to the rest of us, the higher to middle
income, or the aspiring to be. I’ve seen them all
come in: the young/middle-aged/quaintly-aging
housewife stopping on her way home from the gym;
the professional woman/man on a break from her/his
hectic day; the doctor/nurse/med-technician
in scrubs on break from the ward/lab/operating room;
the youth on break or tardy from school; the elder, retired,
getting out of a silent house well cared for and tidy now
that he/she has time – but not so satisfying
as once hoped for, now that it fills so little time
where other interests used to. I’ve seen new love beginning
for young couples at back-corner tables and old lives shared,
lovingly, by the window. Is this the new reality,
our changing national identity, this new found pot
into which America is melting? What
has brought this new, modern reality into being?
An interesting question for which I find I have no answer.
But neither do I need one to enjoy sitting
drinking in this new Americana scene
with my coffee and my scone and feeling this is how
life is meant to be….
She’s cute –
consciously posing herself
in a grown up womanly way –
naïve in thinking she succeeded.
All of eighteen (surely not yet twenty),
she fancies herself worldly and wise –
ready to play her part with passion and flair.
If I were young as she,
I might be impressed (most likely, in lust),
wanting to help her make her point.
But now, amused, I only watch her on display,
thinking back upon the women I have known
and what they taught me
along the way.
Working alone at the upper end
of the dark wooden table we share,
she is the industrious one.
I am unemployed – retired really,
but the result’s the same.
With time on my hands and idled mind,
I come squandering my time
until the next visit south.
Though no longer all that young,
she’s an active person, attractive,
maintaining herself, her hair nicely done,
wearing make up, salon nails, a jeweled pendant,
and a double pearled ring on her writing hand
while here, at the table’s foot, I sit
needing a shave.
I inquire of her task,
“Buying a business,” she replies.
Hmmm…now there’s an idea.
“I’ve done it before, been in business that is,
here, but went away for a while
and now I’m coming back.
It’s a good place to be,” she says,
with a final shrug of her shoulder
dropping her attention back to her papers.
And I agree,
it is a good place to be,
even for lazy hangers-on like me….
Vagrant in Monterey
Outside this downtown Starbucks portal, I see
a higher class of vagrant than I’m used to,
a large Starbucks cup of something, his pack
off to his right, a ‘Mission’ bag of corn chips
to his left – clean jeans and plain-white T-shirt
and stylish walking shoes. I only guess
at vagrancy when another, more typical, grungier
backpacker stops to exchange words and then
accepts a plastic water bottle reward.
They laugh between themselves (an old acquaintance?)
before the latter moves along again
leaving the first still seated on the bench.
Perhaps it is a life-style freely chosen
by the younger, cleaner one, desiring
a less demanding life? A little like
me lately, sitting here passing time.
I used to wonder whatever would I do
at this stage of my life (but actually,
I lie – I never thought that I would last
this long). Now that I am here, I wonder
less about both meaning and direction,
even value, of what I do or don’t do
day by day…. It’s enough, it seems,
to set apart from the flow, watching, feeling
life slide by – observing selected scenes
to record, remember, and fiddle with once
these moments are past. Later I step back in,
from observer to actor – sometimes for a moment,
or an hour, or a few days’ time
to prove, I suppose, that I can. It’s a comfort to know
I can when I want to, and don’t have to when I don’t.
I wonder, am I a vagrant too? Or just
an old man growing mellow with age…?