Café Loner Poem by Bill Galvin

Café Loner

Often, two local shops are where I run into him; already there,
No matter the time or day; we don't speak, or acknowledge that
There may be a pseudo-kindred-ness… not like a doppelganger…
Just a part of yourself, from the past usually, in someone else.

He has curly, disheveled, shoulder-length, unruly graying hair,
And favors a faraway corner space, so as not to be intrusive,
But ends up more noticeable than if among the crowd, selecting
The best site for subtle observation and quiet people-watching.

Sometimes he reads a wrinkled, used newspaper, quarter-folded;
Or, he pours attention onto a small tablet, fingering his soul patch.
A bit overweight, his beard medium-long, unkempt, untrimmed;
His rumpled clothes and hair suggest a 'go-to-hell' attitude.

His posture is one of contemplation, but, he displays a little uptight;
His eyes spy over the edge, studying the comings and goings;
And maybe he doesn't know it, but he seems a tad dangerous,
As he reads ever so slowly, rarely page-turning… never writing.

Maybe he's rereading, staying long on a page, motionless,
Like when your mind is wandering, and the words don't sink in,
Affected and redirected by events more meaningful, more heartfelt,
And less mundane than the simple daily life we're witness to today.

Did he lose someone close? Divorce or death? Sane or wavering?
Did he get laid off and can't find work at his age? A bad diagnosis?
Is he really bottled up? Or, just relaxing; but with a face hardened
By life, and we see him as something that he actually isn't?

He could fit in with the homeless, but, this is expensive coffee;
He gets into an old, faded, worked-over gray sedan, a lot like him.
People give him space, but, he does not smell of the unwashed;
Maybe the choice is his, to live on the borders; or maybe not.

I wouldn't even be writing about him, if I hadn't seen him again,
At a third café much further away; an infrequent, unplanned stop,
Out of the way, miles from the neighborhoods… who knows… now,
Loner-man may be thinking, 'Him again! What's that guy's story? '

So many roads bring us to where we are today…
Detours and dead-ends included -
Where we would be, and when, is just irrelevant.

September 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016
Topic(s) of this poem: personality
Lyn Paul 11 September 2016

Interesting tale of this Café Loner. Is he wondering the same about you? I really hope that if your paths cross again you start a conversation. A great description.

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Bill Galvin 11 September 2016

Thanks, Lyn... perhaps I will speak to him, though it's not in my nature.

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