Aug 15

the coffee shop poet

by James D Quinton

for a Monday night
the place was fairly packed
we paid the two pound entry fee
to the tie-dye skirt wearing woman
at the door
and found a table
before we could order a beer
a video projected on the back wall
came on
it was a swirling montage
of vague images
swathed in purple
that might have meant something
the music was some weird
electronic composition
it finished to a small ripple of applause
and we were left thinking ‘what the fuck?’
then the open mic kicked off
first up was an aging academic poet
we watched his goatee beard as he spoke
there were references to literary giants that we didn’t get
when he’d finished
once again
to polite applause
he mentioned he had some books for sale
then a lady stood on the small makeshift stage
her poems were about divorce
female emancipation
we were more interested in the hot chick
serving behind the counter
the next poet was a young guy
he was wearing a white tee
he looked nervous
he approached the mic
muttered something
the papers in his hand were shaking
he began

poems about the government
poems about relationships
although he was only eighteen
if that
poems about work
poems about his father
during his recital
some lads
out for a night on the town
stuck their heads around the front door
and shouted ‘wankers’ at us

they were right

we smiled
faked disgust
the young lad told them
out of earshot
to ‘fuck off’
he continued
finishing to refined appreciation
when we left
walking through town
heading to the nearest pub
he was in front of us
the coffee shop poet

future unknown