Hand in hand they swish and sway

Their fingers locked, entwined as if to pray.

I heard them first, their energy their sound,

A surge of colour, a rainbow with shopping bags abound.

My vantage point a window seat through pane of glass I see,

Obscured the winter sunlight that washes over me.

And nothing more a sideways glance

The corner of an eye

An act of kindness retrieves the fallen glove

Before the stranger passes by.


Beyond the hunger pangs, the aching archway door,

A moment's pause, the vestibule

The scuffed and worn out floor,

And hung without the benefit of trial

The coats and jackets scream

Abandoned by their owners, for this cafe retro scene.

Piled high against the walnut grain

Dark panelled wall adorned

Bear witness loves lost last refrain

The lull before the storm.

And stood beneath the cloakroom stairs

Those gathered there once more

In sepia haze those bygone days, a mothball metaphor.


Happy to be drawn inside

The old ones shuffle, those younger glide,

But all between the garland drapes of heavy velvet crush

While woven rope in bloodshot red, like shackled slaves the tiebacks bled,

Unseen despite the lime wash plastered wall.

And propped beside the centrepiece stood head to toe it leaned,

The gold leaf fake antiquity, while peacocks came to preen,

For those that stared, their captured gaze in gilded painted peel,

Distressed the mirror replicates, exactly how they feel.

Those timeless looks an opaque lie, improved by fading light,

Once avant-garde, the chandelier, now shabby chic; polite.


Three shallow steps, two swinging doors only the 60's could improve,

Old flagstones bind an atmosphere, a cliché, or a mood,

This coffee house, my sanctuary beneath its vaulted dome,

Dishevelment had come to rest, a place it felt at home.

The chaise longue or the chesterfield, a threadbare hide and seek,

A magazine abandoned, maybe saving someone's seat.

With second chance in reclaimed pine the pirates chest redeemed,

A flower in a glass test tube, that trendy kind of thing.

And while incomprehensible and as odd as this may seem,

The detail like the tea ring stain, is strangely comforting.


A ticking clock that time can't stop, its back against the wall

They queue beneath that silent thief, while grains of sand still fall.

Now shuffle up and close the gap, restore the status quo,

They stand in line, their patronage, to drink in or to go.

Attendance duly noted, with hopeless honesty,

This relic from another life, records both you and me.

Reserved in all its dealings, the register complete

Rewarded corporate subterfuge, a loyalty card receipt.

Written by James Darcy

Copyright James Darcy, 2013



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