Men at the Coffeehouse



I see him coming in,

in long white tee with photo

of a band I don’t recognize,

faded skinny jeans,

navy canvas shoes.


Cute haircut, sides short,

longer top and back,

like a fauxhawk, but

with less fuss on top.


Black plastic glasses,

short black beard.

Multicolor-striped backpack

slung over right shoulder.




Thirty-something guy,

shaved head and close-trimmed beard;

blue T-shirt and slate-grey shorts,

tan deck shoes, plastic

wristbands, various colors.

Busy at his laptop,

consulting book that

looks scriptural, with

leather cover, gold-edged leaves.

Drinking his iced coffee

over by the windows.

He takes a call,

switches tables.




Dark-haired college due

(where are the blonds tonight?),

with heavily shadowed jaw,

in pale lavender T-shirt,

white synthetic shorts

that hug his ass when

he walks to the bar,

plain black flip-flops,

hanging out with friends.




African American employee,

looking sharp in olive shirt and tie,

tall with short, tight dreads,

fashionable and handsome.




Backward cap, jacket over

red-and-white striped shirt,

black skinny shorts,

brightly colored jacquard socks

above black trainers,

crossing street out front.




Three friends at a table:


First one wears aquamarine V-neck,

with pendant hanging from chain,

neutral-colored plaid shorts,

red canvas shoes.

Dark hair, beard, and glasses.


Second one rocks high-rolled

navy chinos with sandals,

dark-grey chambray shirt,

unbuttoned over slim tank.

Sports Morrissey-style pompadour.


Third has dark hair too,

well-groomed and shiny,

a hint of moustache and goatee.

Wears khaki-colored jeans

rolled above sneakers.

Open face, cute grin,

lambent brown eyes,

bubbly personality.


Two goes to bar for refill,

One hoists backpack

and exits with parting hug from Three.

Two returns and chats with Three.




Hipster type sitting near the door

wears black studs in ears.

Shaggy-cut brown hair, long on side,

flopping down in front of ear,

distinctive nose.

He’s in a turquoise tee,

just a touch too short,

dark skinny jeans, not belt,

checkerboard-patterned slip-on sneaks.

He’s talking with a girl;

they finish coffees and leave together.



Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Tree Dude

Driving up the street toward my neighbor’s house

in a beat-up red piece of shit,

fender bashed in and door barely hanging on,

he veers wildly, runs over curb,

and bangs back onto the street.

Not an accident, just the way he drives,

a dude who’s come to help cut a tree

and pick up the branches after the storm.

He jumps out of the car, cigarette

dangling out of his mouth,

in jeans, boots, bright blue cap.

He’s tall, muscular, shirtless,

covered with tattoos on back and front;

the most prominent one looks

from a distance like a cross,

but turns out to be a hug Libran scale,

complemented by starbursts on the shoulder blades.

Can’t get a close enough look to

sort out exactly what’s on his chest and arms.

After a few minutes of work, he’s hot and sweaty,

his rippling muscles shining with perspiration,

pecs and biceps hardening as he raises

a log overhead like a barbell,

glutes firm under snug jeans as he lifts.

I think one of my trees might need trimming.



Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper