On unstable days, the atmosphere

bears down, humid and oppressive, pressing

tightly in, constricting breath and movement,

scrambling thoughts, intensifying moods

gloomy and depressing, building up

tensions and minor irritations until

anxiety renders me dysfunctional,

and I can neither focus on a task,

nor sit still with my constant jitters.

It happens often enough that it can’t be

mere coincidence, and yet I don’t

know what to call effect and cause, whether

emotions take a barometric turn,

or the same gods’ grip shakes and strangles both.


Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

View Over Rim of Raised Cup

They’d cast him as the courtier returned from France

if he played parts from Shakespeare on the stage,

but today he acts the barista’s part,

making espressi at the coffeehouse.

Tallish and lean, pale-skinned but darkly featured,

thick, wavy hair pulled back in ponytail,

eyes about the color of milk chocolate,

moustache, which I don’t usually go for, but

him it seems to suit; his arms are smooth,

like the bit of chest exposed by low-necked

T-shirt, with his pen clipped to the collar.

The shirt is great, the strap of his apron

looping around his neck’s dark blue.

Haven’t see him here before: He’s new.


Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper