Poem: The Places You Frequent

coffe shop

The Places You Frequent

These are the places you frequent,
out of the way coffee shops and diners,
off the path, places of strange anonymity,
noise that is not your own, just enough
your own mind finds calm, city places,
no matter where you find them,
places you can look at the demons and angels
that surround you with no one noticing,
where your quiet is interpreted merely
as politeness.

These are the places you frequent,
where you disappear in plain sight,
where no one worries at your silence
or the mad tap of your fingers ”
on the keyboard as you write your morning pages,
those happy exorcisms that pave the way
for another improbably good day,
begun with coffee and the smell of bacon
on the griddle, where you are part of the landscape,
no more, no less, a distant prince.

These are the places you frequent. You find them
everywhere you go. Comfortable, less commercial,
rougher, without special offers. Nothing more needed
than a good soundtrack and serious coffee,
where the waitresses are patient with your stolidness
in exchange for a good tip and a gentle way.
You write. You think. A post-dawn purge,
as people float in and out like ghosts,
a preparation slower and more powerful, longer-lasting
than drugs or the meditation you take each day,
powerful medicine, with an oblivious audience
and of course, bacon.

These are the places you frequent.

About this poem

I love my diners and coffee shops. Most of my adult life, particularly the past couple of decades, they have been a combination of home, office and therapist’s office. All for the price of a cup of coffee and some eggs.

The picture was taken just outside of Rye, NH.

Tom

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