Newcastle, Ice Cream, Coffee, Culture and Katie

Wednesday revision-add a bit,took a bit out,snuck in some sneaky assonances 🙂

kicking my heels in Heaton Street,
sitting in the ‘Shoe Tree’ cafe – 
drinking cappuccino coffee.
at my table, not beautiful,
but oozing character and style
sat a striking woman, reading.
her soya moustache made me smile.
she took out a tissue, wiped clean,
mouthed ‘thank you’ then pointed out mine.
I nodded my head along to 
Nesrine Balmokh singing Ahlam.
the music spoke my loneliness,
I sensed it moved the stranger too,
she seemed as solitary as me.                                   
smiling, she sighed her book away, 
half-waved a ‘goodbye’ sheepishly,                                 
then vanished from the ‘Shoe Tree’ through
a rattling of wooden beading.                                    
the ‘randy me’ urged, ‘after her,
chat her up, you’ve nothing to lose.’
but she looked unattainable –
I headed for the Laing instead –  
its Pre-Raphaelites are said to
be ‘priceless’ – and admission’s free.
deep in contemplation, I stood,
admiring Alma-Tadema’s
sensuous Love in Idleness
willing myself in the painting
schmoozing the women lounging there.
‘they’re holding an exhibition
at the Hatton – pop-art paintings
by Roy Lichtenstein… I’m off now.
(this from my ‘Shoe Tree’ commensal)
come with me if you fancy it,
by the way, my name is Katie.’ 
Katie was unimpressed, sniffing,
‘Lichtenstein? flashy non-art aimed
at the art-illiterati.
howay if you’re tired of this pish, 
there’s something here you shouldn’t miss.’
(‘art-illiterati’? that’s me
cos I quite liked it actually)
she ushered me from the ‘banal’
to a work of real Art. ‘Voila!’ 
my jaw dropped at the ‘Merzbarn’ wall.
Kate nudged me from cathedral awe
by whispering respectfully, 
‘Schwitters was extraordinary,
his work is incomparable.
there’s been no artist around since
who can hope to hold a candle.’
later in ‘The Journey’ cafe,
dry of words – eyes on the clock –
we ate Magnum choc-ice lollies
and sipped skinny latte coffees.
my bus turned up at six, worse luck.
a friendly hug, no kiss, no peck,
I climbed aboard – no looking back.
 ‘thanks, Kate, for the ices and all – 
I really dug that Merzbarn wall.’

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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I find that your poem makes perfect sense and that the line length is irrelevant. The only problem I find – and I’m often guilty of it myself – is that the layout does not make it a poem. It reads more like a story and could be laid out as such. I think that for it to come alive as a poem it needs imagery, metaphor, to take the reader out of the everyday narrative into a different realm of emotion and suggestion. Sorry if all this sounds a bit harsh. Cheers, Nemo.

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