A Summer Writing Workshop

A stranger comes to town, meaning someone, somewhere

has left open a gate to this wasteland, this beach town with streets of

Once Upon a Breeze (kites), La Luna Loca (dresses),

Starfish Art (art) and Haystack Bakery (bread). Roving bands

of twelve year old kids from the Christian Conference sneak

along the streets, look for candy bars to steal.

In a coffee shop called Bella Cafe

I turn invisible when a student enters.

He tries likewise but I see.

The poet says a poem is

a breath sculpture.

I breathe.

A funny kind of lonely, waiting

for something you know won't happen.

I don't do the crossword puzzle, don't drink

the strong coffee. Sometimes all you can do

is move through the world, fall in step

with someone else, bump

bodies, go wide around those

who rest. Sometimes you don't see

that they are dead.

You think the smell

comes from your own body,

a funny kind of lonely.

Late at night the poet walks past Bella Cafe in a baseball cap,

but because he is Jewish and carries a mess of papers

and is a poet, the baseball cap doesn't make him look stupid.

The beach town is full of writers and the Christians turn

uneasy in their sleep. Bella Cafe is amok with the sound

of abandoned poems, lost in the grit and dust beneath

tables, baristas sweep, words hide, weep, whisper. Erato freaks out,

evokes rain. The tourists will be cranky. The students

try to catch the rain to drink, get drunk

and leave a mess behind, puzzles undone, tips

in odd amounts, pages

on rental cottage floors,

inky fingerprints

on the outside of windows

all over town.

About This Story

  • Author: Joanna Rose
  • Published Online: Jan 13, 2012