Flat White Afternoon

Forget about

it for you’ll
never win,

never hit the jackpot,
move in
to a solar-powered eco mansion

and modest
philanthropy,
become a panjandrum

of diaphanous pleasures
but must sink
or swim

beneath mood-
mutable skies, coconut
milk clouds,

in the shadow of high flats,
low sales, bright fronts,
strung crowds

of literally miraculous
people in
expensive skin

like bed sheets
you would wrap yourself in
and which you now touch

lightly as you enter
this café
past a clutch

of mitching schoolgirls
with pierced noses
and Tintin

hairdos who look
at you as if to say
is it dial-a-dickhead

day in here?
or maybe that’s aimed instead
at the guy eating flatbread

with five thousand
friends on his phone
who types with a grin


all is well with the world,
when all is not well with the world — 


the burden of debt
as your granny might say
heavy as sin — 

although who would begrudge
this incense
of crushed coffee in steam

this clatter and chatter
latex flowers under halogen lights
and who’d demean

that woman
with her small child wiping
the small child’s chin

to the delight of a lonely
well-off older person
or w.o.o.p. — 

I believe they call them
woopies — at the next
table over who scoops

two shaking spoons
of sugar into a steaming
cup then begins

to call her son
Oh my lost Son
asking after her granddaughter

while the mitching girls
swagger out the door
— look, one forgot her

phone — ah good,
someone caught her — 
and who would begrudge the yin

and yang of this moment
sitting here
coming or going

anyone and no one
here or somewhere else
stuck nowhere and flowing

in the mix like everyone
for you are blurring
below indigo and ink-dim

skies as time passes
by like steam vapors into
the run-of-the-mill gray

coat you put on
pausing, before leaving
to meet this falling day

which as your granny
might say is the only
day you’re in.

More Poems by Alan Gillis