This poem I shared at last month’s Open Mic Night at Dagney’s.  If you enjoy hearing poetry from all ages, and all walks of life, I invite you to come out next First Friday at 6:00 pm at the downtown Dagney’s ( Eye and 19th I believe).  The casual event lasts about an hour and a half.  Folks drift in and out inbetween readings.  There are often musicians as well who perform original songs with guitars, etc.  A real festive affair!

Coffee Cafe Customers: The Barista

Her high cheekbones
Are smoothed with pancake make-up
And thick, false eyelashes
Flutter on her heavy lids
She smiles
And gracefully takes my order

She repeats the liturgical litany
“What would you like today?
Are you a member of the Bookstore Cafe
And receive a 10% discount?
Would you like cream and sweetener with that?”

Do these phrases repeat in her mind
Through her dreams at night?
An endless stream
Of garbled gibberish?

Does she wake up
Longing for Dostoevsky
And complex plot turns
And deeply introspective characters
Wrestling with conflicting desires
Galloping through sweeping vistas
On glorious steeds?

Stuck behind the formica counter
Surrounded by a fortress of blenders
Cappuccino makers
And bottles of syrup
She is trapped by these sentinels
Of modern addiction
Her life is bound in chains
Of service to pleasure seekers
Craving their afternoon fix

She is the cover
Of last month’s Cosmo magazine
Filled with snippets
Of bedroom wisdom
Gained by wise vixens
In deep decolletage
That whisper the secrets
Of how to arouse him
While waving lavish, lacquered nails

In brief, two-minute conversations
I try to pierce the perfect facade
And gain a glimpse
Of the cracked vessel within

She lets slip
That she has a daughter
That she had when she was eighteen
Who is finally doing better in second grade
after spending many afternoons in the principal’s office
Because she can’t get along with her peers
She is used to being around adults
The only youngster in the family
She can’t fathom the confusion
Of all her squirming classmates
But a child can learn
And now she is doing much better,
Thanks for asking

Everyone has a story
That’s as complex as a classic novel
Don’t let the glossy cover fool you
The dog-eared pages are tear-stained within