From six coffees with a madman

coffee #1

I am having a coffee with a stranger.

(I bought him from a flea market)

He does not      eat /  drink too much

but has eyes like sharp rock cracks in windows; hungry, wet… and waiting. Inside his hat is where the pigeons roost, but we are the only two people in the womb that know that. My one-handed companion has so much linear expression he contains far too much                                


                        ergo…             (he is)  

                        expression – less

His white collar is the rubbish bin of utopia – meaning it is of course the flaw in a flawless world, thus we return to the crack in the window (we live inside a sycophantic circle of which no one is on the outside)

He is so afraid of gold spoons for they have the capability to take everything he owns away, till he is a drop of ectoplasm within the seafront of desire.

Ask what he wants from you. Ask what he wants – only if you are prepared to hear a rehearsed monologue that makes grown men weep and women’s ligaments snap with laughter. All that hullabaloo is not worth question time with the addicts. Go for a dawn pier walk. You will be much better off that way.

Don’t forget to bring a coffee.

Since his death this morning, it has become even more important for him to explain life to me over the steam of blacky ink. Like why

                                                           belonging is survival     (and)

                                                           survival is belonging

It would take a landslide of small, shrivelled brown beans hurtling down Belvoir street (where we converse) to make us move. I hide him in my bag just in case, but to my horror his eyes stare through the tough white cotton.  

Stare…. Why do you               stare?

                                          ##                   ##

I order a warm croissant with jam.

I miss him already. To make this all better I sketch him on a napkin using a dulled-out pencil, ripping the friable fabric when I shade in the coat. I imagine nerve endings within the napkin and itch the inside of my elbow till I bleed a bit. When I am finished scratching both skin and tissue, I sit back to look at the masterpiece.

Somehow, he looks as if he is crying a single worm of solitude. I do not sketch again. I now know far too much.

The Curse of Knowledge is the passage from infant to adult; I am somewhere along the way. My father’s absence lies down on the train tracks and prevents me moving any further. If he were a freelance carpenter, I would ask him to build me a bookcase and single bed.

Oh, and a table for the man in the frame to rest on. But he is neither a father nor a carpenter, so it doesn’t matter much. He is just an outline on a train track headed south.

I remove the man from the bag. Now, he can only view life through the bars of prison, he is resentful at restriction, and this will never change. I have permanently altered the stranger’s outlook. Damnit.

I take the golden spoon from its saucer and hide his eyebrows with it; he is now daring me to care for something small and vulnerable that I usually would like to kill. Croissant crumbs fall out my mouth onto his trench jacket and I commit a multitude of sins to wipe them away – in doing so, my hand slips and his eyebrows reappear. He is deathly angry at me, under all that gold.

I want to tell him of my love for jam red mugs with matching plates and also the gurgle of the last drops of water down the bath plughole. His eyebrows stop me from continuing my list and besides, caffeine is pressing against the infected valves of my heart. No one looks through the peephole before letting it all flood in. It is all far too late now.

Caffeine comes rushing in as if the dam has burst. And…        who is swimming on the uttermost string of water? Oh…! Oh.

My photo frame man enters the heart chamber commonly known as

The Atrium.

Suddenly that long coat I once admired is stuck to my pulmonary artery, causing undulations in blood pressure. Increasingly unsure of my own self-worth, I wipe the tear off my cheek using the back side of four fingers and my skin shifts off my cheekbone. As if it never rested there with such peace in the first place.

I have had enough excitement to last seven years. I place the man back into the bag with my light head, ignore the stares, then we head out – as explorers of emotion.

Nobody is left to clear the dirty plates away. The landslide got them all yesterday.

Blossom Hibbert has one pamphlet of experimental prose out with Leafe Press: Suddenly, it’s now (May 2023.). Her words have been published in literary magazines such as The Temz Review, Litter, International Times and Otoliths. She hides in Nottingham, drinking too much coffee and finding inspiration in the monotony.

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