coffee

Phoenixes

smell of cherry blossom and coffee
cut grass illuminated summerlike and
uneven ground, footsore and unsteady
sitting under falling petals, shadows
your easy touch on my cheek, hot
from walking and sunshine, your eyes
and smile drowning memory and questions
we cannot follow the seagulls
we giggle at the robin in the hedge
he's not scared of wind, or us
and in the evening cloud squeezes out
the nothingness, the cold, stars, fingers,
cups of tea on the edge of and old bed
a balcony over the river, I held you,
kissed your neck, held my hands
on your belly and felt the baby move
and saw boats and raindrops, smelled you,
remembered you from long ago
and for a game we rewrote our stories
a game of memory where we collided,
were separated, journeyed, cried,
crashed and burned and were reborn
as incredible winged things full of the sun

Lego People

I'd met some new friends and we were all sitting together in a cafe somewhere in America. They were very eccentric people and that was why we all liked each other. We drank lots of coffee and talked loudly about crazy stuff and generally made a nuisance of ourselves around the shopping centre. When we left the cafe the craziest guy started doing a dance in front of an elderly couple who were returning to their car - there was cheesy music coming from somewhere, and he posed like a ballerina, and then started vogueing. We were all laughing and taking pictures. Eventually the security guards came to chase us away, but not before we'd gotten into a music shop and started playing on the electric pianos which were arranged around the walls. They had a beautiful shiny wooden veneer  that I loved touching.

When we developed the pictures later we found that they were all pictures of toys instead of real people. Instead of me and a girl and a guy sitting talking, there were Lego people with bright yellow faces standing on a stippled grey landscape with big smiles. The scene in the parking lot with the dancing guy was all cuddly plush toys - a squashy cat and a floppy brown dog and a crocodile with big friendly eyes. All the cars were matchbox cars. We were puzzled but we loved the pictures anyway.

On the way home I saw a large climbing frame made of wooden logs and rope ladders, and I started to climb one side of it. It got taller and taller as I climbed, and I started to feel vertigo as I looked up and down. The ground was getting pretty far away, and even though it felt very solid I was afraid that if I climbed to the top I would fall off or it would collapse. No sooner had I thought this than the logs started to shake and the ladder I was on started to peel away from the side slowly. I was a little scared, but I realized that the ladder was falling slowly enough to prevent me being hurt. It tipped backwards and when it got near the ground I rolled over and jumped to my feet again. My friends and some other people had gathered around and were worried about me, but I told them that I was fine. We looked up to see what had happened to the other children, and it was only my ladder that had collapsed.
 

No Fingerprints!

I was on holiday in Europe with a group of friends who I didn't know very well, and my mother. One of my friends was gay, and the others were trying to set me up with him because they thought that I was gay too. I'd been going along with it for some reason, but I didn't want to do anything with him. We were in Amsterdam in a dark coffeehouse/nightclub, and we were just leaving when I decided to go to the toilet, and the guy followed me, and stood too close to me at the urinals. On the way back I knew he was checking out my ass, and it made me self-conscious, so I walked faster, pushing past people, as if I was putting on some kind of tough-guy performance.

When we left the coffeehouse we suddenly found ourselves in Paris. We wanted to go sightseeing, and the first place we went to was a huge art gallery which looked exactly like the Louvre, but for some reason I thought there was a way to get into 'the Louvre' from inside this place. I wanted to spend the day in the Louvre but no one else did, because they said they would get too tired from walking, and their necks would be too tired from craning to look at all the paintings and statues.

One of my friends and I split off from the others to look for 'the chapel of Camille Saint-Saens', a small chapel the size of a suitcase built by a priest of that name. On the way there we climbed weird off-kilter marble staircases and passed through huge rooms filled with paintings and artifacts. Every room was decorated like a palace. We couldn't find the chapel.

Eventually we emerged into a gigantic two-level gallery full of tourists. On the bottom level, in the centre of the floor, the famous pianist Evgeny Kissin was playing the biggest grand piano I had ever seen. It was dark brown, and so perfectly polished that he would glare at anyone who approached him to try and touch it. "No fingerprints!" As he reached the climax of the piece he was playing, his head tilted upwards so that I could see his face. His eyes were closed and he was grinning. When he finished, everyone clapped, and he bowed and smiled broadly, and said "The genius Mozart will play again at 4pm tomorrow!".