Coffee Shops

Thu, 08/29/2013 - 21:37 -- Maude B



I used to steal everything

All my jewelry and perfume

But you can’t steal from a coffee shop

So that’s where all my money went


I knew a girl who took fire to her arms

And wanted to fall asleep in snow banks

I stole her dress and her checked pajamas

But I've felt different ever since


I always wonder if the chalkboard menus in cafes

Can be easily wiped down

Or if the items stay the same

And the chalk sticks there for years


I loved another girl who bled more than the first

And took pills that turned her into a fairy

When I left, she was still bleeding

But I didn’t tell anyone


Autumn becomes a flavor in September

Every coffee tastes like pumpkins

And teas are infused with apple cider

And everything smells like dry leaves


One October my friend and I smoked synthetics from an apple

I didn’t know how to take in the smoke, but it still worked a little

And we argued about the existence of atoms

And pretended to be cartoon princesses


I used to only drink iced things

All through New England winter

But then something changed

And now I drink hot tea in December


I kissed a Dutch girl on top of the roof

After she named the constellations

She told me my hands were cold

Like the hands of our favorite rock star


Seeing people drink espresso

Makes me think of tiny shot glasses

I didn’t used to think that way

I wonder what happened


When I drank vodka out of a teacup

I made fun of her hair

And we talked about Buddha and cats

And I saw her shove her ex-girlfriend into a wall


I always notice what the people around me are reading

And if I’m reading in a café

I hope other people notice it

And talk to me if they like that book too


One day I smoked so much

That I spilled a box of toothpicks

And I thought I was in my favorite novel

And couldn’t remember how to get home


The art in cafés is always priced

But no one ever buys it

It just sits there for months

Maybe people don’t realize they can


I joked that I’d sleep with a boy for drugs

When he showed up I was so high

That I stared at the lights and said something rude

And my friend let him smoke a cigarette before leaving


I always wonder

What the people at the next table are saying

And if it’s important

Or if they’re thinking about really deep things


When I liked the boy and he didn’t like me back

We became friends

And he told me he was afraid of death

I said I was afraid of being forgotten


I don’t understand why people buy drinks from coffee shop coolers

Why would you pay for a five-dollar juice

When you could get it cheaper from a grocery store

Or just buy coffee or tea


I went out into the forest with another boy

With a camera, a half-pint of orange juice, and a fifty of vodka

He held my hand and I told him my secrets

And we kissed for hours


I used to spend holidays

At my favorite café

Because I didn’t really have friends

And the employees liked me


On Mother’s Day, I told him he hadn’t changed me

And he said he knew, while our lips met

I got upset when he stopped me

And left because I had to take a math test


I never understood how people could be

Addicted to coffee

I don’t drink it nine months out of the year

But do the other three


When it was over I was confused and I missed him

Even though I said I didn’t like boys that way

And the boys I used to like

Told me I hadn’t done anything wrong


I love open-mic night

When you can get free tea and coffee

And listen to people play music and read poetry

But I always miss it and don’t get to perform


After I sang to a group of underprivileged children

An oboe player asked my friend and I

If we knew how to break into a car

We didn’t, so he got stranded and we got high


When baristas offer me cream

I take it

But when they forget to ask

I don’t


When it started to turn into summer

Someone new told me I was beautiful

And I hated him for it and felt sick

But I let him touch me anyway


I feel guilty when I smoke outside coffee shops

When there are people around

But everyone else does it

So I guess I can too


When we smoked cigarettes in the woods

I refused to tell him anything and lied

So he told me about the scars on his arm

And his time in the hospital


In middle school I didn’t listen to music

And I learned what to like

From the songs that played through speakers in the ceiling

While I drank citrus tea


I stayed up all night on someone else’s medication

And my friend told me she’d protect me from him

Even though I had made bad choices

And we listened to a collection of all the best songs we knew


Sometimes I’ll spend all day out of the house

And never buy food

Only drinking café au laits

And writing down my thoughts


In the morning we couldn’t eat

And I cried until someone made me drink water

And panicked until my face was dry and cracking

I told him it was over and he asked if I had weed


If there was a place near where I live

Where I could smoke cigarettes

And drink black coffee until the sun rose

I would sneak out every night


That night I smoked a cigar with his roommate

And we talked about people with no limbs

And my friend told us to be quiet

Because we weren’t supposed to be there


I used to tell the people in my favorite tea shop

All my plans after I was finished with school

And look at information about colleges

With a pot of rooibos


After my friends graduated

I kissed a third boy in a truck bed for five seconds

Because we were both drunk and high

And he’d wanted to kiss someone that night


My least favorite café is a local chain

On the same block as a small park

Occasionally I’ll go there

But only because it’s cheap


In July my friend and I smoked in a playground at night

On the swings she told me I needed to have my heart broken

And I ruined my shoe on the cement

And she told me to take care of the people she’d left behind


In the morning, she bought me coffee

And I promised I would.


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