1st Ave Coffee Conversation

Posted: October 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

(Written *mumble mumble years ago.) Posted for National Poetry Day.

1st Ave Coffee Conversation

Smoke from my coffee slides across the glass

of a 1st Ave coffee shop as you rattle off

(I keep thinking of sewing machines)

about who you ran into recently

that you wished had faded forgotten

–a bad dream.


Fake smiles plastered on (the only cheap

jewelry you wear) that never touch

corrupt your smirking, cynical cat’s eyes

— Social civility too automatic by now

for you to be any different—

And as you slide on talking I sip

slowly from words and bitter drink

and slip through your stories

easy laughter escaping our lips.


Our friendship is too tested to be

strained – boundaries had already been pushed as far as you dared –

You’re brave in other ways and I

stare at tattoos slipping through

power suits, cellphones, and expensive cigars

on 1st Ave and smile crooked and kind

at coffee shop guy talking

about making money off used ripped jeans

(too bad I tossed mine).


But we’re talking Jim Carroll poety

and the power of a city where I am no longer

–no smoke pressed against coffee shop glass—

and your voice only comes sliding

at the detached speed of light—

but your image is burned on my retina.


I can still hear your voice

in the sound of coffee, poetry, and graveyards

–things we always shared

damn the distance –

and whenever our voices curl around the other

loose strands from before are woven

and our partings are left open-ended

on the off chance we see a reason

to pick up threads of thought

that slide through the air

against the glass of a coffee shop in 1st Ave

where you rattle on and I sit

–with you and the city captured

in a scent of what was.

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