The Old Coffee House
by John Grey
It’s shuttered now,
this life of the mind.
It no longer accommodates
the passion, the pretension,
of fervent twenty-year-olds.
Wiser souls tell me
that’s what universities are for
not coffee houses,
that knowledge is lectured downward,
not launched from below.
But college education
fades with the diploma.
has always been more lifelong.
And where else could you
sip the one cup of joe
into the early hours of the night.
And discover, to your eyes’ delight,
that pretty women
often dressed in black.
I peer through the window.
There’s just some tables, chairs,
shunted to the side.
The local art is gone from the walls.
And outrageous theories
are no longer accepted as currency.
Here was my introduction to Gide and Camus,
Modigliani and the Fauves.
Stockhausen and Buffy Sainte-Marie
I slept elsewhere.
But this has always been my address.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, Covert, Memory Outside The Head and Guest Of Myself are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.