Old friend, learn to look behind you in the coffee queue

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In my look back over ten years of blogging, I thought I’d publish a few of my favourites from the poems I’ve written over the years but which have only to date been published in my poetry collection, “Old friend, learn to look behind you in the coffee queue” (back in 2011).

Here’s the title poem from that collection (you can listen to me reading it here).

Old friend, learn to look behind you in the coffee queue

My radar picks him off at twelve feet, time
enough to fake procrastination at the cake stand. Yeah,
like I’d really contemplate a ‘lemon drizzle’ with the sort
of coffee I buy. But it gives me the time
I need to think about whether I want to abort
or not. The street does try to suck me
back. But this is coffee. And, furthermore,
it’s time we had this moment. Of course,
I pretty much know exactly how it’s going to
play. You don’t walk side-by-side with someone for
nearly thirty years of life and not learn
how to see the way the ball will probably roll.

As attentive as ever, he lets me come right up
next to him. And, when the pretence can be stretched no longer,
I look. I smile. I see the panic in his eyes.

We say polite hellos
and then polite goodbyes.

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