cafe mariner

cafe mariner
   with apologies to Samuel Coleridge

Andros - cafe

at a distance
catching sight of him
in a plastic chair at
the cafe
his eyes were looking
further than any sea
you might have heard of
the man with salt on his breath
and seaweed in his hair
dreadlocks i thought at
first then smelt the
dry sourness of
it the smell of
the low tide
that only
an incoming tide
can lift away.
‘don’t’ you miss it’
he rasped at me
as i lifted the cup
seated across the
table from him,
‘has this earth
not soured for you?
can you really call it living
when all your days come down
to merely swapping one chair
for another right up to
the grave?’ and the salt
on his breath caused
my eyes to water.
‘what would you have
us do? sit here like you
back from a storm you
sought to be wrecked upon?’.
he laughed, ‘be that as it may,
i mean, wouldn’t you trade
this life where even the dust and dirt
are a known and worried quantity
for that other before the mast,
god’s face yawning on the deep
before you, the sky a solitary place
that nights will not grant you a
single star, you miss it,
don’t you?’
i got up to leave and
he put that salt breath
to my ear, ‘and the albatross
around your neck, friend,
is your very self’.


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