the rest of me

morning_s

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
paper napkin.

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
fishless circles.

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:

Goodbye, Renato*

~/~

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
and gone.

~/~

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,
about living.
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.

background
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.

artwork
Morning, part above. There are problems with image attachment pages, sorry about that. I’m now using static pages which are hopefully okay.

61 thoughts on “the rest of me

  1. What beautiful artwork to go with. I’ve just given it a nibble; on my way to bed. Perhaps I’ll dream of the two Marias, or silvery fish. Tomorrow, a full repast. But just let me say before I go that I love the winter sun in gaily colored knits. Nighty night. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks BG. It’s good to recycle dreams. I was going to waffle about Brazilian sea goddess myths at the bottom, but I ran out of time, and as usual some of “the rest” is from dreams as well.

      Now I’m thinking … it’s strange isn’t it? Our stories, our myths, as well as being passed down generations, must have been transformed by dreaming minds, over and over, continual mixing and re-forming, a very human connection between us all. Good night (it’s another night there maybe 😃).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Inese, glad you like it. I was pleased with the title. I started it off in a small coffee shop with some other writers, just a scene really. It became something quite different when I’d finished, and the title popped into my head. I do have enough material for a book because the rights to much of my short fiction and some other poetry have reverted to me from the publishers. My inherent laziness is definitely a stumbling block. 😸

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  2. Café Économique is really serious about keeping costs down, with their communal paper napkins and resteamed coffee grounds. It seems like talking about the weather is a universal phenomenon. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. such a well paced piece Steve. I felt the woman you met was a hologram in a perspex world, as your words gave a transparency to life in that dimension. i have been having thoughts of spiral recently, like the present is an electromagnetic coil and the soleniod in the middle is the past, both moving in tandem but at different speeds to collide one day. your writing comes from a different level of consciousness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gracias Gina. A fascinating and very perceptive interpretation. What you say about a time spiral resonates with me because I wasn’t clear on who is whom, and I imagined there might be a time loop. I suppose I should know, but it doesn’t come from that part of my brain. 😜

      Liked by 2 people

    • I thought this was an awesome comment, Gina.
      I had just read this the other day: https://sparkonit.com/2014/06/22/australian-physicists-simulate-time-travel-for-the-first-time/
      I guess I am just a few years behind 🙂
      I have been thinking a lot about spirals too recently, but my attention span is so short, they never really go anywhere…my thoughts I mean…or maybe they are just spiralling back around on a very short spiral…yikes, that was bad, sorry.

      Liked by 2 people

      • thank you Vanessa. I read that and yes as a physicist myself all things abstract attract and affect my thoughts. just today I had the same thoughts about defying time. its serendipity to now read your link here. your thoughts are very clear. I believe there’s a wealth of ideas in you and its only a matter of sorting it out. no worries I am along side you. my thoughts are a jumble more often than I care to admit. our life is made up of spirals. if we look with a keen eye we’ll get the connection. I read this after Joshua passed and it gave me clarity and much comfort. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4675953

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Gina, although I’m the third wheel in this conversation, I’m imagining stacks of spirals intersecting each other. I couldn’t open the link so I have removed it, sorry. I like to check links on my blog pages. Please feel free to contact me if you have another link you would like me to add in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Gina and possibly Vanessa, I put the working link into your comment now. It’s inspiring and fascinating and I have a few comments of my own, as usual.🤓

        There is one sweeping statement I don’t agree with: “… they should not have faith.” Faith is whatever we choose to believe without proof, and I think there is too much out in the multiverse to rule out faith.

        The idea of all that information out there somewhere is important, and I think it also sets the arrow of time: the past moves to the future because of incoming “random” information. Human life from birth to death is embedded in time, and it makes us who we are. But beyond that short interval, when our conscious time is stationary, external time still ticks, in this universe and perhaps in others, perhaps to infinity, perhaps to a number of infinities. How many scientific possibilities are there in these soft infinities, and does it have anything to do with us? Answers: quite a few/yes.

        Now, if only I wasn’t so lazy, I could finalise my blog posts on these topics, but unfortunately…

        Liked by 2 people

      • thank you for putting that link in Steve and thank you so much for joining our little discussion on your post!
        that line did bother me when I first read it because my faith is my foundation, then I looked up the word “faith” and it’s as you quoted it, choosing to believe without proof and I reconsidered my irritation. I saw it differently for a moment, we don’t need faith, the writer is right, not the faith I first thought he meant, the faith in God or powers that be, a religion or set of beliefs that give us moral compass. To me the writer saying we did not need faith meant we already have proof that our loved one is not totally gone from this universe, they are there in a different form, one we may not see but still present in our lives, energy doesn’t disappear, it just transforms.
        And I love your further discourse on human life and time because it ran parallel with that article, and ironically I wrote a poem yesterday and I felt the effect of timelessness and living in infinity, we continue, long after our bodies rot, we continue like the photons that bounce, unseen but present. We create the shivers and the dejavus, we superimpose on light beams.
        I wish you weren’t so lazy and write more about these soft infinities, because the universe must speak through you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lovely thoughts, Gina. I agree, there are many kinds of belief without proof, many kinds of faith. I have faith in the goodness of people and even in myself sometimes. 😄 Thank you, Gina, and I also wish I wasn’t such a laziness, but I find I am unable to fight it. 😸

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Vanessa

        I apologise for withholding your comment until I checked the link. As you know, time travel is a topic which is dear to my heart and I wanted to make sure it made sense. I wouldn’t say you were behind with time travel, the article is a little misleading.

        In the quantum realm, time has no direction, the past is the same as the future, and the bilking paradox where you travel into the past and create a contradiction does not exist (there is no problem with time travel into the future, we do it all the time). In fact, in the quantum realm, it is possible on a very small scale, that “future” events affect the “past.” I’ve also read that large scale wormholes of the kind suggested would be unstable. I should mention that my own calculations show that there might be severe oscillations of reality associated with time travel into the past if it were possible in the normal world.

        Okay, that’s enough of that, sorry about all the technical, and I appreciate it has nothing to do with your conversation.🤓 I really should write it up on the blog. Conscious time may circle, spiral, and dance the rhumba, but for ordinary time, I agree with the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám:
        The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
        Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.
        Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
        Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sascha. I have a theory (I always have theories). I think that if you remember a bad or unpleasant dream, it will not affect you very much through the day. However if you don’t remember a bad dream (most dreams you don’t), it will probably have a more powerful effect on you in the daylight hours. Conclusion: it’s good to remember dreams.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I know. 😃 Well, we have dreams we don’t remember, and dreams we remember might affect us (actually it could be positive or negative). The rest comes from analogy with a common form of psychotherapy. Over time, patients can recall or even find out in other ways about childhood events that were suppressed or forgotten, and then through logical discussion and rationality, they can reduce the emotional consequences, implying that when they didn’t consciously remember them they had a bigger effect. On a microscopic scale, my crackpot theory is that this happens with dreams as well.

        BTW, I drink enough morning coffees to convince myself I’m alive, or at least a zombie.

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    • Thank you , glad you enjoyed. When I started writing, I only sent stories to publishers, but I never really knew whether anyone read my fiction.

      I found the blog can be a lot of fun, and I appreciate the feedback like yours. It keeps me going, especially when I’m feeling a bit lazy (most of the time). 😸

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  4. I really loved this Steve. I agree, exquisite lines in here!
    And I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of a lot of people’s work…I spend a lot of time floundering (no fish pun intended) and flailing…but I really enjoyed reading this. And your artwork. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Haha. I wanted to leave it ambiguous with the comma. My eyesight’s terrible anyway, I should really have magnification set at one word on the screen, and then there are the bottle-end glasses specks, and those little floaters inside my eyes that try to show me things.🤓

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Vanessa. Me too, I spend a lot of time pecking and flapping without taking off. I appreciate the art feedback as well; I seem to have the perpetual problem of not being able to replicate anything I’ve done by random pecking.

      PS: I’ve fixed up a link Gina gave me in her reply to you. These comments are nested more than the limit, so as well as laying too many eggs, they get a bit disordered. Anyway they’re somewhere or other on this page. I think. 😜

      Liked by 1 person

      • All good, Vanessa. I appreciate your comments of course, but I also know only too well how time pressures can interfere. Some days I can barely have a glass of wine or two, make popcorn and watch a movie. 😸 (Note: obviously you are not doing that.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha i’m actually settling down to watch some telly while visiting my parents. Chocolate in hand 😁
        The conversation about faith is interesting… I personally think that for some things faith isn’t necessary, in that i think there are obvious design elements throughout the universe, as well as the results of the research previously mentioned. Most definitely thought provoking. I appreciate your explanations about time, and it fascinates me that it isn’t consistent throughout the universe. And i thought this chocolate would help, 😳 but no, 😴i need a cuppa too ☕️lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, I’m starting to wonder whether coffee really helps, maybe I just make mistakes faster. 😜 You’re right about chocolate though, it definitely helps everything. 🍫 There is a lot to think about, my quibble was basically just with the “must not” concerning faith. And anyway, the definition of faith isn’t the end of the story, because it begs the question of what constitutes “proof.” If you look at “proven” beliefs about anything in the big wide wonderful world, there are usually a number of options. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha to the coffee comment…I have seen a sign in a few cafes now…something about coffee just makes you do the silly things faster hehe.
        Yes to the chocolate comment, so nutritious 🙂
        And I agree with what you wrote about faith, and the must not, and the proofs etc.
        I am currently having my morning coffee in a new Japanese pottery mug I bought. I feel surprisingly calm, so I think it has something to do with the ceramic 🙂 But I guess I have no way of proving it, you will just have to take my word for it 😀💚

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do take you at your word, Vanessa. 😃 It is sometimes a problem, but my first instinct is to believe whatever anyone tells me, despite numerous disappointments with perpetual motion machines, magic wands, and so on. Still, all in all, I think it’s better to be optimistic. 🌈

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved these lines in your work, especially: Rorschach ink in their osmotic sky; Time passes, stays a while, I refill my coffee cup; for coffee and a chat; and wonder if I’m merely listening in. And the artwork is so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Randy. It started out as something I wrote in a quiet suburban coffee shop. It was a small writers group and we were all writing something. The place didn’t have good coffee, but the atmosphere was very pleasant. I like to imagine that in rare moments, we can look at all the loves and losses of our lives and see them as they are, just passing light and clouds.

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