At the Café Économique,
they serve one class of patron,
one strength of resteamed coffee grounds,
a minor bird is hopping on a plastic olive branch
and a mangy city cat is watching.
I’m seated at a likeness of a table
reading faded scrawls on a communal
Some nights are filled with poison
and the morning has no tourniquet,
it seeps into the day.
On the moonlit deck, the sea
will not forgive me.
The nets are in a tangle, and I sail in
Some nights belong to the Marias—
Maresia and Maré,
they command the silvery fish to shine
in spiral arms, to cluster
in the corners of my room.
So cold their fallen light,
my schemes, my plans, my cravings
are Rorschach ink in their osmotic sky,
and yet they make the morning honey sweet,
dress the winter sun in gaily colored knits,
in camouflaged ambivalence.
The rest has faded into coffee stains
and lipstick imprints, but angled in one corner,
two final words:
In the square outside, the march of busyness
arrives, departs, commutes
in buses, taxis, and machines that I don’t recognize.
A wild wind is swelling, and grimy raindrops streak the café windows.
Von Kármán vortex streets are trailing through the crowds
that run or huddle or comment on the weather,
its unexpected force, and one by one
they’re taken, swept aloft, away
Time passes, stays a while, I refill my coffee cup
and notice there’s a change outside:
while the groundlings rise and vanish in the clouds,
another group descends.
A few land in the traffic and cause a snarl,
others come to the Économique for coffee
and a chat.
They cannot pay, they have no cash or cards
or clothes, but they open lines of credit.
A newcomer nods and seats herself nearby.
I make causal conversation
about the weather,
about the curious machines outside,
Could she possibly help me understand?
She does and I do.
Time’s a two-way street, I’ve reached the future,
the mysteries of the present are all behind me now.
She elucidates the nightly sea: its poisons and its sweets,
the fishing fleet and the two Marias,
Maresia and Maré,
the moon and her subservient stars.
I fumble in my pockets for a pen.
I’ll jot down all her thoughts
on a convenient scrap of paper.
In a while, I’ll notice the mobile phone
that’s pressed against her ear,
and wonder if I’m merely listening in,
irrelevant in the shadows.
Oh Renato, she’ll say, I’ve given you
the very best of me.
* the intervening comma may exist, or may be the earthly remains of a small insect.
Whirling von Kármán vortex streets are not actual streets.
The Cafés Économique might be a Latin American franchise. I’ve had the misfortune to visit several of them.
Morning, part above. There are problems with image attachment pages, sorry about that. I’m now using static pages which are hopefully okay.