Be a regular somewhere.
Ask for the usual.
Turn head up from the facade
of reading the by now memorized menu
to the smell of peppermint chewing gum
and a voice like old rubber treading gravel.
Notice that she did something different with her hair,
asking about how her kid's soccer game was
over the weekend.
Blonde curls--as opposed to waves--streaked with white dangle and bounce restlessly
encroached on an oval face
movement synchronized with fast and tight lips dark wrinkles formed around a bad habit swore to quit after her second child
but conversations and routine keep her body
and mind moving
their weakness frozen in place.
Nod to the chef, a dark-mustached thick-skinned and coarsely-coated fellow;
he tips his hat in greeting, smiling mostly
to himself as he looks down half consciously to chop the tomatoes.
You catch in the air the familiar scent
of coffee brewing, your ears perk up
to the sizzle of bacon as it
slaps into the pan.
The chatter of dishes and silverware
clinking together as they're
scrubbed scrupulously by an oily ambulant adolescent in the kitchen.
You look around, spotting the elderly man
enshrouded in the brown overcoat
patches at the elbows
on the stool, hunched over
the counter, orders coffee black
and graces hot sauce on meals like an elixir.
The lines on his face
seemingly not from the assumed winces
one would have from eating such a spicy meal
in the waking hours.
Wiry fingers coated in aging spots
reach out shakily to the coffee
like a saving grace
thin lipped breaks formation
solely for the formulaic
meal to be consumed.
You watch him now
as you're prone to do
His eyes look forward
the kitchen's outer walls
where to in time
and think better of it all.
There's an atmosphere of peace,
not so much the calm before the storm
but the walk before a trot
to a jog and then a sprint.
This is the moment
before the preparation
for the moment,
frozen in time before
the blink of an eye
or the exhale of breath,
before the stretching of muscles
or the cracking of stiff bones,
as the eyes open from sleep
still carrying a few seconds
of the dream
before awakening to reality.
To have this moment all to yourself,
in the presence of others.
To share an atmosphere,
dense with the allusion of dreams
It's in the appreciation
of the mundane
as a sign of life,
in the shared atmosphere as a
sign of community.
To see less blurry faces,
and maybe just a few good ones.
To see the imperfections
of others patiently,
or in awe,
perhaps at the work of a creator,
or of nature,
or to wander between
fact and fiction
unlike two sides of a coin,
but more alike two bodies of water
on opposite sides of an endless isle;
currents break onto the shore
with crashes full of yearning,
as if a call to the other side.
You walk amidst the cacophony
interpreted as a symphony
the sizzle of pig meat
the clinking of dishes
the monotonous yet
harmonious chatter of
with nuances you've interpreted
and analyzed, memorized;
you could sing it like the refrain
of an old folk tune.
This is your song
this is your orchestra
chewing gum between yellowing teeth
you write this symphony
and rehearse it everyday
before it fades into the world
of chaos and conundrum.
But for now
you are on the shore,
with the coffee wind
carrying the sizzling and clinking
breaks awash white foam like milk
with a peppermint gum-
flavored saltwater mist that
kisses your face as it asks
about a refill.
Of course you say yes,
sitting upon worn leather upholstery
on the beach side,
feeling yourself settle
into a familiar crease
you sigh with relief.
Tucking away the urge
to anxiously wait
for the moment to cease.
I am a fan of routine on a (sub)conscious level. Something about going to the same place, sitting in the same seat, and analyzing your environment to take note of any changes from your last visit is... intoxicating.