Adjusting to life's changes with hope… through poetry, haiku, and commentary

Out But Not Down


Six old guys fill a
corner table. They
have not aged well.

My eyes pan the room.

A young guy on his
phone with a Kindle.
How can he hear?

Coffee shop speakers
are way too loud,
probably on purpose
so we can’t hear
anyone or anything.

It is zero eight ten.
Line inside not quite
to the door. More
working girls there
than guys. Outside
line wraps around
the building.

They check their
phones repeatedly
in both lines. No
children here today.

Well, the old guy in
the corner and the
Kindle guy know
each other. Looks
more like father-
son than business.
Not sure.

What am I sure of
today? Coffee with
a friend at ten
hundred. Took my
sweetheart to work.
Too far to go back
home then back
here. So, I’m here.

(The music is so
annoying. Speaker
in corner above my
head.)

Still no job. Wife’s
job in certain jeopardy.
My Jeep still in the
shop. I had to get out
for a while.

(Music went from big
band to “Stagger Lee.”
My hi-frequency Army
hearing loss is being
tested here!)

An hour and a half to
go and my butt is
already numb. He is
usually on time.
Son using dad’s
laptop in corner.
Twenty people inside
waiting. I don’t see
joy on their faces.

Cool for Arizona this
morning. One skinny
girl wearing leather
jacket, flip-flops, and
shorts as high as
they could go. Temp
down; coffee sales up.

(Fats Domino doing
“Blueberry Hill,”
with static; is it a
broken woofer?
Do they have woofers
anymore? Sachmo
singing about the
good Lord above.
Hard to make out
the words.)

Two big old guys at
a large game table
for four have talked
non-stop plus phone
checks.

My senses are on
overload here. I had
a purpose in writing
this blog today when
I started. Not sure at
the moment.

I smile. A young man
just sat down at the
table across from me.
Cool tee with a NY
Yankee symbol front;
Rivera 42 on back. He
looks like New York.
His tattoos on his wrist
and forearm are uptown.
Drinking cold green tea.
I shudder at the thought.

Young man looking for
electrical outlet. I wave
him over and tell him he
can share my plug. He
sits down next to me,
pulls out school books.

New York gets hug from
lady in black. He leaves.
She hits the restroom.
I get it now. She works
here.

Two Phoenix policemen
come in armed to the
teeth with flack jackets.
Sad that life’s so hard
today and they need to
do that.

(Back to big band.
Some thirties tune.
Great trumpet. Muted.
Then flips to “Working
in the Coal Mine” and
Leo Dorsey. Base
guitar dominates.
Then Satchmo again,
“A Kiss to Build a
Dream On.”)

Young dad with cute
kids replace old guys
at game table. His
left shoulder to elbow
tattoos tell a story, I
wish I knew! They
move outside, waiting
for mom in line.

Thinking about the
fact that God is on
the inside. At peace.

(Satchmo “Up a Lazy
River.” I can see his
handkerchief.)

Zero nine sixteen.
Butt totally numb. A
little over a half hour
until coffee!

Happily, I’m at peace
and grateful I’m
out but not down.

My coffee just called
to reschedule. Oh well.
He sounded stressed.
Reminded him to hold
on to His peace and joy.

Line too long, I’ll wait
a few.

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