The Absinthe Drinker

The Absinthe Drinker
Victor Oliva, "The Absinthe Drinker"

Cantina

Posture, pony tail, black work uniform. Proud of her breasts: she pushes them before her like advertisements: I am female.

Middle-aged buslady likes me, smiles, says hello in halting English. Less and less shy each time I come in.

It's a tourist crowd: in town to gawp the Mission. Dropped from busses in Bermuda shorts and flip flops and sunscreen. Eating what the Mexicans eat for lunch.

Patrick Caulfield, "Cafe" Sign (1968)
Patrick Caulfield, Café Sign (1968)

Source: www.markphillips.com

Café

Johnny Writer Dude, writing writerly writings.

White shirt, sleeves rolled up, black vest, black tie, unwashed nocolor hair, untrimmed nocolor goatee, writing writerly with pen and notebook, old school the way writerly writers do, high on caffeine and self-importance.

"Something's brewing. Strong, black. A bittersweet house blend. A dash of hipster to cool things off. But it's gonna burrrrn going down..."

What if the world you lived in weren't real...?

William H. Johnson, "Cafe" (1939-40)
William H. Johnson, Café (1939-40)

Source: www.markphillips.com

Art of Smoothie

Girl couple in matching down vests and daypacks, laughing as they share their homework. Wordsworth’s use of simile. At the next table your voyeur author swallows giggles over how charming they are.

Blind with white cane, two finger gestures on iPad, face raised to the wall. BlueTooth with tech support: his mailboxes are misbehaving.

Friendly baristas make me custom smoothies. "Here: try this." Mango, peach, banana: bomb city.

Quiet Sunday on the grid.

Funhouse Cafe, Brisbane
Funhouse Cafe, Brisbane

Source: www.markphillips.com

Trainers

Jock-in-Boots: Latina, long brown hair, black jeans. On a meet with Jock-in-Trainers: shaved head, rolled up cuffs, brown cords. She's loquacious, laughing cheerfully about Christmas presents, injuries, workouts, what her friends do. He's skilled at drawing her out: laughing, saying "Yah", otherwise speaking as little as possible. He likes her. I do too.

College student in sweats, earbuds, eyes glued to her MacBook, toes-in-trainers tapping. Yawns and stretches big, thin little arms behind her back. Sits up straight, excellent posture, fingers blazing.

Johnny Strength Training in track pants and racing cap. Face to screen, but he repeatedly checks out the Jock-in-Boots Latina with fleeting little side flicks he thinks are discreet. He likes her too.

Tea-Pop Cafe, Camanava, Philippines
Tea-Pop Cafe, Camanava, Philippines

Source: www.markphillips.com

Chuck Berry

Bad Uncle Chuck overhead: Long distance information give me Memphis Tennessee.... Sadness that such brilliance fades in transience: young people for three generations ignorant, as previous generations were ignorant of Cab and the Duke and Robert Johnson. What memory remains kept alive by old white men, and Jack White, and the ambient music guardians at Starbucks.

Six MacBooks, two iPads, one heavy oldschool Toshiba laptop, iPhones all around. Apple owns the cafe crowds.

CAUTION, CUIDADO, ATTENTION: baby on her butt slides her white pullover across slippery wet stone floor, laughing.

William H. Johnson, "Cafe" (1939-40)
William H. Johnson, Café (1939-40)

Source: www.markphillips.com