Thursday, February 14, 2013

Streetside Café

Somehow this post is a gesture toward Valentine's Day. It had gone through a couple of drafts that are worse than this version, which is practically a first draft. This poem has images I obsess about, if for no other reason than the setting where I have spent so much time, which old town Noblesvillians will know as well. So, here's a gawky one.


Streetside Café

You get the feeling it wasn't meant to be.

The bright vehicles trail by toward the bridge
where the sun seems headed, red and promising
to leave with each tail light one to the other side.
"Was that me?" your memory asks, "one June
in the night laughing with a guitar into the dawn,
fresh strings, the rounds of flamenco and spiced coffee?"
Here the foam cup sits between your fingers.
Though they have forgotten how to play. Colored with dusk
they tap irregularly at the coffee, hot on a hot evening.

The sound, like building breeze, of the coming traffic
lets itself fall and rise again. The cars pass
in thier shiny bodies, street-lit,
                                                      this car and that,
the unpredictable colors, the arms of passengers resting
in a slipstream, other windows dark and chilled
by the conditioned interiors.
                                                    You want to know
how to take each sip toward the bottom of the cup
as if there were a deal to make, another cup to buy,
but the woman at the counter empties the urns
and counts the till. You can almost hear the rattle
of the dropped coins in there. Then the red
over the river vanishes. That's how you live:
restlessly, each single, excellent night.

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