From my upcoming chapbook Distractions and Illusions

Coffee Break

There’s a coffee shop on 14th street

where he takes his breaks.

The only one who seems to know him

is the Barista, who thinks his name is

double soy latte with a caramel twist.


Black suited like a Tarantino Villain,

he sits in a booth by the shop window

where he can be just like everybody else,

shuffling down the street outside.


He looks over Playbill, and sighs.

He considers taking in a show or

a set at the Bluenote; his tastes run more

torch song than fusion these days.


People coming and going, never notice him.

It can’t last, this imperceptible calm.

He drains his cup, tips the Barista,

steps outside onto the street.


There’s a sudden uptick in violence.


Two men’s accidental collision

flares up into a fist fight, members

of the eighth street kings shoot up

the pool hall that the Lowboys call home.


On the other side of the globe,

an insignificant border skirmish,

erupts into the next brushfire war.