Poem: Two Minutes in the South Street Cafe

South Street Cafe.JPG

Two Minutes in the South Street Cafe

Midday and the coffee is strong.
It snows outside,
and here in the South Street Cafe
Sait James Infirmary plays it’s slow bluesy riff.

There is no one here but me and the two young men,
pieced and clean cut, who make the coffee.

There is work to be done,
and this is as good a place to do it as any.
You long ago realized place
has less to do with your work than you once imagined.
You travel, comfortable in bars and coffee shops,
able somehow to turn the noise and music
into something white and stimulating.

A strange kind of anonymity fills the air
as people come and go,
united in the bad weather, in the joy of pushing past it
for a cup of coffee and a bit of warmth
before heading out again.

There is work to be done,
and you lose yourself in it,
the traffic outside a blur.
The comings and goings are not even an interruption,
simply a discordant backbeat to the blues
playing in the background.

There are paintings on the wall.
Bright disturbing images,
morality in color and line,
all the brighter
for the black and white of the snow outside.

You write.
You think.
You become part of the scenery.
Another old man hunched over his keyboard,
fingers dancing,
an odd intense little smile on your face.
Progress being made.
Strange place and all.

At times, it is the strangeness that propels you.
The new. The different. A blue stirring stick in yellow paint,
Oriental letters in a Western world.
This is why you travel,
why you sit in foreign places
both here and over seas.

There is too much to see.
The possibilities spin like a Kaleidoscope.
Even in your soul, there are new roads to explore,
new wrinkles and paths to take.
The landscape never stays the same
unless you choose it.
Even in stillness, there are new worlds
for a wandering spirit,
and death comes only to the still,
even while they breath.

About this poem

I am working at a coffee shop in Bennington today. A nice change of scenery.


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