Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Peace, Hugs & Harmony In The Workplace

Beauty in our banged up little cafe... Recently two people applied for the position of Grumpy's helper. One person had superior coffee skills. The other had few coffee skills, but she had something. Both are lovely people. The Dreaded One advised that I should look after me, and so my head went with the person with the coffee skills.

Funny, though, my heart was wishing that the other person had scored the job. There had been a moment during her trial shift when I glanced across and she was looking in the other direction, not knowing she was being watched - drew in a big, slow, eyes-closed breath, and breathed it out again. She was feeling so completely at home in our little cafe. I really wanted to be able to give her the job because she was miserable at the restaurant she was working at. I'd ask her about it, and she would deflate as she talked about it. The cafe, however, seemed to make her happy. Properly happy.
Complications and complications and although I gave the coffee skills person the job, and although I know she would have been great and I would have enjoyed working with her, she turned the offer down.

So now this sweet stranger from Uruguay has the job. We work well together. The Dreaded One and Heart-Shaped Lollipop Girl adore her. The customers love her. I have chosen well, again.
But the beautiful moment... today after a long-weekend because of a football game, I asked how her weekend had been.

"Oh," she told me, that never faraway smile emerging, "The weekend was so long. I missed coming into the cafe."

Sunday, October 01, 2017

And Then You Are Gone

No one asks
Because you seem sorted,
Your own place,
Your own love,
Your own friends
You seem sorted.
You're okay,
You're fine
You seem sorted
And fine
And okay,
You seem to be all of these things

No one asks.

And then you are gone.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Forever Love

I want to go
He said
I really don't want
You to go
She said
But I need to go
I said
Please don't go
She said
I don't want to go,
I said
Even though
For the longest time
I've wanted to go.

And now I have gone
So you have
She said
You have gone forever
I miss you and love you
And somehow
He whispered back
From the forever
I miss you too
And I'll miss you forever
And ever,
My forever love.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Image result for meerkat hug

Today in the cafe... so it begins again; the search for Grumpy's next front of house sidekick. I've had such a dream run of beautiful souls. There have been ups and downs and mostly friendships and hugs.

The hugs have become a feature lately. New workers early on just embracing the daily hug or two. It's quite beautiful. Hugs in the workplace. Beautiful. Just fucking beautiful.

And I find myself wondering what has happened over the last couple of years. I am solitary man. I don't consider myself obviously open to hugs because I am Grumpy.

But there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

When I was in my 20s, I remember being with friends who had been friends for a long time, and they hugged, and I remember smiling and being quietly envious... would I ever have friends who would hug me so easily? Because I am Solitary Man, I'm just not someone people hug, not for my whole life. These people, I thought, are lucky people.

Something has changed, apparently. The hugs come easily these days. Solitary Man, the huggers have found him.

And I'm cool with that. Now I'm a lucky people too.

Friday, September 15, 2017

I See Invisible People

I look around and see all the invisible people. The people who made the bridges and the roads and who made the internet work. I see the invisible people who made telephones and remote control devices and velcro and zippers and GPS and bridges again... can you imagine if you were the one who had to build that bridge? That great arching bridge?

Sorry to go on about the bridges, but seriously, some of those bridges...

The medicine, the gaffer tape, the glass and the metal, those fucking skyscrapers with their cocktail lounges and time itself, the measurement of time. Specs that allow us poor visioned to see, all these invisible people made all these things. The young soldiers who gave their lives for our easy lives and our freedom.

Just saying, cheers to all the invisible people. All the invisible people who are around us each and every day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Down On Eddy Street

Down On Eddy Street.

It's sunny down there, down on Eddy Street, Tenderloin. Saddest place I've ever been. Hotel's good, with my view and my privilege and my escape plan, and my temporary status as a tourist.

They shout at each other, down on Eddy Street. There's drama, always fucking drama. I watch the sadness and drama unfold beneath that giant mural of the guy and his microscope, looking microscopically at his own heart, ripped it seems by his own hands, from his own chest. He's really checking this heart thing out, and I wonder what he makes of it all.

I see two people, down on Eddy street. Fucked. Fucking fucked. Their lives are fucked. They are fucked. Right now they are chemically fucked and the hedonist that I am thinks good on you, you've found a way of being fucked on the streets of Tenderloin, San Francisco. Good on you. It's not the Summer Of Love, but good on you.

I watch, fascinated, from my privileged place, as he does this basically, fundamentally beautiful thing: he takes his filthy rag from his filthy bag, and she screams what the fuck are you doing? He says kind words and goes about his task. But what is he fucking doing? One corner of his filthy rag goes up on ledge, stabilised by a heavy can. A luggage bag stabilises the next corner on the same ledge. On the ground, stumble and stagger, a sun couch folded forms the third corner, and I see it now.

He tucks the fourth corner through the pop-up handle of the luggage case (lost or theirs – who knows?), and there is shelter of sorts against the sun.

And it strikes me that I am actually seeing beauty. This broken man is doing the decent thing, that thing we all aspire to: he is providing shelter for someone he loves, down on Eddy Street.

They pull their things inside the shade he has made. Sanctuary, in a harsh part of town in this wealthy city. They scramble inside, and others stumble by, some glancing inside, most stumbling carelessly by, focused on the own pointlessness of their own pointless day.

The guy's legs pop out from the beneath the shelter he has so carefully constructed on this shitty pavement down on Eddy Street. Why go perpendicular, I think from my Ivory Tower, when you can stretch out horizontally?

Then a cop, a young guy with a take-away coffee, he stops and peers properly inside. There are words, a shake of his head. No way, his body language says, no fucking way. You can't do this, you have to move on.

Eventually the guy who built the shelter, he kind of stumbles from his shelter, down on Eddy Street, and he pulls up his trousers and buckles up his belt. Cop leans on the street sign as he waits for these losers to pack up their stuff. The girl finally emerges, shade cloth is pulled down, things thrown into bags as thoughts are shouted, and they get on with their day. Not here, not today.

Not down on Eddy Street.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

At Gold Beach

At Gold Beach

At Gold Beach, Oregon
Somewhere nearby,
Fires burn.
Heavy smoke darkens the light,
And in the hazy smoke,
Shapes of things loom.
The summer looks like winter
Smoke like mist
Above us
A blood red sun
Scatters fire on the ocean
A blood red moon
Stares accusingly down.

In the dark
In the forever black dark
I listen to the waves
Crunch insistently against the sand
And I think about the light.
I want the light
She wants the dark
So I lie there in her dark
And think about my light,
I dream about going
Into the light
Into the light,
Into the forever light.