rewound world 8: coffee break

Previously on the rewound world: five, and later, four, post-apocalyptic travelers were crossing the Nullarbor Plain, seeking a distant brightness and chatting about this and that. The first episode is here.

You’re first to my mind in the morning,
the last to leave at night; a part of me of you,
my dreams and feathers.

The bearded mariner, long gone
from the ocean, put down his quill.
He’d heard a knocking sound.


We came upon a shanty with a jaded café sign
and a menu with a Special of the Day—
anchovies fallen from the sky
with Mastercard and Visa garnish,
coffee, freshly found.

Deirdre knocked, and a bearded waiter answered.
He bowed arthritically and led us to a grimy table
with scatterings of tooth-pocked credit cards
and rusted mugs of muddy water.

Once we had it all, he reminisced,
chocolates mochaccino and Earls Grey,
cherries jubilee and spicy fish frappé,
but nothing’s been brewed or served here
since the Martians went away.

And I’m afraid there’s something else:
at management’s insistence,
I must speak of the unfeathered albatross,
and the meaning of existence.

We whispered in a huddle.

Authentic cuisine and service, with ample parking.
— I’d like to check the Google rating. I don’t trust myself.
I have concerns about his sanity. And mine.
His albatross guilt requires professional attention.

Deirdre was our spokesperson.

We thank you for your gracious offer
to share your tale,
but we are done with that.

An unchewed credit card or two
wouldn’t go astray though.

We debated in good faith and a compromise
was reached: cards of gold and platinum
with the faintest indentations,
and the waiter would discuss the weather.

to continue


the patience of insects, made with VEE, the visual evolution engine.

28 thoughts on “rewound world 8: coffee break

  1. “You’re first to my mind in the morning,
    the last to leave at night; a part of me of you,
    my dreams and feathers.

    The bearded mariner…”

    This is a beautiful piece with complex contrasts…love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have to think the place would have a poor Google rating, unless there are a lot of people into muddy water and pre-chewed credit cards. Actually I don’t care for the gold and platinum cards; the regular cards have a much better flavor and are more dunkable. The albatross is a nice touch – I wondered what happened to that old guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect the Google rating worked as it usually does: the owner insisted that all employees give the establishment a high rating.

      I agree about the cards, rewards cards aren’t bad either although best to cash them in first. I should probably add that we are talking about fictional cards. At least I hope we are. 😸

      The ancient mariner: I guess not too many wedding guests after the apocalypse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Several years ago, I wrote a poem – much shorter – called “The Time of the Ancient Programmer” wherein the old fellow wanted to talk about Y2K. The young lady he accosted was on her way to a frat party, and the poem did not end well for him – is why it was short.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love those two rhyming stanzas! Not usually a big fan of rhyme, but that really works! Love it. The irony, the humor, the images. Anchovies fallen from the sky reminds me of a kids story, but that was meatballs I think… I love those quaint little out of the way mom ‘n pop places. Don’t think I’d care for spicy fish frappe though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, BG. I tried. Coleridge’s verses are quite stark and powerful, and there is no mention of sweets or coffee. It’s more dead people manning sailing ships. 😸

      Seafood falling from the sky happens in a few Japanese stories. I’m interested in sky fish, I’ve written about them in other places, and the fish frappé was for continuity. I am not recommending it. I would have to check Google first. 🐟

      I have to admit I have mixed feelings about quaint out-of-the-way places, because of Latin American experiences.


    • Thank you, Jim. I can relate to the bearded waiter in that my family can very much do without my ramblings. And right now, spring in Sydney, even the weather can be a tricky subject because global warming means bushfires are everywhere.


    • The café is based on a few places that I’ve had the misfortune to visit while travelling; admittedly, some exaggeration, but not that much.

      I’ve seen photos of a sulphur-crested cockatoo that lived in my area in Sydney and died in 1916, 120 years old apparently. No feathers, and yes, an unusual sight, let’s say. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Witty and existing on several levels. I had just returned from dining in a restaurant when I read this and can recognise aspects of your poem in my dining experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Paul. I’m sorry to hear about your culinary misfortune. The restaurant here is based on a number of personal experiences.

      One stuck in my memory is a coffee machine, not a café, when I was working late one night. I put coins in, it made sounds, discharged fluids, and finally a large dead cockroach as a swirling topping. I decided not to tempt fate after that.


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