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Emma Apr 2019
There’s a little coffee shop
Down an avenue, I like to walk.
It smells like I imagine you still do,
Inside that little coffee shop.

That little coffee shop is where we used to go
When life was good and happy.
We didn’t have a care in the world,
Inside that little coffee shop.

Looking back on that little coffee shop,
It still amazes me how much things have changed.
I would never have imagined that you could hurt me like this
Inside that little coffee shop.

That little coffee shop still feels like home to me,
Its warm fire still makes me glow.
But it will never be the same without you
Inside that little coffee shop.

In that coffee shop is where you first showed me
How it truly felt to be loved.
I would never have realised that your love would lead to this,
Inside that little coffee shop.

As I walk past that little coffee shop
I am hit, again and again, with the familiarity that our love is over.
I walk past in the knowledge that I will never see you again
Inside that little coffee shop.

That little coffee shop will always be my home for you,
Its where my memories of you
Have laid to rest. It will always be
Inside that little coffee shop.
The Good Pussy Jan 2016
.
                       Shop
                till you drop
               Shop till you d
              rop Shop till you
              drop Shop till you
                drop  Shop till
                you drop Shop
                till  you  d rop
                Shop t ill  y ou
                 drop  Shop till
                  you drop Shop
                  till  you   dro p
                  Shop t  il l  you
                  drop  S hop till
                  you d rop Shop  
          till you drop    Shop till you
       drop Shop till y ou drop shop
          till you drop   shop till you
             drop shop     dropshoptil
                  You                 drop.
*drop to your knees .
judy smith Jan 2016
That Special Touch owner Terry Kutsko broadcast an announcement Oct. 15 on her shop’s Facebook page.

“After 10 fantastic years of owning That Special Touch, I have decided to say goodbye,” she wrote at the time.

The message got 15,000 hits, Kutsko said, and an outpouring of comments from saddened patrons.

The store’s inventory went on sale and word on the street was that the shop would shutter its operation for good, Kutsko said. The lease on the space at 544 Washington St. was up Dec. 31, and Kutsko had been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in February.

It was time, she said, to focus on her health. She needed to find a buyer, or the beloved bridal gown shop would close.

On the precipice of the New Year, Kutsko had another announcement, one riddled with exclamation points and infused with a happy tone.

“I’m so excited to announce That Special Touch has a new owner and will REMAIN OPEN!!,” Kutsko wrote. “I’m happy to congratulate Traci DeBord on purchasing the bridal shop! She will continue to run it in the same special way that everyone has come to expect, and you will receive the same personal service that we’ve always been known for. We still have some loose ends to tie up, so it will be a few more weeks before she begins taking orders again.”

Something old

Through That Special Touch, Kutsko has outfitted hundreds of brides. She’s dressed up hundreds of prom goers and put plenty of grooms in their tuxes. Although clothes are her focus now, That Special Touch started off as a floral shop. Kutsko had more than 20 years of experience crafting floral arrangements for weddings, working for Petals and Vines. One day, she found herself flipping through the classifieds section of the newspaper. An interior designer was selling off her fixtures, along with a cash register. She opened up shop in the Zaharakos building.

“I had one dad — I was doing flowers for him,” Kutsko said. “He was in the shop and he said to me, ‘I just want to give you one piece of advice. Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t promise what you can’t come through with.’”

The advice stuck with her as her business grew. To supplement her floral business, she ordered a few dresses. Then she ordered a few more. Then she added tuxes.

When Zaharakos expanded, Kutsko moved to the 500 block of Washington Street. Eventually, she took over the storefront next to her. Now, That Special Touch has five dressing rooms and is pleasantly stocked with wedding dresses, prom dresses and tuxes.

“I never really planned to have this whole big bridal shop,” Kutsko said. “It just really grew over the last 10 years.”

When Hillary Apple was preparing for her wedding, she saved for last her visit to That Special Touch.

“I kind of knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t going to feel right buying a dress anywhere else,” Apple said.

Apple had purchased her prom dress at That Special Touch — a gold-colored dress with gathering that reminded her of the formal gown Belle wore in Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Terry provides high-end looks, but it’s not too expensive,” Apple said. “It feels like you’re in a high-end bridal salon, but you’re treated more like family.”

For as much happiness as her dresses generate, Kutsko feels the magic every day.

“I think the dresses themselves are gorgeous,” she said. “When the right girl puts it on, that’s when the magic happens. I know that sounds kind of corny. When you can match a person with the right dress and make them feel fantastic about themselves, that’s the best thing.”

Something new

Her cancer diagnosis didn’t spell an immediate end for the shop. Kutsko spent 2015 battling the disease, which was found in her breast, lungs, liver and on her spine. The cancer, she said, is now inactive.“I’m doing a ton better,” she said. “I just really want to work on building up my endurance and feeling super healthy. I’m going to have to continue to fight this.” A few years ago, Traci DeBord had purchased her wedding dress at That Special Touch. Actually, the dress was a prom dress — shorter than the typical wedding dress, and executed in ivory with black accents. The MainSource Bank employee liked the shop’s Facebook page and, when she saw Kutsko’s post about the search for a buyer, remarked to her husband that it would be fun to own a bridal shop. And then she continued to think about it. DeBord met with Kutsko and, by Dec. 29, had worked out a deal. DeBord would leave her financial job and buy the dress shop.

DeBord, who has a blended family of four boys, has always wanted a little girl to dress up.

“Now I get to do that every day,” DeBord said.

She will take over Feb. 1.

“I think I’m going to feel a sense of accomplishment, but also a little scared,” DeBord said. “But I have the comfort of knowing that Terry is just a phone call away.”

It is a special shop that Kutsko is handing over.

“Sometimes, at the end of the day, when you’re turning the lights out, you just look around the shop,” Kutsko said. “It is really just a magical business.”

readmore:www.marieaustralia.com/evening-dresses

http://www.marieaustralia.com
Axle Avatari Apr 2016
A poet walks into the coffee shop.
He buys a cup, and has a seat.
A head walks into the coffee shop.
With eyes so gray, like wet concrete.
A chick walks into the coffee shop.
Her clothes so bizarre, an' tight they fit.
A dude walks into the coffee shop.
All tattooed, an' a ring through his ***.
A girl walks into the coffee shop.
Her head shaved, to the skin.
A homeless one walks into the coffee shop.
He looks so bad, wonder where he's been.
A straight walks into the coffee shop.
Wide eyed, and lookin' around a lot.
All wacko's an' ******'s, at this coffee shop.
My kind of people, more likely than not.
A rent-a-cop walks into the coffee shop.
Ready to evict, those who've finished their last sip.
At the coffee shop.
I drink my cup-o-joe, an' leave a tip.
At the coffee shop.
As I shuffle towards the kitchen like a zombie seeking brains. "Coffee... COFFEE!!!"

Yes, I love coffee.
Zeeb Jul 2015
Hotrod
Verse I

Wrenches clanging, knuckles banging
A drop of blood the young man spilt
A new part here, and old part… there
A hotrod had been built!
A patchwork, mechanical, quilt

Feelings of excitement not unlike those of Christmas mornings long past paid visit to the young man, his head under a raised hood, hands occupied, the job nearing completion.  Did building that Lionel train-set so long ago form some type of pattern in his brain, now being so pleasurably served?  The good feelings would dissipate though, as quickly as they came, as he cursed himself for stripping a bolt, or cursed someone else for selling him the wrong part, or the engineer whose design goals obviously did not consider “remove and replace”.  He cursed the “gorilla” that never heard of a torque-wrench, the glowing particle of **** that popped on to the top of his head as he welded, the metal chip he flushed from his eye, and even himself for the burn he received by impatiently touching something too soon after grinding.  He, and his type, cursed a lot, but mostly to their selves as they battled-on with things oily, hot, bolted, welded, and rusty – in cramped spaces. One day it was choice words for an “easy-out” that broke off next to a broken drill bit that had broken off in a broken bolt, that was being drilled for an easy out.    Despite the swearing, the good and special feelings, feelings known only to those with a true capacity for this type of passion, would always return, generally of a magnitude that exceeded the physical pain and mental frustration of the day, by a large margin.   Certifiably obsessive, the young man continued to toil dutifully, soulfully, occasionally gleefully, sometimes even expertly, in his most loved and familiar place, his sanctuary, laboratory… the family garage.

And tomorrow would be the day.
Fire extinguisher? “ Right there”
Battery? “Charged and connected”
Neutral?  “yes”
Brake?  “Set”
And with hard learned, hard earned expertise and confidence, in this special small place, a supremely happy and excited young man commanded his creation to life.

Threw  a toggle, pressed a switch
Woke up the neighbors with that *******

The heart of his machine was a stroked Chevy engine that everyone had just grown sick hearing about.  Even the local machine shop to which the boy nervously entrusted his most prized possession had had enough.  “Sir, I don’t want to seem disrespectful, but from what I’ve read in Hot Rod Magazine, you might be suggesting a clearance too tight for forged pistons…” then it would be something else the next day.   One must always speak politely to the machinist, and even though he always had, the usual allotment of contradictions and arguments afforded to each customer had long run out – and although the shop owner took a special liking to the boy because, as he liked to say, “he reminds me of me”, well, that man was done too.  But in the end, the mill was dead-on.  Of course from the start, the shop knew it would be; that’s almost always the case; it’s how they stay in business - simply doing good work.  Bad shops fall out quickly, but this place had the look of times gone by.  Good times.  Old porcelain signs, here and there were to be found, all original to the shop and revered by the older workers in honored nostalgia.  The younger workers get it too; they can tell from the men they respect and learn from, there is something special about this past.  One sign advertises Carter Carburetors and the artwork depicts “three deuces”, model 97’s, sitting proudly atop a flathead engine, all speeding along in a red, open roadster.  Its occupants a blond haired boy with slight freckles (driver), and a brunette girl passenger, white blouse slightly unbuttoned,  both in the wind-blown cool, their excited expressions proclaim… "we are free!" (and all you need is a Carter, or three).

The seasoned old engine block the boy entrusted to the shop cost him $120-even from the bone yard.  Not a bad deal for a good block that had never had its first 0.030” overbore.  In the shop, it was cleaned, checked for cracks, measured and re-measured, inspected and re-inspected.  It was shaped and cut in a special way that would allow the stroker crankshaft, that was to be the special part of this build, to have all the clearance it would need.  The engine block was fitted with temporary stress plates that mimic the presence of cylinder heads,  then the cylinders were bored to “first oversize”,  providing fresh metal for new piston rings to work against.  New bearings were installed everywhere bearings are required.  Parts were smoothed here and there.  Some surfaces were roughened just so, to allow new parts to “work-into each other” when things are finally brought together.  All of this was done with a level of precision and attention far, far greater than the old “4- bolt” had ever received at the factory on its way to a life of labor in the ¾ ton work truck from which it came.  They called this painstaking dedication to precision measurement and fit, to hitting all specifications “on the mark”, “blueprinting”, and it would continue throughout the entire build of this engine.  The boy stayed  worried the whole time, but the shop had done it a million times.

After machining, the block was filled with new and strong parts that cost the young man everything he had.   Parts selected with the greatest of effort, decision, and debate.  “ You can compromise on paint”,” live with some rust”, he would say,  “wait for good tires”, “but never scrimp on the engine”.  Right on.  You get one shot at getting that right, and this proclamation demonstrated wisdom but also provided ample excuse for the rough and unfinished look of the rest of his machine.  But it was just a look, his car was, in fact, “right”.   And its power plant?  Well the machine shop had talked their customer into letting them do the final engine assembly - even cut their price to do it.  They were looking out for the boy.  The mill in its final form was the proper balance of performance and durability, and with its camshaft so carefully selected, the engine's “personality” was perfectly matched to the work at hand.   It would produce adequate torque in the low RPM range to get whole rig moving quickly, yet deliver enough horsepower at red-line to pile on the MPH, fast.  No longer a polite-natured workhorse, this engine, this engine is impatient now.  High compression, a rapid, choppy idle - it seems to be biting at the bit – to be released.  On command, it gulps its mixture and screams angrily, and often those standing around have a reflexive jump - the louder, the better - the more angry, the better.  If it hurts your ears, that’s a good feeling.  If its bark startles, that’s a good startle.  A cacophony?  No, the “music” of controlled explosions, capable of thrusting everything and everyone attached, forward, impolitely, on a rapid run to “red-line”, and it keeps pulling hard and delivering power while spinning fast because it is breathing right and proper and producing the power that thrills, and the only reason to shift gears is to preserve connecting rods, eager as the engine may be to rev further!

This is the addictive sound and feel that has appealed to a certain type of person since engines replaced horses, and why?  A surrogate voice for those who are otherwise quiet?  A visceral celebration of accomplishment?    Who cares.  Shift once, then again - speed quickly makes its appearance.  It appears as a loud, rushing wind and a visually striking, unnatural view of the surrounding scenery.  At some point, in the sane, it triggers a natural response - better slow down.    


He uncorked the headers, bought gasoline, dropped her in gear, tore off to the scene
Camaros and Mustangs, an old ‘55
Obediently lined-up, to get skinned alive!


Verse II (1st person)

I drove past the banner that said “Welcome race fans” took a new route, behind the grandstands
And through my chipped window, I thought I could see
Some of the racers were laughing at me

I guess rust and primer are not to their taste
But I put my bucks mister in the right place

I chugged/popped past cars that dealers had sold
Swung into a spot, next to something old

Emerging with interest from under his hood
My neighbor said two words, he said, “sounds good”

The ’55 I parked next to was “classic rodding” in its outward appearance.  The much overused “primer paint job” channeled “Two Lane Blacktop”.  The hood and front fenders a fiberglass clamshell, pinned affair.  Dice hanging from the mirror paid homage to days its driver never knew, but wished he had.  He removed them before he drove, always.

If you know how to peel the onion, secrets are revealed.  Wilwood brake calipers can be a dead giveaway. Someone needs serious stopping power - maybe.  Generally, owners who have sprung the bucks for this type gear let the calipers show off in bright red, to make a statement, and sometimes, these days, it’s just a fashion statement.  Now, expensive calipers, as eye candy, are all the rage.  What is true, however, is very few guys spend big money on brakes only to render them inglorious and seemingly common with a shot of silver paint from a rattle can, and the owner of this ’55 had done just that. 

Two things seem to be at play here.  One, he needs those heavy brakes because he’s fast, and two, hiding them fits his style.   Really, the message to be found in the silver paint, so cleverly applied to make your eyes simply slide across on their way to more interesting things, was “sleeper”.   And sleeper really means, he’s one of those guys with a score to settle - with everyone perhaps.   The list of “real parts” grew, if you knew where to look.  Something I had defacto permission to do since my rod was undergoing a similar scrutiny.  
“Stroked?”, I asked.  That’s something you can’t see from the outside. “ No”, the racer replied.  
“Hundred shot?”  (If engines have their language, so do the people who love them).   Despite the owner’s great efforts to conceal braided fuel and nitrous lines, electrical solenoids and switches, I spied his system.  The chunks of aluminum posing as ordinary spacers under his two carburetors were anything but.   “No”, was his one-word reply to my 100- shot question.  I tried again; “Your nitrous system, how much are you spraying?”  “Two hundred fifty” in two stages, he said.  That’s more like it, I thought, and I then figured, he too had budgeted well for the machine shop – if not, he was gambling in a game that if lost, would fly parts in all directions.   Based on the overall vibe of the scene, and the clean work on display, I believed his build was up to the punishment he planned.   I knew exactly what this tight-lipped guy was about, seeing someone very familiar in him as it were, and that made the “sounds good” complement I received upon my arrival all the more valuable.

The voice on the loudspeaker tells us we’re up.

Pre-staged, staged, then given the green
The line becomes blurred between man and machine

Bones become linkage
Muscle, spring
Fear, excitement

Time distorts ….
Color disappears …
Vision narrows…
Noise ---  becomes music
Speed, satisfaction

End
frankie crognale Dec 2013
there’s a girl i know.  she sits at the end of the table in the coffee shop all by herself.  i’ve never spoken to her, but she’s the most interesting person i’ve ever encountered.  she sits there with her music blasting her ear drums, unable to hear the regular coffee shop madness happening around her.  she’ll glance up and notice it, but she chooses not to actually see it.  she’s in her own little world, and she liked it that way.  she’ll sit in her chair at the end of the table in the coffee shop for as long as you’ll let her, flipping the pages of her favorite book or creating sparks with weapon of choice, the pen.  she’s in her place where she feels secure in her chair at the end of the table in the coffee shop.  every season she’ll be there.  the dead of winter brings black rimmed glasses, flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and combat boots. rugged, yet suitable.  her sweater weather drink is a medium hot peppermint mocha with an extra shot of espresso, normally with a wedge of cheesecake or a cinnamon pastry.  as winter comes to an end and spring begins to bloom, she emerges out of the tiny cocoon she’s put herself in for the winter and flies into the world like a beautiful butterfly. when the sun is out, she’s shedding her own light on all the regulars in the coffee shop.  she might not be talking to them, but she’s enchanting them in her own special way in her chair at the end of the table in the coffee shop.  she has the most mesmerizing eyes, from what i’ve seen of her.  her eyes can pierce you right through your flesh, creep into your bones, and go straight through your heart like an arrow at it’s terminal velocity.  with those eyes, without fatality, she scans the room, her favorite book, her chipping nail polish, her clothing, which has now become high waisted shorts she made out of a pair of her dad’s old jeans, a black t-shirt, and a pair of black converse sneakers.  simple, yet lovely.  her drink has gone from a medium hot peppermint mocha with an extra shot of espresso to a medium iced green tea with a squeeze of lemon and a drop of organic honey, nothing extra to go along with it. her skin is sun kissed, and her lips are cherry red.  her eyebrows are arched just high enough above her black framed glasses, and freckles spotting her tiny nose.  her hair is bouncy black curls, sometimes ******* in a messy bun or left down naturally. her music varied with the seasons, as well.  the sweater weather brought muse and two door cinema club.  bikini season brought the wombats or the arctic monkeys.  i knew what music she listens to because she blares it so loudly against the brick walls of the coffee shop.  she probably thinks she’s doing us a favor.  all of these attributes go into making this girl the most intricate girl i’ve ever come across in this small town coffee shop.  i don’t know much about this girl.  i wish i knew a little bit more.  i wonder what her name is, who her friends are and why they’re never there with her, if she has any cats, what dressing she puts on her salad, how many times a day she brushes her teeth, if she prefers pen or pencil, what kind of sushi she likes, or what kind of shampoo she uses. i wish i knew every single detail of this girl, but i do know a few things for certain.  she’s the seasons.  she changes her appearance and her mysterious attitude towards everything outside her little world. her drink and her music change, too.  the only thing that still remains the same through all of the changes is her spot in the chair at the end of the table in the coffee shop.
until the day i said hello.
Bottom feeders flourish

When the economy's a bust

When bad times are the norm

And good times turn to dust

When neighborhoods go south it's sad

But a sign of their demise

Is when a bunch of pawn shops open up

Before your very eyes

When stores close down or move on out

After years in the same place

Their memory is a radar blip

They leave without a trace

But as fast as they lock up their doors

Another shop moves in

It's the local pawn shop dealer

He's a shark without a fin

Like dollar stores and boarded doors

The pawn shop shows the way

That business has moved on out

Or closed or moved away

They prey on peoples hardship

They broker deals without a care

They don't need to know your history

They just know that you're there

The street has three new pawn shops

Palaces of buy back stuff

It's bad when there is one around

But, three...well that's enough

One opened by the Jeweller

Two doors down across the street

Now he's buying up possessions

Of everyone he meets

Folks who purchased jewellery

From Old Cy at his old store

For each twenty of it's value

The pawn shop gives you four

Cy can't afford to buy back

He doesn't have much money left

And besides his store insurance

Doesn't cover much for theft

The people at the Pawn shops

Took jobs and live in town

They trained two counties over

They succeed when times are down

It's a sign of the recession

Downtown dies and fades away

And then the bottom feeders surface

Their the ones who're gonna stay

You can look in the shop windows

Know who bought what and from where

You know the candlesticks were bought at Cy's

And you know who bought them there

The guitar that hangs beside them

That was pawned by Emma Rose

She needed money for the bills

When the fresh fish plant had closed

There's a snapshot of the township

Sitting inside on their walls

They pawn shop is successful

While the economy still falls

You can see a piece and start to cry

For you know just why it's there

There's no one here to help them

There's no jobs and it's not fair

They open up each morning

While the nights dregs still sleep outside

They have done two hours business

Before lights on at Cy's

It's a sad and constant story

Of just what a town's become

But when asked if they've been in there

The inhabitants go "mumb"

They never seem to close up

The town's never make it back

While most places lose money

Pawn shops make it by the sack

The bluesman has some stuff there

The bartender has some too

Even though her bar's still going

She did what she had to do

The street, it is it's own world

Jewelly shops, banks and bars

But inside the local pawn shops

Are hidden all the scars.
Savio Apr 2013
She works at the Flower Shop
selling Roses to the young boys
selling Lilies to widow'd women
selling
white ones
red ones
purple ones
orange ones
She works at the Flower Shop
Clipping the stems of the Lilac
Sweeping the Flower Shops hard wood floor
Insects with wings get inside of the Flower Shop
Insects with wings hide in the openings of the flowers
She listens too the small radio
Attached to the wall
That is painted white
This color
This hue
This brand of Light
Does not compliment her complexion
The Flower Shop's painted white walls are too compliment the complexion of the flowers
Their colors
Their height
Their thickness
Their meaningfulness
The Radio attached to the wall plays Beethoven
The Flower Shop is full of
Insects
Flowers
Beethoven
and White Painted Walls
and a Girl
Who waters the flowers
Who goes outside to smoke her 100's
Who sees the Flowers die
Rust brown and gray
bending towards the ground
The Flower Shop Girl
Shooting up ******
While Laying on the
Flower Shop's hardwood floor
freshly swept
next to the Amaranthine flower
filled with insects

*Beethoven
Sonata No.14
Movement No.3
Hewasminemoon Jul 2014
It was almost February and winter still hadn’t hit. I was beginning to
think that it wouldn’t arrive, and that spring was here. One evening as I was walking down the streets of the city I looked up to see a single snowflake falling down to meet my face. It was tiny and looked lonely, but a few moments later, it was followed by several more snowflakes. Sooner than later, the ground was covered in a white sheet of snow. and I was stuffing my hands in my coat pockets and pulling my hood on to brace myself against the bone-chilling wind. I made my way into a small coffee shop that was still open and was greeted by a short stocky man in his mid thirties with a dark, curly mustache and sleeves of faded tattoos.
“Hello” he said, his voice sounding deep and smooth. I pulled out my headphones that were burning in my ears, pressed pause on my phone and shoved them carelessly in my messenger bag.
“Hello”, I replied back with a slight smile, pulling my hands out of my
pockets and making my way to the counter.
The shop was small, but it had a staircase leading upstairs with more room for seating. The man who stood behind the counter continued to unpack small plastic covered packages, putting them away in cupboards and freezers. I pulled out my wallet from my bag and plopped it on the counter, feebly attempting to pull out my card with my hands shaking violently from the cold.
“What a night”, the man said, his eyes still focused on his duties.
“Hmm.” I said, nodding. “Can I get a 12oz mocha, please?” The man looked up from his package, and giggled coyly.
“Sure you can, sweetheart." He put the package that he was holding down below him, and began making the drink I had just ordered. My credit card held tightly in my hand, still shaking. There was awkward silence between us and I got the feeling the man understood I didn’t feel like talking. He finished my order, filling a small, white ceramic mug, and pushed it across the counter towards me.
“Anything else?”
I shook my head, implying no and handed him the cold card. He swiped it and handed it back to me, along with a receipt and a pen to sign. I signed the receipt, grabbed my coffee and headed up the stairs to my right. Upstairs, there was a large room with a dining room looking table and several chairs, and to the left, and a small hole in the wall with several cushions. I smiled at the welcoming spot, and took a seat. Pulling a small table up next to me, I set my coffee down, and rested my bag on the floor below me. The upstairs was completely empty. In fact; the entire shop was empty besides the man working downstairs. I took a deep breath in and let my head rest on some of the cushions behind me. Closing my eyes, I let out my breath and felt the warmth and the vast history of the shop run envelop me. I grabbed at the cup beside me and sipped at my coffee. It was still too hot to drink comfortably, so I set it down. Out of my bag, I pulled out my phone with the headphones still attached and scrunched into a tight tangled ball.
Untangling them, I placed each bud in my ear, and pressed play, continuing the song I had stopped when I had entered the coffee shop. I felt my eyelids grow heavy and I sunk deeper and deeper into the pillows around me, the smell of old books seeping into my skin. Finally, I closed my eyes, and after a few moments, was sound asleep.
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was a man’s face, unfamiliar but comforting.
“Excuse me…” he said, with a wide grin.
I jumped with embarrassment; ripping my headphones out of my ears, although they were no longer playing anything. How long had I been asleep? And who was this young man? An employee of the shop? A customer?
“Sorry!” I yelped.
The man chuckled as I swung my feet around to the floor and pulled out my phone to check the time. Realizing it was dead, I scanned the room for a clock and with no success I asked the stranger “What time is it?”
He rolled up his sleep, and checked what to be a rather expensive watch. The man was dressed nicely, but nothing too formal. A clean pair of black jeans, a plaid shirt and a sweater over it. His hair, a dark brown looked thick and slightly curled. He ran his fingers through it as he responded. “It’s quarter past.”
“Past what?”
He blinked at me. “Eight…” he paused at my confused look. “A.M”
I gasped at the time. It was just past nine at night when I had dozed off.
Why did the short stalky man not wake me? Did he forget I was upstairs?
Maybe he assumed I had left, and just missed me doing so.
“I…I…” I stumbled upon my words. I wasn’t quite sure what to say, still
unsure who this man was.
“My boss told me you’d be up here.” He lifted my cup of cold coffee and
handed it to me. “I can get you a warm cup if you’d like. We don’t open for another half hour.”
I nodded, and with the cup in hand, the man turned and headed down the stairs. I gathered my things, smoothed out my shirt, tossed my hair to one side and followed the man down the stairs.
“My names Elliot” he shouted from behind the counter and the noises of the coffee machine.
“Ellie.” I shouted back.
A door swung open and in Elliot’s hand was a new cup of coffee.
“That’s a coincidence.”
I smiled nervously and took the cup from the man.
“Sit.” he said, nodded to a table.
I followed his instructions and set my cup down and pulled out a chair.
He stared at me for a moment as I stared at my coffee. After a long moment of silence, I started.
“I am so sorr-”
He stopped me and reached out, resting his hand on top of mine.
“It’s alright Ellie…really.”
I had a few questions but didn’t know where to start. So I let the silence
continue.
“My boss figured you needed a place to stay.”
I wasn’t homeless. Did I look homeless?
“Do you...have somewhere to go…?”
I nodded. “I’m not homeless…” I proclaimed. I couldn’t help but stare at
his hands. There was something different about them from the rest of the
man.
“I figured. You’re too well dressed to be homeless.” He smiled, and his
hands moved up and through his hair again.
“So, if you’re not homeless then what’s your story?”
My story? I didn’t have a story. I was a young single girl. Lonely. Living
on her own in the city. On her way home when a snow storm hit. I just stopped into the coffee shop to get warm, not to spend the night like some refugee.
“My story?”
“Yeah, your story.” he continued to grin at me.
I paused to think of an answer.
“I was just on my way home. Stopped in for a cup of coffee. Guess I didn’t
drink enough of it.”
He laughed at the comment, showing a set of pearly white teeth.
“Maybe it wasn’t a very good cup of coffee.” He glanced at the cup in front of me. I lifted it and took a sip.
“This cup’s better.” We both laughed softly, then found each other staring
for long while at one another.
“I’ll make sure not to tell my boss you said that.”
I took another sip. “I should probably go…” I said, standing up.
“Go where?”
“Home.”
He shook his head chuckling slightly. “Hang out. I’ll open late.”
“I don’t want to be more of an inconvenience than I already have been.”
Elliot reached out and took my hand in his, squeezing it softly.
“Ellie.”
My eyes grew wide, and I felt my heart beat quickly within my chest.
“Let’s not play games with one another. Stay.”
I pulled my hand away, and bit my lip.
“I can’t. I’m sorry Elliot.” I grabbed my bag from under the table, and thew
it across my shoulder. “Thank you…” I said, thinking of his hands but
staring at the blue in his eyes. I turned around, and pushed the door open.


---------------------------------------------------------­--------------------------------

It was Valentine’s Day (or as I like to call it “Singles Awareness Day” ) and my friend had dragged me out to this terrible bar in the suburbs  titled “Distraction” My friend, who was newly single and “ready to mingle” laughed when she saw the big blue sign with the name.
“That’s an ironic name” she said, snickering.
I nodded my head and groaned as we headed inside. She was right. What was this bar distracting me from? If anything, it was drawing more attention to the things I was supposed to be distracted from by just existing with such a name. My friend walked up to the bar, leaned against a stool and ordered something sweet. She asked me if I wanted anything, but I shook my head no. After a few minutes of small talking with her, and watching her sip at her watered down drink, I noticed a young man walking towards us. The bar was dimly lit, and I couldn’t quite make him out but I sighed and turned towards the bartender.
“*** and coke” I hollered out to the man. “Pour heavy!”
I stayed facing the shelves of drinks, the different bottles organized by color and type. Whiskey, Tequila, *****. Suddenly, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder and with a deep inhale, I turned; expecting some man with sleeked back hair and a bad tan to be facing me.
Instead, it was Elliot. Staring at me, standing inches from my face. I took a step back into a bar stool, and fell into a seat.
“Ellie” he said, smiling.
I couldn’t help but smile for a moment too, but then I quickly wiped it away as the bartender slid my drink to the right of me. Before I could do anything, Elliot placed a few dollars on the counter.
“You don’t have to -“
“It’s fine”  He continued to smile widely.
I looked around the room for my friend, she was across the room playing darts with some broad shouldered man. I took my glass, placed the straw on the counter and gulped down about half of it in one drink.  
“Happy Valentines Day” he said, almost sarcastically following the statement with a slight laugh.
I felt myself smiling again and took another gulp. The bartender definitely poured heavy. The liquid burned as it slid down my throat, and I clenched my teeth. I could tell Elliot was trying hard not to laugh.
“Would you like to dan-“
I bursted out laughing.
“Dance? Oh god, please. Don’t do this Elliot.”
He stared at me widely for a moment. “What are you so afraid of Ellie?”
I scoffed, and shook my head, taking another drink I responded
“I’m not afraid of anything”
He blinked at me, then ran through his fingers through his hair and breathed out loudly.
“Is it me?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer this, or what he was really even asking. I stumbled on my words, stuttering. I finished my drink, and set the glass down on the counter.
“Another?” he asked.
“No...” I paused. “Thank you”
He stared at me for a moment, his brows furrowed. He reached out to touch me, and I pulled away.
“Ellie...Let me-“
I interrupted him and shouted out “space!”
He looked puzzled, then chuckled.
“What?”
“I’m afraid of space”
“Space....? Please elaborate.”
“Like the sky, and the planets and the stars and ****”
He laughed softly. “And ****...”
“Think about it. We have no idea what’s out there. We have no idea what’s coming for us. We are so small, comparatively.”
“So you believe in aliens?”
“I believe in possibility”
“Anything could happen.”
“Exactly! Right now, as we speak, the sun could explode.”
“Or, aliens could invade!”
“You’re really stuck on the alien thing.”
“It’s a possibility”
We both sat in silence for a moment, his eyes felt heavy on me. I stood up from my stool, our bodies were almost touching.
“I’ve got to go see if my friends OK.” I said, glancing over at her. She was still playing darts with the broad shoulder man. He had his arms wrapped around her, ‘showing’ her how to hold the dart now.
“She looks like she’s doing ok to me” Elliot said with a snicker.
I didn’t argue.
“What’s your last name?” he asked.
I shook my head violently. “Look, Elliot. You seem-“ I stopped and thought of how I wanted to finish my sentence, but before I could, Elliot grabbed my hand and held it tightly.
“Ellie. I’m just a man. I’m not some comet coming down or some alien race a million light years away. You don’t need to be afraid of me.”
I took a few shallow breaths, my heart was pounding. I tried pulling away, but Elliot just pulled himself closer to me.
“You said you believe in possibility. You can’t deny the possibility of you and me.”
“I...”
He reached up, and tucked a hair that was falling down my face behind my ear then stepped back, letting go of my hand.
“I have an idea.”
“What’s that?”
“I want to help you conquer your fear”
“Oh?”
He grabbed my hand again and pulled me towards the door, I looked over to my friend, but didn’t fight him.
“She’ll be okay.” he said, still tugging me.
I followed him out the door and down the street. We stopped and hailed a cab, as one pulled up, he opened the door for me.
“Get in.”
“I don’t even know you. You could be taking me to some wear house to **** and ****** me!”
“Ellie. Don’t be so dramatic. Get in”
“Where are we going?”
“To the moon.”
“And back again?”
“We’ll see. Maybe once you get there, you’ll never want to leave.”
“It’s a possibility”
I stepped inside the cab, and so did he.

------------------------------------------------------------­--------------------------------


Once we were in the cab, the rush of excitement I was feeling in the bar and in the street had faded. Elliot handed the man his phone, which had an address written on it. The cabbie put the address into his GPS and started the meter as he drove on.
“So are we taking the cab to the moon? Or are we just taking the cab to NASA and then a spaceship to the moon?” I said sarcastically, my voice breaking from nervousness. Elliot put his hand on my leg, and sat back into his seat without saying anything.
“Who’s paying for the cab Elliot?”
He continued to be silent. I turned at stared out the window, I noticed the cab was taking us out of the city and I began to get a little worried.
“Can you please tell me where we’re going?” I asked quickly. I looked back at Elliot, he was sweating.
“Elliot? Is everything OK?” His eyes were shut and his breathing was heavy.
“I’m afraid of things in motion.” he muttered softly.
“Isn’t everything in motion?” he opened his eyes, raised his brows and then smiled at me.
“I mean, the world is always turning and we’re walking, or breathing. So we’re moving, no matter what-“
“Can you be quiet please?”
I looked back out the window again for what felt like a long while. Finally, the cab stopped in front a large abandoned dome like building in a town I had never been in. Elliot was quick to exit the cab, and circle the car to open my door. I stepped out, Elliot paid the driver and the cab drove away.
“So you ARE going to **** and ****** me?”
Elliot looked at me, and took my hand.
“I’m sorry about in the car. What mean by things in motion is like, cars and trains and planes and...” he paused, “and ****...”
We both laughed.
“I knew what you meant. I’m sorry if I was being difficult.”
He gave me a look and I nodded at him. He took me by the hand and led me closer to the building. We reached a door that had been boarded up.
“This doesn’t look like the moon...Or NASA...”
“Ellie. Do you trust me?”
“I...I don’t really even know you so-“
Elliot pried back at the board, slipping into the building through a small space and pulled me inside with him. The room we stepped into was a circle, and in the center; a large telescope.
“Does that even work?”
He squeezed my hand, then let go. Approaching the telescope, he stepped up a small set of stairs to a control panel. He pushed a few buttons and a few moments later, I heard a whirring and a low rattle followed by a deep sound. I felt a slight vibration and suddenly the roof was opening above me, exposing the night sky. On this night, the stars were bright, and the moon was full.
“Come here” Elliot called out from near the telescope.
I started to shake only slightly at the sight of the sky above me, I felt frozen and tense, as if I couldn’t move. Elliot made his way down the stairs and towards me.
“It’s okay Ellie.” he said, reaching for my hand and guiding me towards the telescope. We stepped up the stairs, and he stood next to me, still holding my hand as he adjusted a few things, looking in the telescope, then at me, then back through the telescope. He turned towards me, nudging me.
“Go ahead.”
I looked at the giant metal telescope, and shook my head.
“I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here but-“
He put his hand on my lower back, and pushed me towards the telescope.
“Just look.”
I put my face close to the telescope, an
Allania Berkey Mar 2016
The clock struck midnight
I was restless and thoughtful as could be
I noticed that I had been tossing and turning to a beat and rhythm that plunged above in the sky
It was a thunder-storm
bang, crash, thump
The sky illuminated in glory
Envy

The thunder roared and crashed in the middle of the night and the trees helplessly yearned for serenity
Ironic
It was calm earlier that day
Imagine
The breeze was right where it should have been and the sun was warmer than a hot skillet on a stove top
Peace
The sky was fostered in a pacific blue
And the clouds resembled dreams
Love
I remember it was 1:05 pm to be exact and I was feeling blissful
I decided to ride my bike through a quaint old town, two miles west of my house
Adventure
I stopped and stared at this little old man painting in the park
He was painting a tree, with pink, red, purple and gray
Odd
I couldn't help, but noticed how he was enticed by his surroundings
Interesting
I continued to bike away
It was now 2:45pm and I was feeling a bit famished
To the right of me stayed a cunning unforgettable coffee shop
I insisted to go in
Hesitation
Something about that coffee shop struck me that day, just like the little old man painting his introspection in the park
The room reeked in comfort and patience
Something I did not understand
Silence
Contemplatively, I bought a cup of coffee--black, I also companied that coffee with a blue berry scone--my favorite
I sat by the window to admire the sunlight and how the warmth cherished my skin
I sipped my coffee--startled
I noticed something peculiar about this coffee shop and this day
Instantly, I was left with an uneasy and unsettled feeling
Thoughtful
My black coffee was much more bitter than usual
It is as if the taste could not go down my throat
Something was wrong, I felt it
As I looked around the room everyone else was enjoying their cup of coffee
They also seemed to lack any hesitation
The tone in their voices create a harmonic rhythm in conversation
I noticed that every time they took a sip of their coffee they found it sweet, rather than bitter
I turned my head and looked out the window for a moment
Suddenly, I noticed that the sky was diminishing in its tints of blue
Wonder
I looked down at my watch
It was 3:35pm, I had to get home
I paid my bill and scurried onto my bike
Remember
The sky was calm throughout the entirety of the day
It was lovely and ideal--until it wasn't

No one expected a storm
No one expected disaster
But somehow, I did

I laid in bed that night waiting in anticipation
Waiting for my world to collide
Thunder and lighting seemed to have fought its way through the sky
Time
There wasn't enough
Concurrently, I felt bitter-- just like my cup of coffee in that cunning old shop
Ambiguity
I was left without answers
I was left without sugar and cream
creek, scratch, thump
The tree branch slid against the slide of my house
I noticed it all
It's starting
All the anticipation and anxiety I felt throughout the day was finally coming to its end or maybe to its start
The sky started to illuminate an illusion of sunlight
It was 11:30 pm and the day it almost to its end
I laid in bed thinking
I thought about my day and everything that it was missing
I notice it all
The little old man in the park painted a tree with a usual set of pigments, he defined ordinary, while sat alone comforted by the mere work of his creativity
The people in the coffee shop arrayed and encompassed patience, harmony and happiness
I was struck by discomfort because I unware of all those wonderful things
I knew all about the thunder and how it was provoked in the sky
I understood the lighting and its wish to shine
I thought of the beat and tempo that they would together make
Sometimes it was bitter, but sometimes it was sweet
I understood thunder and lighting
I understood why they danced viciously in the sky  
Finally, the clock struck midnight and it was now tomorrow
Fear
The storm was coming to its peak
The thunder fought its way with the lighting just as viciously written words floated on a piece of paper
The lighting struck back with ferocious and willful ambition
Relentless
The lighting held its ground, but didn't give up its hope
BANG
Memories
It was 1:05 am
The storm had reached its end
The thunder and lighting seemed to have parted their ways
Their fight was tortious
Nobody won, rather they both lost
It was 1:25 am
The rain had finally stopped
The trees have found their peace
It was 1:42 am
As I laid in bed, I thought about my day
I just want the storm to stop
Just like the the thunder and lightening, the little old man in the park and the people in that cunning old coffee shop, all have found their comfort and patience
The thunder and lightening have similarly found it in their bitter sweet good bye
It was wonderful
I noticed that as much as they fought throughout that darling midnight blue sky, they were attracted to their rhythm—A rhythm that was worth saving
The sweetness was found in their beat as they danced throughout the night
The thunder and lighting created a bittersweet combination
Just like the coffee I wish I would of had
A natural disaster that was intended to create a craze in the sky
The thunder wanted to be sweet, as did the lighting
Two peas in two different pods
Their negativity created the sweet appreciation of warm sunlight
I notice it all
The sun was the sweet
The day was calm
The thunder and lightening both knew it all too well
That night, the reminder of it anyways, I laid in bed and I knew that someday the storm would go away
It was 2:25 am and I finally shut my eyes
We all know shame and understand to avoid it when necessary. But sometimes, we just walk down her street and hope the world would forget.
Do they forget? Or do you forget? The unexplainable embarrassment of the year.

Yeah! My case was a shame of the year and this is how it happened.

My grandma, "a hajat" runs a retail shop along a highway in some small town. It faces a rising sun which I enjoy bathing on the cold days.
I greet her, grab a chair, place it onto the verandah as soon as she opens her doors to the shop.

She is a tough person to read really. Unlike most elderly ladies who give a cozy feeling while talking to them, she freaks me out. Like she doesn't like me. Or for some reason, hates me and just blurs me in her mind's eye. And I think I did give her a reason to.


About eight months ago, I came to live next to her, at my own place in my own first home. A single room, rented, along a muddy road (cause it's raining now) off the highway. The building is one block away from where the shop is. So if the shop faces north, my room would face the east.


I should say I didn't know her until that time. Like we had not seen each other until then, and until she sold me a three litre Jerry can for I think triple the price, Ugshs 3500. And then, she gave me a reason to go to other shops. It was expensive even in my own ignorance since I had never done shopping for household items before.
So I tried other shops and bought a five litre jerry can at Ugshs2500. I was happy. It felt like money well spent. That I was a genius finally in control of my first days in the real world, away from home and school.
But at the same time, a wrong or the best idea of never to buy from her again. I mean, if family is to be exploited by you, am sorry grandma, I ain't going to be part of your legacy.


So the sneaky dealings started like I was buying drugs from another dealer and had to be sure she never comes to know. Not that she would do anything, but really it would look weird.

My new dealer would be a shop along the same highway, on the same side, just a one block away from the grandma's left.  A she of course, who undeniably is beautiful. A gracious voice and radiant smile, offering to do way good stuff if I buy from her. Like she sorts my rice so I take ready to cook and eat. Which of course my grandma, wouldn't do. And again, she is beautiful.


Anyway I usually peeked at the verandah to see if grandma wasn't there, then walk like a boss to my dealer whom am so proud to buy from. And this was just smooth until, I can't even say...


It was a normal black out, just a few candle lights from the still open shops, and flashing lights of passing vehicles. The sky was dark enough for the  many visible stars that dotted it's canvas. And this guy, myself, chooses to take a walk, masking the night, thinking about my own duties till I come close to my dealer's shop, "mama Mariam" that I remembered I had a pickup to do.

It was dark and if that wouldn't have been the best time, then there wouldn't have been any better. She was not on her verandah, but dumping ******* into a "pit." so I took hold of the moment and made the pickup. I didn't ask for a wrapping for my 1kg of rice and turned to leave the shop.

And duh, lights everywhere. To be specific, light above my head. Electricity was back from its normal routines as it always is in developing countries. Very bright. Probably a new bulb. Looking across me, grandma standing on the verandah looking back at me. With my spoils in my hands, I swear I wished to be anywhere else but not there. I was drowning literally in my mind that I froze for sometime. May be a minute or two. Until I went back into the shop and asked for a wrapping before walking shamefully with my head low.

It was the worst I had ever felt in a long time. Wait, the worst that I still do feel. So guilty that I have been avoiding my morning sun bath.

And when I did see her, she replied to me like nothing had happened. Huh? Nothing?!
Just with her stale face like before which could mean she always knew I bought from that shop. Or worst, "I don't care. You can go to hell grandson. You are a sellout."

And to the moment I write this, I still feel her stale eyes, hear her raspy voice like echoes from a nightmare that am never to wake up from, taunting me like a ghost.

Grandma, am sorry. But she is a pretty  lady the stole me from you. Please just understand why I had to do this. It was a tough decision that took seconds to make and would probably do the same until you start selling a bit cheaply. Wait, even if you did, she is a pretty woman and that's a good reason to keep buying from


And again, am sorry! Love you!
Shashank Virkud Sep 2011
Coffee shop talk,
a cigarette gets lit.

Coffee shop talk,
come here, come sit.

Coffee shop talk,
I've got a lot to tell you.

Coffee shop talk,
I've got to stop
stalking you.
Javaria Waseem Oct 2014
I sat there in a coffee shop, alone on a winter's night.
Holding my regular cappuccino topped with foam milk
I stared blankly into the cup hoping something to cross my mind.

The aroma of the coffee reminded me of some blurry memories
And the dark brown color seemed like the color of his eyes.
I sat there in a coffee shop, alone on a winter's night.

The warmth of the cup that gave me chills yet comforted me
were a proof how everything went back to him every time.
I sat there in a coffee shop, alone on a winter's night.

The bitter sip traveled down my throat with
a pinching effect but it felt so *******, to my surprise.
I sat there in a coffee shop, alone on a winter's night.

I licked the last bits of the foam from my lips, oh that delight!
I smiled to myself as I placed the empty cup back on the table.
I sat there in a coffee shop, satisfied on a winter's night.
Terry Collett Dec 2015
I saw it in the window
of an art shop
vacancy apply within
so I went in to apply

an old guy with a moustache
came up to me and said
can I help you Sir?

I've come about the vacancy

o Abela there's a man here
about that vacancy

a young woman came in
from the back of the shop
she was shorter than I was
neat and compact
with dark hair

you've come
about the vacancy?

yes I saw it
as I was passing by
I said

have you worked
in an art shop before?

no not in any shop

she frowned
she had a nice forehead
what makes you think
you can be of help to us?

I like art
and I know most
of the genres of art
and artist's names

she looked past me
then back at me
are you an artist?

no I'm a poet

she walked away
a few paces then
turned to gaze
at the passing people
outside the shop window

look it's nearly 1pm
maybe we can go next door
to the public house
and have lunch
and talk things over
she said

sure I'd like that
I said

so we left the old guy
in charge of the shop
and went into the bar

we ordered and sat down
with our drinks
and a round of sandwiches

what is you name
how old are you?
she said

my name's Benny
and 24 years old

she was younger
by a year or so

and what was your
previous occupation?
she said

I studied her as she spoke
she had white teeth
and a smallish tongue

I was a nurse  

she frowned

why aren't you
still a nurse?

too long hours
and crap pay

she leaned back
in her chair
and flicked back
her hair

are you an artist?
I asked

she nodded

what kind of art
do you do?
Pop Art
she said

I sipped my drink
(small scotch)

what kind of poetry
do you write?

modern none
of that Wordsworth
kind of thing

she leaned forward
holding a sandwich

I noted the impression
of her neat ****

we close on Sundays
but you can have
another day off
in the week
but not Saturdays
as that is our busiest day
I have Wednesdays off
as I like a break in my week
she said

I've got the job?
I said

a month's trial
she said
and told me
the rates of pay
and the hours

so we ate and drank
and then we returned to the shop
and she said
see you Tuesday then
9am

ok
I said
and watched her walk
back up into the rear
of the shop

I waited as people
behind me walked pass
she had a fine sway
and neat ***.
A YOUNG MAN APPLIES FOR A JOB IN AN ART SHOP IN 1972.
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
Anonymous Freak Sep 2017
If I had a coffee shop,
I'd call it The Lullaby.
There'd be sleepy yellow light,
And beer mugs full of
Iced tea.

I'd know all of the town
Gossip,
And hug the people who
Need it.
I'd have sandwiches
For rainy days,
And warm pastries
For snowy days,
And Potato salad
For hot days.

If I had a coffee shop,
Old men would sit at the bar,
Sipping their simple coffees,
And whining about the weather,
And the problems
With their cars.
If I had a coffee shop,
Old women would tell me
My cakes are made
The way their mothers used to
Make them,
And I'd serve them tea
In thriftstore
Missmatch teacups.

I'd fill my little Lullaby,
With work by unknown artists,
And strange trinkets I took
A fancy to,
And have books
About old actors,
And books meant to be
Read in a crowd
So you can imagine
The lives around you.

If I owned a coffee shop,
I'd play songs from musicals,
And garnish things
With mint leaves
And strawberries.
I'd have madalines
And my mother's coffee cake,
And her soup too.

If I had a coffee shop,
Maybe I could meet you.
Kurt De Castro Jan 2016
“Thank you, Sir Max! Have a seat po muna.”

Pangiti ‘yang sinabi ng barista sa kahera pagkatapos kong abutin ang bayad. Sa totoo lang, hindi talaga Max ang pangalan ko. Sadyang pinipili ko lang talagang ibahin ang pangalan ko tuwing hinihingi ito ng mga barista.

Patuloy pa rin ang pagbagsak ng ulan sa labas at ng paghalik ng bawat patak ng ulan sa magaspang na aspalto nang maupo ako sa paboritong sulok ng aking paboritong *coffee shop
.

Bagaman nangingibabaw pa rin ang mahalimuyak na  amoy ng kape sa paligid at dinig pa rin ang mahinhing pagkumpas ng kamay ng orasang nakapako sa ibabaw ng kahera, ay tila kakaiba ang pakiramadam sa loob ng maginaw na silid.

Mas kaunti sa nakasanyan ang bilang ng mga taong narito ngayon. Sa katunayan, tatatlo lang kami: ako, isang matandang abala sa pagbabasa ng diyaryo, at isang estudyante nag-aaral maging abogado na tila nakatulog habang nagbabasa ng isang makapal na librong tinalaban ng samu’t saring kulay ng highlighter.

Patuloy ang paglibot at paggapang ng mga mata ko sa kabuuan ng coffee shop upang maghanap ng iba pang dahilan ng pagkakaiba nang biglang kumalansing ang batingaw na nagpapahiwatig ng pagbukas ng pinto.

Kasabay ng pagbukas na ito ay ang pagpasok ng naglalakad at nakabibighaning imahe ng bukang liwayway. Magulo ang kaniyang buhok dahil sa lakas ng hangin at bihis siya ng ginaw at ng patak ng tubig-ulan. Bakas sa mukha niya na problemadong problemado siya, siguro may nakilumutan, o dahil hindi siya nakapagdala ng payong masisilungan. Ngunit sa pagkunot ng noo at pagtiklop ng kilay niya at sa asar na asar niyang pagkamot sa ulo buhat ng inis, ay lalo lang siyang naging kaakit-akit.

Agaran siyang umupo at tumahan sa silya’t lamesang pinakamalapit sa malaking salaming dumudungaw palabas ng kalsadang kinaroroonan ng coffee shop. Bagaman nakatalikod siya sa akin, bakas sa aninag ng salaming kaharap niya ang imahe ng babaeng tila hindi pa dinadapuan ng sinag ng araw.

Kitang-kita sa salamin ang maalindog niyang kutis na ‘sing puti ng gatas at ang kinang ng kanyang tila diyamanteng mga mata. Agaran din siyang naglabas ng kulay-rosas na diyaket na walang ginawa kung ‘di pag-igihan pa lalo ang balat niyang tila hinango mula sa porselana.

Ika-nga, love at first sight. Nag simula akong manginig dahil sa ‘di inaasahang pagtibok at pagkutob ng dibdib. Hindi pa nakatutulong ang tila-niyebeng lamig ng silid. Sumunod ang titig ko nang tumayo siya at naglakad patungo sa kahera upang bumili ng kanyang iinumin

Pero sa loob ng ilang segundo, muli na namang napako ang tingin ko sa makapigil-hiningang tanawing umaaninaw sa mahalumigmig na salamin nang muli siyang maupo sa tronong nararapat para sa isang reynang kagaya niya.

Kulang na lang ay ang koronahan siya.

At sa kaniyang pag-upo ay naglabas siya ng halos gutay-gutay nang kopya ng Sense and Sensibility ni Jane Austen. At habang nakayuko siyang nagbabasa ay napansin ko ang ayos at pagkatali ng kanyang buhok na kanina lamang ay napakagulo.

At sa saglit na iyon, ay inakala kong nananaginip na ako, nang bigla kong narinig ang pangalan kong tinatawag.

Grande iced white chocolate mocha with extra espresso shot for Max!

Agad akong tumayo upang kunin ang inuming kanina ko pang hinihintay. Ngunit habang naglalakad ako ay napansin kong nakatayo at naglalakad din siya patungo sa counter.

Halos sabay kaming nakarating sa harap ng nalilitong barista. Hinihintay kong abutin sa akin ng barista ang aking inumin ngunit nabigla ako nang mapalihis ang tingin niya sa akin at nalipat sa babaeng katabi ko at sinabing:

Here’s your drink, Max. Enjoy!

Sa hindi inaasahang pangyayari, biglang sumambulat palabas ng bibig ko ang mga salitang ito:

Max din ang pangalan mo?

Hindi ko ginustong tanungin siya at hindi ko ginustong marinig ang sagot niya. Mas gugustuhin ko sana kung bigla na lang hihinto ang lahat ng bagay at tao sa mundo maliban sa akin, upang ako ay makatakas at tumakbo palabas.  Kuntento na ako sa lagay ko kanina, nakaupo at nagmamasid sa malayo habang pinpanood ang isang pangrap na ‘di ko makakamit. Ngunit sandalian akong napatigil at napaisip:

Naging Joshua sana ako ngayon. ‘Di kaya Mike? O kaya Gabriel?

Gayun na lang ang malaking kong pasasalamat sa kung anumang uri ng tadhana ang gumabay sa akin ngayon. Kung hindi dahil sa hindi ko pangalan, ay hindi ko sana makikilala itong rebulto ng kariktang kasalukuyang nasa harap ko.

Nanumbalik ang eksenang kinahaharap ko nang mahinhin, marahan, at patawang siyang sumagot:

Oo. Maxene actually. Max for short.

At sa loob ng mga salitang iyon, ay dahan-dahan akong nahulog. Nahulog sa tinig ng kanyang boses, sa magkabilang dulong pagtiklop ng sulok ng labi niya, sa pagkunot ng noo at kilay niyang perpekto.

Sa loob din ng mga salitang iyon ay namuo ang simula ng paboritong kong kuwento ng pag-ibig.

Pagkatapos ng aming pambihirang pagkikita, ay nagpakilala kami sa isa’t isa. Nagpakilala  ako sa pamamagitan ng totoo kong pangalan at ipinaliwanag ko kung paano ko pinapalitan ang pangalan ko tuwing may kaharap akong barista. Matapos ay niyaya niya akong umupo kasama niya, sa tabi ng mahalumigmig na salaming dumudungaw sa kaparangang nasa labas. Ang parehong salamin kung saan kanina lamang ay pinagmumunihan ko ang kaniyang kagandahan.

Habang naglalakad patungo sa kaniyang puwesto, hindi ko mapigilang isipin na para bang hinhila ako paloob sa mundo ng paborito kong pelikula. Kung saan bahagi ako ng kuwento kung saan siya ang bida. Pakiramdam ko rin na para akong namumuhay sa kalagitnaan ng liriko ng paborito kong kanta, sa bawat pagkumpas sa gitara, at bawat pagtambol ng drum set ng paborito kong banda o sa mga pagitan ng mga siwang ng mga salita sa bawat pahina ng paborito kong libro.

Isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat.

Apat na oras kaming nakipagkuwentahan sa isa’t isa. Apat na oras na akong nakatitig sa bilog ng kanyang mga mata. Mga matang walang pinagkaiba sa paghiga sa damuhang nasa ilalim ng kalawakan habang nakatitig sa dilim ng kalangitan, habang pinapanood ang pagsayaw at pagkislap ng milyun-milyong mga bituin. Sa katunayan, halos inabot na kami ng pagsasara ng coffee shop. Sa loob ng apat na oras ay nakilala ko ang isang babaeng tiyak na mamahalin ko.

Hinggil sa kaalaman ko, sabay pala kaming nagtapos sa parehong kilalang pamantasang matatagpuan sa kahabaan ng Katipunan. BS Biology ang naging kurso niya. Higit pa, ikalawang taon na niya pala ng pag-aaral niya ng medisina. Pangarap niya raw ang maging doktor. Iyon na rin ang naging  dahilan niya upang magpaalam. May pasok pa kasi raw siya bukas at may kailangang pag-aaralan.

At iyon na nga, nagpaalam kami sa isa’t isa at humingi ako ng paumanhin dahil sa abalang naidulot ko.

Hanggang sa susunod na apat na oras at apat na tasa ng kapeng nanlamig na?

Pahabol at pangiti niyang sinabi habang nasa kalagitnaan ng pintuan at ng mundong panlabas.

Hanggang sa susunod!

---
Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shop and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you
Ryan Klawitter Aug 2014
There is a Man down the street with a funny eye
He sits in front of his shop, hoping that I’ll walk by and buy
a diet pepsi
a bottled water
a bag of freaking chips
anything.

But I don’t buy from the Man with the funny eye
I don’t know why I don’t just stop in and
settle.
Thank God Sammy has his store just a little closer
just across the street
but it opens later
and
Thank God that the corner store is available
at all hours
but to get to it I need to walk by
the shop
His shop.

He doesn’t say anything
He just
Stares.
Or he doesn’t.
Sometimes he sits outside the shop
sipping coffee or smoking a cigarette
I hear He likes to break up fights, but He never starts them
He wants to teach me Arabic
and
I want to learn
but I avoid his shop all the same.

Sometimes I cut a zig-zag pattern across the street
from sidewalk to sidewalk
just to maneuver myself around the shop
of the Man with the funny eye
so that I can get to the corner store without walking by.
But I know He still sees me
at least some of the time
at least once.

I just know I’ve hurt Him
at least once.
I’ll walk into His shop
and
sit down and have a chat
buy a diet pepsi
a coffee
and a pack of cigarettes
A short poem I wrote about a shopkeeper I met on my street while living in Egypt
Kuzhur Wilson Dec 2013
Some place
Some time
There was a tea shop.
Open not just in the mornings,
But at noon and the evenings too.

Mornings, the menu read
Uzhunnuvada, idli,dosa,
Uppuma, vellayappam,idiyappam,
Sambar, payaru curry,kadala
And several chatnis.

Noon, the menu read
Aviyal,achinga,pachadi,
Kichadi,pulisseri,thoran,achar,
And several kinds of buttermilk.

Evenings, the menu read
Sukhiyan, bonda,
Pazhampori, parippu vada, mulaguvada,
Diluted milk, black coffee
And several forms of tea.

There was a cook in that tea shop.
There was an owner for that tea shop.
Both had a son each.
Those boys went to the same school.
They studied in the same class.
They sat on the same bench.

Whenever he was hungry,
One of the boys thought of
The owner of that tea shop.
Eyes widening with admiration for
The great man that he was!
He could eat anything
Whenever he was hungry,
Reaching for it in the container
Or poking his head into the food shelf
Or entering the kitchen itself.
He could take anything,
The boy salivated.

To the query “What do you want to be?”,
He even replied once that
He wanted to be that man.

But, whenever he was hungry,
The other boy thought of
The cook in that tea shop.
He lauded him in awe of
the great man that he was.
He could cook and eat
Anything any time any quantity,
He imagined jealously.

To the query “What do you want to be?”,
He even replied once that
He wanted to be that man.

Wait, don’t leave yet,
Dusting off your bottom
After reading an average poem.
Sighing indepthly
Or grunting lazily
Or belching sourly.

You are free to leave after
Answering a few questions.


Who owns this tea shop actually?
These schoolboys from the tea shop,
Whose sons are they actually?

There is another boy
Besides these two
In this poem!

Who is he?
By Kuzhur Wilson
Trans by Ra Sh
I
Hear the story of our oil –
Hail to oil!
From the glory days of Drake well we recoil,
To see seabirds flap and shudder,
Dolphins, turtles flop and sputter
With collective dying groan.
Hear our population moan
When the gasoline price geysers to the sky.
Still we drive, drive, drive,
To keep consumer binge alive,
Amid a maritime disaster fast evolving from the spoil
Of the oil.
For the oil, oil, oil, oil,
Oil, oil, oil,
For the gushing and the oozing of the oil.

II
Smell the ancient dark crude oil
Stinking oil!
Engulf the products made refining from a boil:
Guzzle gasoline flambé,
Drive-through fast food every day,
Raise our carbonated toast to Arctic roast…
Then drill more oil!
GM corn and corn-fed beef --
Both born of oil,
The shaving cream I slather on my face is made from oil,
Toothpaste, vitamins and lipstick,
Tires, everlasting plastic,
Come from oil;
All American affliction
Petrolopium addiction –
Truth is stranger now than fiction
And it does not set us free;
We are prisoners of oil,
And as slaves to OPEC pricing we all toil,
For the tapping and the lapping
Of the oil.
For the oil, oil, oil, oil,
Oil, oil, oil,
For the drilling and the swilling of the oil.

III
Soak in news of spilling oil –
Offshore oil!
In grim images of damage that the television splays;
First blow-out slimed in sixty-nine at Santa Barbara Bay
Then ten years next blew Ixtoc
In the Gulf of Mexico,
Two-ninety day gush tick tock
Slick slopped thousand miles away
To Texas shores!
In Alaska’s Prince William Sound
Exxon Valdez ran aground in eighty-nine;
Full tanker load erupted,
Left the rocky coast corrupted –
Prudhoe crude!
Seals and otters stuck in goo
Seabirds suffered coatings too,
Cruising tourists supped in view
Of the oil, oil, oil,
Thickened slick encrusted oil
On the shore!
How it clings and clogs and covers;
All aquatic life it smothers
Marsh and beach are left in cataclysmic mire!
Still we “drill baby drill,”
All our gas tanks gotta fill,
We must shop, shop, shop,
Lest our wasteful lifestyle stop,
So we run, run, run,
Take our car vacation fun --
At the beach…
See the sheen -- how it shines!
Pretty rainbow-colored lines
From the oil!
We love our oil, oil, oil, oil,
Oil, oil, oil,
For economy cachinging in the oil!

IV
Hear the praise of offshore oil,
Miles deep oil!
For the goal of independence on our oceans now we toil,
Till ungraceful conflagration
Twenty April rocked the nation
On the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
Eleven lives were lost in blast
As the deep crude spewed out fast,
Gushing Hell!
Couldn’t stop it with top ****,
Junk shot, golf *****, caps wouldn’t still
Gushing well,
And the spreading, spreading, spreading
In a steady surging crawl,
Gulf coast residents all dreading
That their livelihoods might stall,
Now the fish and shrimp are ill,
Tourist business will be nil,
And still oil spews…
We must thank God that there’s *****,
For there’s nothing but bad news
And the ooze, ooze, ooze
Oily ooze.
Who will pay, who will pay?
Who will make this go away?
Who’s to blame? Who’s to shame?
Many pointy fingers aim –
Lefty points to rich BP,
Righty points to rock Obama,
And there’s six sticks pointing back at you and me!
We will pay, pay, pay,
At the gas pumps we will pay,
So we can drive, drive, drive,
And keep America alive;
Despite the grim disaster that arises from the spill,
The way we live and spend won’t easily end;
So we’ll still say “drill baby drill,”
Each time our gas tanks get a fill,
And we will shop, shop, shop
To do our patriotic duty --
Spend our *****, *****, *****
For the oil.
For the oil, oil, oil, oil,
Oil, oil, oil,
For the gushing and the oozing of the oil!

Drafted 6/8/10, revised 6/14/10
Best read to the "tune" of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells"....with apologies to Poe for repurposing his meter scheme for a theme less cheerful!
Maddie Sapp Aug 2014
There was this donut shop.

You took me there on one of our first dates

or whatever you want to call it.

No one has ever taken me to a late night place like that.

it is totally me.

Food.

you knew the way to my heart.

that became one of our places.

overtime we stopped going.

our love for the donut shop sort of faded

I guess our love started to fade too.

I'll never forgive myself.

for the wrongs that I have done.

and neither will you.

but that's okay.

why we thought it would be okay to meet at a place that

held such wonderful memories

to talk about

how we are not together.

to talk about my wrongs

to talk about your rights.

to talk about where we faltered.

and the last time we met,

I told you, you would be okay.

that you would find a love like ours.

and you whispered under your breath

after shaking your head,

"it only took 20 years"

We sat in silence.

and I knew

that it would never be the same ever again.

as much as you love me

as much as I love you

We both knew that it was done.

So we sat a little longer

knowing that neither of us wanted to leave

but knowing that we had too

cause it was better for the both of us.

We said our last goodbye

and held each other once more.

I turned around

door closed and you were gone.

I guess it goes full circle.

where we once loved deeply

it only felt right to end things

where they began.

the donut shop.
The strong smell of coffee hit the breeze or the fan
Driving it to my smell, to my nose with a plan
What a blessing, what a gem
To be in a Coffee Shop at 9:30 Am

The sound of the chimes ringing, the glass doors swing in
The coffee lashing tin, the sound of the songs come so thin
How happy the sounds to them
In the Coffee Shop at 9:30 Am

Friends, business men, students, and fancy women
Anyone could be here from hero to villain
Where there's peace and mayhem
In a Coffee Shop at 9:30 Am

The ceramic mugs heat to the touch
With the temperature of the air conditioning and such
The dangiling of my skirt from waist to hem
The feelings I have in the Coffee Shop at 9:30 Am

The final taste of cake with coffee, mixture of frosting and bean
Last gulp of strong Arabica until the mug is clean
Still my favorite place from now and then
Me in a Coffee shop at 9:30 Am
Fiona Guest Feb 2011
The shop girl and the mannequin appear
Together in their shop front window stage -
It’s here the plastic soul gets cleaned, and here
The brand new body dons the latest rage.
The model feels the former’s hands embrace
Her own, and feels the stressed-out beat
Of heart within the arteries, the trace
Of hurried blood where their pale fingers meet.
The shop girl scrubs the limbs to blanker grace,
And twists the head to meet the staring street.
So all will see the calibrated face,
And all will search the heart that doesn’t beat.

Week coming, in the season’s latest dress,
The shop girl will the mannequin redress.
Terry Collett Aug 2012
On the third day
of the holidays
you met Janice

half way up Bath Terrace
at the entrance to the flats
where she lived with her gran

she was dressed in her red beret
yellow flowered cotton dress
white socks and brown sandals

she smiled when she saw you
and said
feared you might not show

I told you I’d be here
you said
she looked at you

and said
I know
but some people say things

but don’t show
I’m not some people
if I say I’ll be here

I’ll be here
you said
glad you’re here

she said
Gran doesn’t like me
going out alone

she says there are strange men
out there who take kids off
and do things to them

and ****** them
yes
you said

I read about that boy
they found murdered
near here

she looked concerned
don’t worry
you’re with me

my mum told me
where to kick them
if they try anything on

oh
Janice said as you both
walked up to the top

of the terrace
to Harper Road  
where’re we going?

she asked
a bombed out
butcher’s shop

you replied
isn’t that dangerous?
she asked

not if we’re careful
where we tread
you said

isn’t that breaking
and entering?
she asked

no we don’t break in
you said
we walk in

the back gate
it’s not locked
oh

she said
looking concerned
we won’t get into trouble

will we? Gran said
she’d tan my backside
if I got into trouble

would I get you into trouble?
you asked
guess not

she said softly
you crossed
Harper Road

and went round the back
of the bombed out
butcher’s shop

and opened the gate
and entered
into an empty yard

you shut the gate
after you
and she stood gaping

at the back of the shop
you showed her
the large walk in freezer

where meat had once
been kept
now empty

smelling of ****
and damp
what if you got locked in?

she said
the lock’s busted
you said

oh I see
she replied
her eyes large

and her mouth open
in wonder
you took her into

the shop now empty
apart from a large table
with a marble top

where meat
had once been cut
and chopped up

it stinks
she said
yes tramps get in

sometime and shelter
for the night
are they here now?

she asked nervously
no they go off
in the day

you said
giving her
a smile

you took her up
the creaking stairs
to the upper landing

where the sky
shone through the roof
where a bomb

had fallen in
gosh
she said

how weird
one of the rooms
had an old bed frame

pushed in a corner
and the roof
was still there

except where a few tiles
had gone
someone slept there once

she said
and now
they’re probably dead

you took her hand
and walked her
to the window

and looked out
on Harper Road
people would have looked out

of this window too
you said
sad isn’t it

she said
and you sensed
her lay

on your shoulder
her fair haired
red bereted head.
Jayesh Jun 2018
It wasn’t supposed to be like this
Never had I imagined this
After I first saw you
Sitting in the corner of the coffee shop
Sipping tea with a hint of hazel
Matching the light in your eyes

I used to love that coffee shop
One we went back to many times
At least at first
You would order the same tea
With the same hint of hazel
And I would adore your acute audacity
Ordering tea in a coffee shop

I had friends who told me many things
They hadn’t been afraid to see the truth
Telling me we were moving too fast
Not really understanding where we were
But instead taking the present to define everything
Perhaps I should’ve listened

I had thought you were what they describe as ‘The One’
But your brilliance in my life
Blinded me of many things I should’ve paid heed to
Placing me on the edge of your storm
Instead of reaching the eye of it
As I should’ve

Maybe this is why the movies are fictional
They only exist in our lives until the end credits
Whereas I lived past them
And witnessed the reality
Beyond the list of directors, producers, and actors
Living in a cycle of after-credits

We went to that coffee shop one last time
And I looked
Looked for that same spark which I had latched on to
All those years back
But this time I truly saw you, past the light
This time you ordered coffee
Black, with no hint of hazel
i Apr 2014
walk into the tobacco shop,
the bell rings, letting everybody
know you're here to buy a cigar
that will soothe your pain
and eventually make it disappear,
until it comes back and
you'll reach out for
another, and another,
until your pack is empty,
and you'll go to
the same shop to buy
another one.
*it's a cycle that never
ends, and i hope it never will.
I was in a little coffee shop here in KY Area where many people from different places around the planet come to speak about innovative ideas and discuss their pass-times and exchange information on how to make the planet more ECO-FRIENDLY and better ways to go about the problems the whole Planet is facing today. We are against Governments that got TOP SECRET HIDDEN AGENDAS on how to Brain-Hack/Mind-Control/Mass-Hypnosis/Luciferian Doctrines/People with Special Gifts & Hidden Powers/ Godless people/Lovers Of $$$/Lustful People/Pornographic Industry/Video-Game Industry Become more Violent & Ruthless/ Lovers of themselves/ Inventors of Evil/ Deceivers/ Soul-Controllers/ Witches/ Witchcraft/ Demonic-Possession/Dark-Lords/Demon-Lords/NWO/NumberOfTheBeast(666) and Liars & Thieves.

It was around 5:51 A.M in the Morning on 3/4/19 and I walked in to this little Coffee Shop...I got greeted by a Young Woman who was really polite and really friendly...I told her I was homeless and that all I needed was to warm my hands for about 5 to 10 minutes and then all the sudden I started to tremble a bit and I felt so overwhelmed by a sense of peace and happiness...

All the sudden a small blue orb that I was able to see from the corner of my left eye came inside the Little Coffee Shop ...that little orb levitated to my table hovered right on the opposite chair to where I was sitting at...in the table. This little Orb started to un-wind and I told myself in my head...this is unbelievable ...is so amazing to see this... then the Orb slowly but surely; took a form of a Man with a White Long Tunic sitting across me like 4 ft opposite to me & the chair I was occupying to sit on. All the sudden I realized it was a Man about 151 Lbs height couldn't tell and a beautiful gray beard and his skin color was like all the races combined to 1 specific color but each color blended to perfection.
His feet looked like shiny pure bronze his hair was so long it touched the ground and was actually not gray the hair on his head was white...I noticed that when I came in it was just me and 2 female workers in the Coffee Shop and 1 Caucasian Female about 24-26 yrs old sitting on the other table across mine and she was minding her own business and typing in a computer...

Something was strange hence when this powerful being came inside the place I knew that it was so odd to just come to my table and hover and then slowly transform the small blue energy ball to a full blown grown older man with a extremely white tunic on...so white I could not tell if it was just the color or if it was transparent...
I figured that all the sudden I became extremely submissive to this being that was sitting across me and also I sensed deep within me that he is the ONE that made everything we know to exist and everything we think we know that is out there in the MULTI-VERSE.

I began to cry of overwhelming joy and happiness and a touch of excitement to see that he came to visit me and to make sure that he made his presence and even the air in the little shop changed it became more dense... everyone in the little coffee shop knew there was something up but couldn't exactly pin-point what was happening all the sudden I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and a radiant holiness inside that place that it was just unbelievable man. Then something amazing happened there was now about 10 people in the little coffee shop and everyone was intoxicated with the presence of the MAKER OF THE MULTI-VERSE CREATOR OF SOULS & STARS, GALAXIES, & BLACK-HOLES, WHITE-HOLES, WORM-HOLES, POWERS BEYOND HUMAN IMAGINATION TO EVEN GRASP & EVERYTHING WE THINK WE KNOW ABOUT THIS GALAXY or even the Universe.

Then everyone all the sudden smiled and it was all at the same exact time and everyone was talking rapidly and I could sense that they knew HE was also there...who ever thought GOD didn't exist up till then at that POINT when that mysterious presence appeared and made itself known to me and everyone else...it was just *** I couldn't believe it. It was if the whole place was filled with a sense of belonging a sense of hyper-joy a sense of perfection to everything. Then I noticed he the presence and he said..."Do you have anything you wanna ask me?" I was like...."I have...(interrupted) gave me the answer to my first question which we where talking to each other with telekinesis (it impacted me in such a way hence I had not even thought of the question that I wanted to ask and then he gave me the answer to the question I was thinking to ask with my mind and BOOM already had an answer for me.

I realized that 5 minutes had elapsed since he made himself known to everyone and that he was speaking to everyone simultaneously all at once ...I was so scared of his presence had a deep deep admiration for him and ultra FEAR and MEGA respect for him. He emanated this profound love and profound holiness it was just plain scary to know something like that could rule all things at all times and knows all answers and could destroy all we know to be EXISTENCE in less than a fraction of a second. IT was a real and so profound experience it felt ethereal and mind-blowing and also I could not think I could not speak I could not move all I could do IS CRY AND BE SCARED LIKE a little baby. Then he spoke and said "Son it's OK don't worry am not here to hurt you all I want you to do is to do what I put you on earth to do you are forgiven for your sins don't worry I know what you do...I know when you sin and what you like and what you don't and what you want and what you don't. Just don't ever doubt the power I hold and don't ever doubt me and you'll be just FINE." With that being said All I could do was merely say..."I surrender I am sorry for sinning my GOD ...I was genuinely afraid of what might happen next... I wanted to just BOW DOWN & WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY the FATHER OF ALL.

Then he also gave me permission to look into his eyes for just a glimpse..."I did and Oh My Freaking Gosh...it was so scary it was like a burning furnace his eyes and he read me and saw and told me every sin I ever committed all the wrong I ever did in just like an instant I felt like a mental defective I felt like a new born baby at that moment naked, afraid and alone knowing I was just a ***** RAG compared to the HOLIEST THING that I could ever imagine my mind kept blowing up from second to second till he left...I could not move speak ...ask or even do anything just cry and cry and cry.
After like 2 more minutes it was about in total of 8 minutes of my life being spent there with the MAKER...he left ...just like he came ... a flash of white light that blinded me  and everyone knew that he was gone then the air was back to being normal everyone back to their own head and their own problems but they left with a powerful perhaps the most powerful spiritual/ethereal/surreal/conscious waking experience...they shall ever have. I told the people the 2 girls in the little coffee shop that I was leaving and the rest of the day I felt like I had won just a billion dollars and I felt an after-glow of the MAKER it was so beautiful I loved it...Thanked the Girls for treating me like a human being and like someone that mattered and I left and did my own thing.

                                                                            Sincerely, H.R.V

THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE OF WHAT THE POWER THE MYSTERIOUS POWER OF GOD THE FATHER CAN RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN 1 INSTANT...DON'T DOUBT JUST BELIEVE & NEVER EVER ABANDON YOUR FAITH.
THE MAKER VISITED A COFFEE SHOP!!!
ˏˋDalPalˊˎ Feb 2016
Passing through those glorious doors together

We find home at Bombay Bakers

Your hand in mine

The sugary air hitting us harder than a brick wall

We both feel the grace of familiarity

Our chemistry hotter than the rolls in the oven

The smell of freshly baked croissants gives me the same warm feeling as your smile

Passing Agora we look at each other with the same bright eyes

It'll just be a quick stop but such a savory one as we sit and share a large caramel coffee

I hate the aftertaste but anything with you is such a candied tang in the end

Your cinnamon dusted lips so close to mine

Your taste so sweet couldn't even be compared

Licking each finger after your touch, trying to save each bit of you

It doesn't matter which side of the world we are on or where we end up in the end

As long as there's that corner bakers shop nearby

It'll be home with you
I'm comparing love to food <3

Short little poem today. not too happy with it but I don't know how to go on with this.

also another note: I love the word tang but I wish it wasn't so ****** :(
Victor D López Dec 2018
You were born five years before the Spanish Civil War that would see your father exiled.
Language came later to you than your little brother Manuel. And you stuttered for a time.
Unlike those who speak incessantly with nothing to say, you were quiet and reserved.
Your mother mistook shyness for dimness, a tragic mistake that scarred you for life.

When your brother Manuel died at the age of three from meningitis, you heard your mom
Exclaim: “God took my bright boy and left me the dull one.” You were four or five.
You never forgot those words. How could you? Yet you loved your mom with all your heart.
But you also withdrew further into a shell, solitude your companion and best friend.

You were, in fact, an exceptional child. Stuttering went away at five or so never to return,
And by the time you were in middle school, your teacher called your mom in for a rare
Conference and told her that yours was a gifted mind, and that you should be prepared
For university study in the sciences, particularly engineering.

She wrote your father exiled in Argentina to tell him the good news, that your teachers
Believed you would easily gain entrance to the (then and now) highly selective public university
Where seats were few, prized and very difficult to attain based on merit-based competitive
Exams. Your father’s response? “Buy him a couple of oxen and let him plow the fields.”

That reply from a highly respected man who was a big fish in a tiny pond in his native Oleiros
Of the time is beyond comprehension. He had apparently opted to preserve his own self-
Interest in having his son continue his family business and also work the family lands in his
Absence. That scar too was added to those that would never heal in your pure, huge heart.

Left with no support for living expenses for college (all it would have required), you moved on,
Disappointed and hurt, but not angry or bitter; you would simply find another way.
You took the competitive exams for the two local military training schools that would provide
An excellent vocational education and pay you a small salary in exchange for military service.

Of hundreds of applicants for the prized few seats in each of the two institutions, you
Scored first for the toughest of the two and thirteenth for the second. You had your pick.
You chose Fabrica de Armas, the lesser of the two, so that a classmate who had scored just
Below the cut-off at the better school could be admitted. That was you. Always and forever.

At the military school, you were finally in your element. You were to become a world-class
Machinist there—a profession that would have gotten you well paid work anywhere on earth
For as long as you wanted it. You were truly a mechanical genius who years later would add
Electronics, auto mechanics and specialized welding to his toolkit through formal training.

Given a well-stocked machine shop, you could reverse engineer every machine without
Blueprints and build a duplicate machine shop. You became a gifted master mechanic
And worked in line and supervisory positions at a handful of companies throughout your life in
Argentina and in the U.S., including Westinghouse, Warner-Lambert, and Pepsi Co.

You loved learning, especially in your fields (electronics, mechanics, welding) and expected
Perfection in everything you did. Every difficult job at work was given to you everywhere you
Worked. You would not sleep at night when a problem needed solving. You’d sketch
And calculate and re-sketch solutions and worked even in your dreams with singular passion.

You were more than a match for the academic and physical rigors of military school,
But life was difficult for you in the Franco era when some instructors would
Deprecatingly refer to you as “Roxo”—Galician for “red”-- reflecting your father’s
Support for the failed Republic. Eventually, the abuse was too much for you to bear.

Once while standing at attention in a corridor with the other cadets waiting for
Roll call, you were repeatedly poked in the back surreptitiously. Moving would cause
Demerits and demerits could cause loss of points on your final grade and arrest for
Successive weekends. You took it awhile, then lost your temper.

You turned to the cadet behind you and in a fluid motion grabbed him by his buttoned jacket
And one-handedly hung him up on a hook above a window where you were standing in line.
He thrashed about, hanging by the back of his jacket, until he was brought down by irate Military instructors.
You got weekend arrest for many weeks and a 10% final grade reduction.

A similar fate befell a co-worker a few years later in Buenos Aires who called you a
*******. You lifted him one handed by his throat and held him there until
Your co-workers intervened, forcibly persuading you to put him down.
That lesson was learned by all in no uncertain terms: Leave Felipe’s mom alone.

You were incredibly strong, especially in your youth—no doubt in part because of rigorous farm
Work, military school training and competitive sports. As a teenager, you once unwisely bent
Down to pick something up in view of a ram, presenting the animal an irresistible target.
It butted you and sent you flying into a haystack. It, too, quickly learned its lesson.

You dusted yourself off, charged the ram, grabbed it by the horns and twirled it around once,
Throwing it atop the same haystack as it had you. The animal was unhurt, but learned to
Give you a wide berth from that day forward. Overall, you were very slow to anger absent
Head-butting, repeated pokings, or disrespectful references to your mom by anyone.    

I seldom saw you angry and it was mom, not you, who was the disciplinarian, slipper in hand.
There were very few slaps from you for me. Mom would smack my behind with a slipper often
When I was little, mostly because I could be a real pain, wanting to know/try/do everything
Completely oblivious to the meaning of the word “no” or of my own limitations.

Mom would sometimes insist you give me a proper beating. On one such occasion for a
Forgotten transgression when I was nine, you  took me to your bedroom, took off your belt, sat
Me next to you and whipped your own arm and hand a few times, whispering to me “cry”,
Which I was happy to do unbidden. “Don’t tell mom.” I did not. No doubt she knew.

The prospect of serving in a military that considered you a traitor by blood became harder and
Harder to bear, and in the third year of school, one year prior to graduation, you left to join
Your exiled father in Argentina, to start a new life. You left behind a mother and two sisters you
Dearly loved to try your fortune in a new land. Your dog thereafter refused food, dying of grief.

You arrived in Buenos Aires to see a father you had not seen for ten years at the age of 17.
You were too young to work legally, but looked older than your years (a shared trait),
So you lied about your age and immediately found work as a Machinist/Mechanic first grade.
That was unheard of and brought you some jealousy and complaints in the union shop.

The union complained to the general manager about your top-salary and rank. He answered,
“I’ll give the same rank and salary to anyone in the company who can do what Felipe can do.”
No doubt the jealousy and grumblings continued by some for a time. But there were no takers.
And you soon won the group over, becoming their protected “baby-brother” mascot.

Your dad left for Spain within a year or so of your arrival when Franco issued a general pardon
To all dissidents who had not spilt blood (e.g., non combatants). He wanted you to return to
Help him reclaim the family business taken over by your mom in his absence with your help.
But you refused to give up the high salary, respect and independence denied you at home.

You were perhaps 18 and alone, living in a single room by a schoolhouse you had shared with Your dad.
But you had also found a new loving family in your uncle José, one of your father’s Brothers, and his family. José, and one of his daughters, Nieves and her
Husband, Emilio, and
Their children, Susana, Oscar (Ruben Gordé), and Osvaldo, became your new nuclear family.

You married mom in 1955 and had two failed business ventures in the quickly fading
Post-WW II Argentina of the late 1950s and early 1960s.The first, a machine shop, left
You with a small fortune in unpaid government contract work.  The second, a grocery store,
Also failed due to hyperinflation and credit extended too easily to needy customers.

Throughout this, you continued earning an exceptionally good salary. But in the mid 1960’s,
Nearly all of it went to pay back creditors of the failed grocery store. We had some really hard
Times. Someday I’ll write about that in some detail. Mom went to work as a maid, including for
Wealthy friends, and you left home at 4:00 a.m. to return long after dark to pay the bills.


The only luxury you and mom retained was my Catholic school tuition. There was no other
Extravagance. Not paying bills was never an option for you or mom. It never entered your
Minds. It was not a matter of law or pride, but a matter of honor. There were at least three very
Lean years where you and mom worked hard, earned well but we were truly poor.

You and mom took great pains to hide this from me—and suffered great privations to insulate
Me as best you could from the fallout of a shattered economy and your refusal to cut your loses
Had done to your life savings and to our once-comfortable middle-class life.
We came to the U.S. in the late 1960s after waiting for more than three years for visas—to a new land of hope.

Your sister and brother-in-law, Marisa and Manuel, made their own sacrifices to help bring us
Here. You had about $1,000 from the down payment on our tiny down-sized house, And
Mom’s pawned jewelry. (Hyperinflation and expenses ate up the remaining mortgage payments
Due). Other prized possessions were left in a trunk until you could reclaim them. You never did.

Even the airline tickets were paid for by Marisa and Manuel. You insisted upon arriving on
Written terms for repayment including interest. You were hired on the spot on your first
Interview as a mechanic, First Grade, despite not speaking a word of English. Two months later,
The debt was repaid, mom was working too and we moved into our first apartment.

You worked long hours, including Saturdays and daily overtime, to remake a nest egg.
Declining health forced you to retire at 63 and shortly thereafter you and mom moved out of
Queens into Orange County. You bought a townhouse two hours from my permanent residence
Upstate NY and for the next decade were happy, traveling with friends and visiting us often.

Then things started to change. Heart issues (two pacemakers), colon cancer, melanoma,
Liver and kidney disease caused by your many medications, high blood pressure, gout,
Gall bladder surgery, diabetes . . . . And still you moved forward, like the Energizer Bunny,
Patched up, battered, scarred, bruised but unstoppable and unflappable.

Then mom started to show signs of memory loss along with her other health issues. She was
Good at hiding her own ailments, and we noticed much later than we should have that there
Was a serious problem. Two years ago, her dementia worsening but still functional, she had
Gall bladder surgery with complications that required four separate surgeries in three months.

She never recovered and had to be placed in a nursing home. Several, in fact, as at first she
Refused food and you and I refused to simply let her waste away, which might have been
Kinder, but for the fact that “mientras hay vida, hay esperanza” as Spaniards say.
(While there is Life there is hope.) There is nothing beyond the power of God. Miracles do happen.

For two years you lived alone, refusing outside help, engendering numerous arguments about
Having someone go by a few times a week to help clean, cook, do chores. You were nothing if
Not stubborn (yet another shared trait). The last argument on the subject about two weeks ago
Ended in your crying. You’d accept no outside help until mom returned home. Period.

You were in great pain because of bulging discs in your spine and walked with one of those
Rolling seats with handlebars that mom and I picked out for you some years ago. You’d sit
As needed when the pain was too much, then continue with very little by way of complaints.
Ten days ago you finally agreed that you needed to get to the hospital to drain abdominal fluid.

Your failing liver produced it and it swelled your abdomen and lower extremities to the point
Where putting on shoes or clothing was very difficult, as was breathing. You called me from a
Local store crying that you could not find pants that would fit you. We talked, long distance,
And I calmed you down, as always, not allowing you to wallow in self pity but trying to help.

You went home and found a new pair of stretch pants Alice and I had bought you and you were
Happy. You had two changes of clothes that still fit to take to the hospital. No sweat, all was
Well. The procedure was not dangerous and you’d undergone it several times in recent years.
It would require a couple of days at the hospital and I’d see you again on the weekend.

I could not be with you on Monday, February 22 when you had to go to the hospital, as I nearly
Always had, because of work. You were supposed to be admitted the previous Friday, but
Doctors have days off too, and yours could not see you until Monday when I could not get off
Work. But you were not concerned; this was just routine. You’d be fine. I’d see you in just days.

We’d go see mom Friday, when you’d be much lighter and feel much better. Perhaps we’d go
Shopping for clothes if the procedure still left you too bloated for your usual clothes.
You drove to your doctor and then transported by ambulette. I was concerned, but not too Worried.
You called me sometime between five or six p.m. to tell me you were fine, resting.

“Don’t worry. I’m safe here and well cared for.” We talked for a little while about the usual
Things, with my assuring you I’d see you Friday or Saturday. You were tired and wanted to sleep
And I told you to call me if you woke up later that night or I’d speak to you the following day.
Around 10:00 p.m. I got a call from your cell and answered in the usual upbeat manner.

“Hey, Papi.” On the other side was a nurse telling me my dad had fallen. I assured her she was
Mistaken, as my dad was there for a routine procedure to drain abdominal fluid. “You don’t
Understand. He fell from his bed and struck his head on a nightstand or something
And his heart has stopped. We’re working on him for 20 minutes and it does not look good.”

“Can you get here?” I could not. I had had two or three glasses of wine shortly before the call
With dinner. I could not drive the three hours to Middletown. I cried. I prayed.
Fifteen minutes Later I got the call that you were gone. Lost in grief, not knowing what to do, I called my wife.
Shortly thereafter came a call from the coroner. An autopsy was required. I could not see you.

Four days later your body was finally released to the funeral director I had selected for his
Experience with the process of interment in Spain. I saw you for the last time to identify
Your body. I kissed my fingers and touched your mangled brow. I could not even have the
Comfort of an open casket viewing. You wanted cremation. You body awaits it as I write this.

You were alone, even in death alone. In the hospital as strangers worked on you. In the medical
Examiner’s office as you awaited the autopsy. In the autopsy table as they poked and prodded
And further rent your flesh looking for irrelevant clues that would change nothing and benefit
No one, least of all you. I could not be with you for days, and then only for a painful moment.

We will have a memorial service next Friday with your ashes and a mass on Saturday. I will
Never again see you in this life. Alice and I will take you home to your home town, to the
Cemetery in Oleiros, La Coruña, Spain this summer. There you will await the love of your life.
Who will join you in the fullness of time. She could not understand my tears or your passing.

There is one blessing to dementia. She asks for her mom, and says she is worried because she
Has not come to visit in some time. She is coming, she assures me whenever I see her.
You visited her every day except when health absolutely prevented it. You spent this February 10
Apart, your 61st wedding anniversary, too sick to visit her. Nor was I there. First time.

I hope you did not realize you were apart on the 10th but doubt it to be the case. I
Did not mention it, hoping you’d forgotten, and neither did you. You were my link to mom.
She cannot dial or answer a phone, so you would put your cell phone to her ear whenever I
Was not in class or meetings and could speak to her. She always recognized me by phone.

I am three hours from her. I could visit at most once or twice a month. Now even that phone
Lifeline is severed. Mom is completely alone, afraid, confused, and I cannot in the short term at
Least do much about that. You were not supposed to die first. It was my greatest fear, and
Yours, but as with so many things that we cannot change I put it in the back of my mind.

It kept me up many nights, but, like you, I still believed—and believe—in miracles.
I would speak every night with my you, often for an hour, on the way home from work late at
Night during my hour-long commute, or from home on days I worked from home as I cooked
Dinner. I mostly let you talk, trying to give you what comfort and social outlet I could.

You were lonely, sad, stuck in an endless cycle of emotional and physical pain.
Lately you were especially reticent to get off the phone. When mom was home and still
Relatively well, I’d call every day too but usually spoke to you only a few minutes and you’d
Transfer the phone to mom, with whom I usually chatted much longer.

For months, you’d had difficulty hanging up. I knew you did not want to go back to the couch,
To a meaningless TV program, or to writing more bills. You’d say good-bye, or “enough for
Today” and immediately begin a new thread, then repeat the cycle, sometimes five or six times.
You even told me, at least once crying recently, “Just hang up on me or I’ll just keep talking.”

I loved you, dad, with all my heart. We argued, and I’d often scream at you in frustration,
Knowing you would never take it to heart and would usually just ignore me and do as
You pleased. I knew how desperately you needed me, and I tried to be as patient as I could.
But there were days when I was just too tired, too frustrated, too full of other problems.

There were days when I got frustrated with you just staying on the phone for an hour when I
Needed to call Alice, to eat my cold dinner, or even to watch a favorite program. I felt guilty
And very seldom cut a conversation short, but I was frustrated nonetheless even knowing
How much you needed me and also how much I needed you, and how little you asked of me.  

How I would love to hear your voice again, even if you wanted to complain about the same old
Things or tell me in minutest detail some unimportant aspect of your day. I thought I would
Have you at least a little longer. A year? Two? God only knew, and I could hope. There would be
Time. I had so much more to share with you, so much more to learn when life eased up a bit.

You taught me to fish (it did not take) and to hunt (that took even less) and much of what I
Know about mechanics, and electronics. We worked on our cars together for years—from brake
Jobs, to mufflers, to real tune-ups in the days when points, condensers, and timing lights had Meaning, to rebuilding carburetors and fixing rust and dents, and power windows and more.

We were friends, good friends, who went on Sunday drives to favorite restaurants or shopping
For tools when I was single and lived at home. You taught me everything in life that I need to
Know about all the things that matter. The rest is meaningless paper and window dressing.
I knew all your few faults and your many colossal strengths and knew you to be the better man.

Not even close. I could never do what you did. I could never excel in my fields as you did in
Yours.  You were the real deal in every way, from every angle, throughout your life. I did not
Always treat you that way. But I loved you very deeply as anyone who knew us knows.
More importantly, you knew it. I told you often, unembarrassed in the telling. I love you, Dad.

The world was enriched by your journey. You do not leave behind wealth, or a body or work to
Outlive you. You never had your fifteen minutes in the sun. But you mattered. God knows your
Virtue, your absolute integrity, and the purity of your heart. I will never know a better man.
I will love you and miss you and carry you in my heart every day of my life. God bless you, dad.
JG O'Connor Jun 2017
I’ve become  invisible
Maybe it’s a virus and I’ve just got a touch,
The automatic shop door didn’t open so I’m left in a lurch,
Even when  I stood on the spot once blessed by the church.
Then the shop attendant missed me in the queue,
A car nearly knocked me on the footpath too.
Clearly I’m unseen.

As this progresses will my eyelids become translucent?
With my eyes shut how will I sleep?
Maybe I should wear dark glasses and not take a peek.
If I wear clothes will it be funny?
I will definitely get a job as a shop window dummy.
Is that what happens in the invisible limbos,
We become manikins in shop windows,  
Watching the world looking at them,
What we the invisible will be able to tell.

From my shop window I imagine at half past eight,
The people hang out or just walk past straight.
Starting with the kids skipping school,
Uniform tucked in schoolbag to fool,
Shopping bag used for energy joule,
Inhaling glue this hallucinatory fuel.
Each step these children take,
One step closer to heartbreak.

Then the anxious wife meeting her lover.  
Leaving behind her domestic bliss,
Sealed this morning with a husband’s watery kiss.
Waiting awkwardly in her Totoro dress,
One button behind and a zip does the rest .
Trying hard to be invisible too
This could all end in her being blue.

The rushing shop manager dressed in a suit.
Cuffs worn thin, pens in a group,
Red, blue and black,
A tick for success or none for the lack.
Mumbling along the company mantra,
“Think outside the box” there’s as good fella.
The only box he has ever known,
Are the imaginary boundaries in which he has grown.


A dog and his master trundle along.
He has been dead for years as he moves on,
Wearing a shroud of a used up life,
The dog squats down beside the tree of life.
Observing this stool in the daylight,
He compares to the Hematochezia he did last night.

A husband contemplating murdering his wife,
As the news of her lover has just come to light.  
He looks at the manikin with some delight,
Seduced by its empty invisible soul,  
Only to discover he owns that hole.

Then evening descends the lights are all up,
When work is all over it’s off to the pub.
Not for the invisible manikin though,
Who stays in the window dressed in a bride’s trousseau.
An invisible exhibitionist this poor sod,
So when you walk past it's polite to nod.
Now I’ll take two Aspirin and a cup of coco
And hope to God this invisibility will go go.
deanena tierney Aug 2010
In my little coffee shop,
Is where I long to be,
Filled with old and dusty books,
In the hills of Tennessee.

Every morning the same will come,
With a little gossip to share.
And hang out in my lil' coffee shop,
Where time isn't even a care.

I hope there will be some who read,
And some who play some games.
And it won't be very long 'til I,
Know every single one of their names.

And they will feel like family,
The shop will feel like home,
And I will have found where I belong,
With no need more to roam.

In my little coffee shop,
Is where I long to be,
Filled with old and dusty books,
In the hills of Tennessee.
Najwa Kareem Aug 2017
Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia                      

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

Brothers and Sisters in the Old Town speaking the words Salamu Alaikum

Sisters wearing veils with colors like in the bright rainbow appearing before me and my two new friends from Bosnia in a sky above a bussling bazaar, there a smaller group of humans watching and a larger group of tourists capturing a rare moment in Sarajevo on photo

Many brothers wearing kufis and many brothers with trendy hair styles paired with Western outfits gathering in the courtyard of Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque, the largest in Bosnia and sixteen centuries old. Tourists from Africa, America, Europe, and other landscapes and many locals exchanging words and gestures in a month better than a thousand

Families spending time together at the Grand Mosque and at smaller mosques and in other places surrounded by picturesque hills and green plush trees

A father, a mother, their toddler son...he practicing walking on a masjid's cobblestone, and their young daughter...she smiling at her father as he walks by. Each family member physically at a distance from each other. Each family member at a cell's distance in communion with each other.

In the mid afternoon on a Ramadan's day, a sister from Munich and I having met for the first time at Bey Mosque ride together in a taxi up a steep hill to see a guest house she knows

A smell of lingering cigarette smoke permeating the air within the house so thick beckons me to leave politely and quickly. Unaware of the smell's degree, the owner learns of its' offensiveness as I disclose my sensitivity to & the dislike of the smell of cigarette smoke, both acutely heightened while fasting

Careful steps back down the steep hill to the city center, me avoiding stumbling on a large rock or being runover by a speeding automobile, interestingly instead I stumble upon a beautiful grave yard of uniquely shaped white gravestones and a charming mosque with a high minaret

At the bottom of the hill sits a crafts and artistry shop, one of many in Sarajevo's Old Town. Upon entering and a brief conversation with the owner, a piece of generosity is handed to me, a square shape piece of wood with Ayat tul Kursi in hand calligraphy

During the late afternoon hours, a time for reading Quran by many at mosques in the city. Sisters and brothers sitting on carpeted floors, some with backs supported by mosque walls, some with bodies sitting in chairs, fasters occupied with the most perfected Divine Scripture

A brief leisurely stroll with my two new friends Dzenita and her sister Amina through part of the Bazaar, they sharing opinions of their favorite restaurants, best eating experiences, and other things

In the early evening, a time to buy food to prepare for the Iftar meal. Showing me how it's done in Sarajevo, Dzenita and Amina invite me to join them on an excursion up a hill to buy Somun, a Bosnian flatbread topped with black seeds from the city's famous bread maker. Standing in a line longer than Georgetown Cupcake, Dzenita surprises me with a gift of Somun for myself

Two dates, one cube of Bosnian delight, and one cup of water to break our fast with at the Bey Mosque. A canon bomb sounds off to announce the time for Magrib prayer and Iftar, customary in Sarajevo during Ramadan

Startled and alerted by the bomb's depth and volume, I stand up to join the congregation for communion with God, The God Most Gracious, Most High

Out of nowhere I'm invited to Iftar at a shop nearby the Grand Mosque, about 8 of us guests being served by the warm owner, she offering a meal for Iftar at her shop every night during Ramadan, a big-hearted tradition of hers

Cevapi, Cevapi, Cevapi...I'll say it once more, Cevapi -- sold in Bosnian restaurants, cafes, bazaars, and made in many homes, eaten happily by many fasters at Iftar. Served with freshly chopped onions, some served with a soft white cheese, some with a red peppery sauce, many served with Somun, all ways tried by me and tasting as scrumptious as my first experience with Cevapi in Germany, then falling in love with it

Cold winds at night from the surrounding mountains, a refreshing air yet taking my breath and power away from the chill of it, completely disappearing with my start of Isha prayer with other Muslims and the declaration "Allah hu Akbar"

9 Muftis with impeccable Tajweed each taking turns to recite the words of our Grand Lord before sunrise, me weeping from God's messages, the reality of His greatness, my servitude to Him, and a recognition of sounds similar to that of my Mumin Father's, those familiar to me since birth

Three dear sisters, university students from Turkey and I journey together on foot after Fajr from the Old Mosque to a street train, along the way stopping by a community center, our destination - their home an hour or so away to rest, the four of us coming to know each other and each others' thoughts with every step. Contempleting my desire to spend more time in the city over sleep, the three sisters showing great generosity and I embrace and exchange Salams at a stop near the main station, the three walking with me to an open place before continuing on

In the land of a marriage between the East and the West and where newspaper is used to clean a cafe window, on the list of to-dos -- shopping for gifts for family and for souvenirs, window shopping done along the way, asking myself Shall I buy a Dzezva, a hand-made Bosnian coffee set, or a vintage wood Sarajevo box, or a woven wallet, or Bosnian sweets.

In a bazaar walkway, Maher Zain's song "Ramadan" playing loudly. At another moment, lyrics about a month of devotion and sacrifice from Sami Yusuf echoeing. Shop owners in Old Town with dispositions of calm and quiet grace greeting me and others cordially and respectfully. Shopping a few hours more until near sunset for post cards with a real version of the Grand Mosque, finding only less than satisfactory versions. Time running out for shopping, another reason now to return to Bosnia, God-Willing

Magrib prayer a second night at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque. Observing the crowd, a striking occurrence taking place, a teenage boy walking a small length behind a man on to the mosque carpet. There the boy approaches an older man giving him a respectful hand shake. After prayer, a native of Sarajevo shares with me in wholesome conversation, "You are known in the town not by what you have. You are known by how well you behave."

Another invitation, this time for a cup of a tea at a cafe. Overflowing with people mostly young adults, men and women sitting at tightly packed small tables inside and a few outside, conversations merging into each other with a loud volume flowing throughout, Shisha being smoked by some, cigarettes by some, smoke in the air and the temperature inside melting away heavy make-up on sisters' faces. "This is Ramadan in Sarajevo." Madia says. "One aspect of it." says I. Not having a good feeling right away when walking in and not wanting to stay, the two of us leave quickly.

My two new friends Dzenita and Amina aka angels of hospitality and kindness reciprocating my gift to them of Milka chocolate give me a gift before departing the next day. "Tespih!!" A burnt red and yellow colored set with sparkingly gold thinly cut wrapping paper looking stripes purchased at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque gift shop. Not knowing then I collect Tesbih, their gift is now my most favorite of my Tesbih collection

Husbands and wives, men and women both young and old, well-groomed and well-dressed, some holding hands as they stroll through narrow pathways in the Old Town on a Ramadan's night. Families talking and eating at restaurants, friends in groups sharing laughs, so much to see, so much to experience. At a cafe where baked goods, ice cream, and other sweets are sold, a lady sitting with a group of others initiates speaking to me, stopping me in my tracks. Bidding me farewell, she extends me a gracious compliment

Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia to Remember

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

by Najwa Kareem
Eric W Jul 2012
Where are we going?
Who will we become?
What is our purpose?
When will we know?
An assortment of questions,
in this question shop.
I lay them all out,
for anyone and everyone to answer.
But, alas, they remain unanswered.
For everyone else is either uncaring,
or as confused as I.

Day after day after day,
I lay them out and wait.
While I wait, I wonder,
and wonder more.
What could the answers be?
In questioning,
I only raise more questions.
I sit alone, and the shop goes dark.
The sun rises, and sets.
The moon waxes and wanes.
Time flows on and on and on.

The shop begins to crumble,
the questions become more and more urgent.
I sit alone, and wondering, wondering.
Now I am old and gray,
and the shop is gone,
reduced to nothing but rubble around me.
The questions still stand,
and nobody bothers trying to answer them anymore.
So it would seem that I have wasted my entire life,
questioning only to never receive
any answers.

— The End —