BANK HOLIDAYS BRING ME DOWN:
Peaceful, too peaceful, the cafe where I write is closed!
Lights on, nobody home, cheery in it’s exclusion of poets.
I glance, contain tiny explosions, panic, keep walking,
fake purpose, stride like a man who knows where he’s going,
through desolate streets, the sight of other loners disturbs me.
Sad lost poets drifting, a fellowship of hungry pen clutchers
searching for a corner seat. The dazed & downmouthed, harbouring
desperation for a fix, coming down from the termination of
clandestine rendezvous with muses.
Only ‘one’ cafe’s open, the ‘wrong one’, wrong tea, wrong mugs,
wrong ambience, wrong effusive clientèle & ‘no’ porridge served up
in cardboard with that little pot of honey & the Black plastic
spoon you have to wipe with recycled napkins before to slip it
in your mouth. She knows I’ll decline the little bag of dried fruit
every time she asks & yet she asks me every morning. The familiarity
of the ritual reassures me. I’m a visitor with pinhole vision,
stumbling around a planet, Mickey Mouse still crazy dancing on
the fronts of T-shirts drenched in sweat. She knows exactly what
she’s doing, restrains a smile. I glance around the room to see if
anyone’s claimed ‘my’ table, feel the panic rise, the thrill, the
chase for that spot before anyone gets it. The triumphant surge of
power as I slip a tray onto the table, the come down, the extraction
of the paraphernalia from the bag, laying everything in place,
peripheral vision, checking out the positions of the muses.
Note the mood of the music we’re being fed this morning, always
a little different, always a little the same. Makes me wonder what
algorithm selected it. The foot taps unconscious, feel-good gets into
the heads the coffee huggers queueing for more.
Now I’m dazed & shaking, find myself back in the car before time,
alone, staring through fly spattered glass, trying to recreate
the ritual of a ‘normal morning’. I’m coming to pieces, every muscle
primed to twitch & flick, locked into the groove of the pen.
I oscillate, vibrate, start to shake, frustration, shake it off,
it comes back stronger, a cyclone dog chasing it’s tail.
The note book languishes next to the ink pen in the dark at the bottom
of my bag, wondering what the hell is wrong. Cell phone primed with
electric poetry ready to be transferred, legitimised on paper.
I sit in stunned silence waiting for the phone to ring, numb,
without focus until the call, an interview with a European newspaper,
& I’m relieved when it comes. We’ve made it across the desert
& I have purpose again.