Counter Culture Cafe

The place where the antisocial
Gather to be alone
Each claiming a four-seat table
As space they can call their own.

We read, write and sip in silence
Observing our counterparts
Affronted by vocal violence
Where chattering children pass

I’m nearing the end of one cup
But pause while another stands
It wouldn’t be fair to counter
The pull of their drink demands

So queueing for table service
I duck to avoid the eye
Of waitress who makes me nervous
By bussing a bench nearby

We know those we see here often
But only on nodding terms
Some barriers never soften
And hand-shaking passes germs

Anxiety takes no notice
With all interactions dear
We pass out our days in closeness
And try to ignore our fear

We’re hardly inventing lonely
Though solitude equals peace
And we are our one and only
Unlikely to breed – we’ll cease

It isn’t a cause for wonder
That our generation stalls
When clearing one’s throat is thunder
Too sensitive for applause

And here in our counter culture
We’re safe from the fond embrace
We run from our awkward feelings
Too late to be in the race.

Over Heated

The girl on the desk
At the swimming pool
Did her job to the letter
To keep out the riff-raff
Insisting he prove
They had made him an offer
Their kind invitation
A member plus one
Gets in free this week
For the duration
Of the heatwave
But the generous proof
Remaining at home
In his humid back pocket
He declined the demand
And slunk away
Foul-mouthed consonants
Heating the air
Climbing the hill to home
With the girl
Who wasn’t good enough
For his gym to admit
To work off his sweat
With a body count
In the higher pixels
From the padded throne
Of his living room couch
He is still shooting aliens now
But in time she may
Venture to mention
The shower upstairs
Appears lonely for company
As she adds subtle cubes
To his dinner glass
And pacifies the cat

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Carnage in the clearing
Sticky pools of who-knows-what
As cautiously we’re steering
Fears of claws and teeth in gut

I am left with just the remnants
Of their jolly morning jaunt
Picking teabags off each surface
Like a soggy, stringy taunt

You’d think the place was burgled
By the mess the creatures made
Leaving stains across the tables
And a ‘message’ in the glade

Sure, this was no children’s outing
Though they’d sandwiches and toys
More a bored board meeting’s pouting
Grumbling grizzlies making noise

As the bears scoffed, hale and hearty
Dropping food upon the floor
Then departing as a party
Slothful sleuth linked, paw in paw

Lumber over plates and teaspoons
Picking up and throwing out
I must tidy up these festoons
Ere the second sitting’s bout