Reader

He brings his bike, which doesn’t have a kickstand,

into the coffeehouse, so you can’t help noticing

as he moves around the room trying to find

the best place to lean it, but you would have

noticed him anyway, first because he’s cute,

vanilla-skinned and blond, but second because

when he settles into a chair by the window

and reaches into his pocket, what comes out

is not a smartphone but a book, an actual

printed-paper book, serious-looking,

without pictures, and then he begins

reading it, attentively, by choice,

without a highlighter, so seductively

that you want to read with him.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Bean Train

The coffee roaster
looks like a locomotive,
the old-school steam kind,
green-sided and silver-stacked;
stationary, off the rails,
it’s time stopped halfway
across the Great Plains,
the Pacific coast
no longer even a dream.
But now it cures the magic beans
that jolt zombies back to life
and fire imaginations,
energy transferred from plant
by machine to hipster kind.

Copyright 2018
T. Allen Culpepper

Thor Makes Coffee in Vesterbrø

VesterbroJoeandJuice

The barista wasn’t actually called Thor,

though he certainly might have been,

fair but strong Nordic features and

long platinum hair pulled back from

his face, grasping the espresso-machine

handle as if it were the fabled hammer–

godlike in his strength and beauty,

the mythic illusion marred only

by the incongruous sweatshirt

from an American university,

where he’s probably the star

of the rowing team or something.

And the cappuccino was good as well.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Another Aubade

When it’s 5 a.m. but you’re wide awake

on a summer day when there’s no need

for early rising, no hurry to get moving,

what can you do really but sit on the porch

in your underwear, drinking black coffee in the dark,

watching cats prowl the yards and mourning

the loss of stars as the sky begins to brighten

slightly and a gentle wind breaks the stillness,

stirring the uppermost branch of the hackberries,

ruffling the feathers of the early birds

anticipating the dawn in that long, lonely

moment just before it that brings to mind

departed lovers and forgotten dreams;

but the birds sing reassuringly

as the first light reveals the first blossoms

on a late-blooming crepe myrtle,

and the coffee is good and strong.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

 

 

Two College Dudes Do Homework and Drink Coffee

Though far too tall to be my type,

the more handsome of the two

has dark brown hair and beard, dark eyes,

black knit cap, hoodie faded blue.

 

Shorts and sneakers, hairy legs,

but chest looks smooth at open neck.

Under laptop, textbook open;

speaks in husky baritone

 

to the second, who’s just come in,

not bad but no match for his friend.

This dude’s all in navy, shorter,

with laptop but not book; he orders

 

right away, something fancy.

First guy still sipping from paper cup,

just a coffee, but he’s getting antsy

up and down, must’ve had too much.

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper