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A Coffee At Eight

by GWritesNovels


You sit in silence
at the window seat
of an empty café that
no one even bothers to
remember the name of.
Your head is tilted towards the window,
gazing at the falling snow gathering
underneath the streetlamp.
The light flickers on and off,
as do your thoughts of her.

You’re barely two decades old,
but the waitress swears that
when you turn around, the worn look in your eyes
plays the memories of someone who has lived a lifetime longer.

The waitress sets down your coffee and hurries away,
slipping out of sight.

You smile a little, the inside of your head disagreeing
and wishing you’d never reacted.
The action aches deeply in your muscles,
pain seeping into your bones.

Hunching over the coffee mug,
you take a small sip and swallow hard
because the liquid is the color of her eyes.

Your dark hair falls into your face
but you don’t brush it away.
It’s a suitable veil for the memorial service
going on inside your head.

And a coffee at eight brings back everything.

The record player in the corner
moves its needle outwards instead of in
and the water ringlet from the mug
seeps back into it.
The sun is slowly rising
with the promise of a new start.
Then everything returns to normal as the door opens
and she walks in
while the oxygen in your lungs sits still.

If the words do not come out,
everything will be different in the best way.
But you allow the words to spill from your throat
and be suspended in the air.

Her dark eyes meet your light ones
as an explosion occurs in your mind.

It’s all over.

You’re trapped in your seat as she slowly moves forward
with that smile that will beautifully
destroy your heart.

The effects are immediate as she slides a chair over
and introduces herself.
The damage is already done, and now
she just has to scatter the evidence and make the aftermath
nothing more than an accident.

You are scattered everywhere now,
the residue nearly impossible to spot.

You are scattered upon the pages of her favorite novels,
embedded deeply inside of the ink and
patiently waiting for her to find you in the words.

You are scattered on her favorite flannel,
seeping too deeply into the fabric
so she’ll never get rid of the eternal traces of you.

(You won’t fade as easily as your scent.)

You are scattered all over her apartment;
settling into the couch where you stayed up late watching television together,
tangling in the sheets of her bed where you both spent so many nights,
and resting near the front door where you thought you were entering the rest of your life.

(It worked better as an exit.)

Most of all,
you are scattered on her lips and her lungs,
causing fire to ignite with every breath she draws.

But you know deep down that it doesn’t matter
where you reside.

She’s thrown out her books for newer copies
and she bought a new flannel because
the old one was ripped to shreds out of love (sounds familiar).
She’s leaving her apartment to live with her new lover,
and she’s screamed so many proclamations of him or her being the one
that blood came up and
washed every trace of you from her body.

You close your eyes,
trying desperately to see her face
but the silent rage in your head is bouncing off the walls
and reverberating in your brain.

The emotional anguish is welcome for a moment,
as you’re ready to give your physical body a break,
but another shot of agony courses through your veins
and you realize that,
when they say you can only feel pain in one place in your body at a time,
emotional pain isn’t taken into account.

Slowly, you open your eyes and watch the record spin,
needle making its way to the inside of the vinyl.
The water from the mug is still
wetting the table.

You raise the mug to your lips,
the coffee scorching your tongue.
As it runs down your throat,
you realize that it’s the second most bitter thing you’ve ever tasted
and wish it was blood filling your throat, too.

Because a coffee at eight brings back everything but her.


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Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:01 am
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hello there, welcome to YWS! I read the description and had to give this a read, since I am also a fan of love poems that use coffee as an extended metaphor -> bittersweet. Anyways, this was a really lovely poem that had a good clear narrative progression, and plenty of strong imagery and metaphor throughout. Let's dig in shall we?

Interpretation

I interpreted the poem to be about a person who is remembering their lover from drinking some coffee, the coffee is maybe something that they shared in common with the person they loved, and they just go in this spiral of all these memories that are stirred up when they start drinking coffee and can't avoid the cascade of memories and thoughts that follow. It's the classic heartache poem, with a nice little twist. You give a lot of personality to both the characters in the poem, even with just the few stray details you give, I think there could be a bit more about what made the person loveable beyond just their physical appearance, but overall you do a great job with the different descriptions of memories.

-Clarity

There were a few parts that I think were ambiguous in ways that I don't think helped the poem. For instance,

Hunching over the coffee mug,
you take a small sip and swallow hard
because the liquid is the color of her eyes.


^upon reading this at first I thought the "her" was the waitress, I don't know how this could be clarified, but the poem is almost open to that reading, so you might want to clarify it.

This section too:
You smile a little, the inside of your head disagreeing
and wishing you’d never reacted.

isn't clear if it's about an interaction with the speaker's love or the waitress's comment.

And then later in the poem several of the stanzas start with "you" and I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if the "you" was referring to the speaker or the coffee. Like coffee was all over her flannel and home and lips etc. or the speaker. I'm not sure if that's what you were going for. If you were going for that - then I'd hype up the comparison a bit more, push it further to really make a play with it. And if you weren't going for that, maybe clarify the pronoun from "you" to "I'.

I'm also confused if in this part: "that blood came up and
washed every trace of you from her body." are you implying that some sort of violent interaction happened between the two of them? There's mention of blood at the very end, that almost makes me wonder if the speaker murdered their lover... If there wasn't a violent interaction, you may want to rethink those two blood reactions, which are rather subtle, but kinda foreboding?

Suggestions

- Flow

This poem was quite long for a piece like this, and I'm not sure all the parts really needed to be there. I think the flow would be a little better if you either changed the poem's formatting into even stanzas or into paragraph poetry, because as-is the line breaks did not seem to be instrumental, but seemed fairly random which made the poem feel and read a bit unpollished.

- Brevity

I think overall the poem would be stronger if you simplified and condensed some of the content, poetry doesn't necessarily need every inbetween thought and word in the way that prose benefits from it, so find the most important parts that really are emotionally & narratively important, and then take out the rest to create a tighter and stronger piece.

-Overdramatic

there were a few parts, that just seemed a bit cliche in their descriptions I had to say, I think because of how the descriptions were drawn out in a sort of vague general way. In love poems especially, it's important to stay clear of "classic heartbreak" imagery unless you're going to give it a bit of an original twist or embrace the cliche-ness.

For instance,
"Your dark hair falls into your face
but you don’t brush it away.
It’s a suitable veil for the memorial service
going on inside your head." <- this just seemed way overdramatic, mostly because at this point in the poem the reader doesn't know the type of heartache that the speaker has went through, so it's like, ... why is the speaker being so dramatic over a breakup?

This part too was way over the top:
as an explosion occurs in your mind.

It’s all over.

You’re trapped in your seat as she slowly moves forward
with that smile that will beautifully
destroy your heart.


There were a few other moments like this here and there where the speaker just seemed a little over the top, which didn't actually seem sincere because it was so hyped up.

Highlights

There were plenty of parts that I really enjoyed in the piece, and parts where I just paused, and thought "man that's an excellent line".

I loved this part;
You’re barely two decades old,
but the waitress swears that
when you turn around, the worn look in your eyes
plays the memories of someone who has lived a lifetime longer.


It sounds like something sort of stereotypical of what a hometown waitress might say, but there's a lot of pain in the implication too, that they're so worn out with life, that the stray comment picks a little too far.

I think the ending also is quite strong;
As it runs down your throat,
you realize that it’s the second most bitter thing you’ve ever tasted
and wish it was blood filling your throat, too.

Because a coffee at eight brings back everything but her.


I think that you could clarify what the most bitter thing is / is that metaphorical like regret, heartache? why not identify the emotion's reference?
The closing line is just perfect though, and really sums up the poem well.

I'll also say, that at first I was sort of annoyed that the poem didn't clarify 8am or 8pm, but I think maybe that could be stretched to be part of the poem's meaning too - we don't know whether it's the beginning or the end of the day, and some of the poem's emotional resonance lies into that ambiguity too - we don't know whether they're in love or in hatred / and at times it balances between both in the heartache.

Hopefully that gives you some areas to work on, overall I found this to be a very enjoyable poem to read, and I look forward to reading more of your work! Sorry if you found this review to be a bit high on the critical side, I just think your writing has a lot of potential, and I generally find the criticism more helpful in revisions.

- alliyah

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Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:56 am
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James565611 wrote a review...



halo how re u doing, great i suppose.
i read your work and i love it.
when i saw it at the home page the title was catchy, i was immediately drown to read it.
and it was what i expected. nice one keep it up.
but as i scale through it, there was something i observed
I first thought it would have been better as a piece
of prose. but its nothing, everybody have their own style of writing.

The imagery was so catchy, I felt it drag myself inside the work. Lovely! And the lingering sadness at the end made it more unforgettable.
A very beautiful verse all along!

never stop writing my friend...






Hello! I'm doing well, thank you for asking :) How are you? I hope you're alright!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review! Your kind words mean a lot to me :) I hope you have a wonderful day or evening!



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Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:33 am
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Liberty wrote a review...



Hello Grace!

Hope you're doing well today or tonight, depending on what side of the world you're on, obviously. I'm here to give you a review! Let's get started, now, shall we? Alrightyo. This poem doesn't deserve to be sitting around the Green Room anyway.

First of all, if this is true, I'm sorry. And if it's not, a very big pat on the back from me! The way everything has been described was picture perfect and I could totally see everything that was going on. When the waitress came, when he smiled, when he took a sip from the coffee. Every detail is now etched into my brain, ya know? Brava! :smt023

Now, I did see a couple - more like two - things that I'd like to point out. ^^

Your dark hair falls into your face


I don't think hair falls "into" your face but instead, "onto" your face. But that could be your style. :)

and resting near the front door where you thought you were entering the rest of your life.


Hmm, this doesn't quite make sense. Maybe if you wrote "for" after "entering", that would have been nice and it could have completed the sentence, a bit, ya know? Or maybe if not "for" then some other word would work too, but obviously, it has to make sense! (:

Anyways, I loved reading this poem and it was a delight to read! I hope my review helped in one way or the other. Of course, if you've got any other questions, feel free to ask. I can't wait to see more of your amazing poems.

And as always...

Keep on writing!

~Liberty

:elephant:






Hello, Liberty! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review! It really means a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed!

As for the "into," I think it was a typo haha :) I think I had meant "onto" and my finger slipped. Thank you for pointing it out!

And for the second sentence, thank you again for pointing out that it could be phrased better :) It's a huge help! I wrote this at one in the morning so a couple of sentences were definitely not as coherent as they could be. Pair that with the fact that I'm from Tennessee and we all talk extremely funny here, and I can definitely see the confusion. I'll be sure to work on it!

Again, thank you for your time and your kind words :) They really do mean a lot. I hope you have a wonderful day or night as well! :)



Liberty says...


Not a problem! ;)



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Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:18 pm
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Here wrote a review...



Are you fine? I don't know why this came into my mind when I read this but I couldn't help asking. So much anguish! It's really a beautiful melancholic tale of broken heart!

I first thought it would have been better as a piece
of prose. But the way it's written, it's wholesome. The imagery was so catchy, I felt it drag myself inside the work. Lovely! And the lingering sadness at the end made it more unforgettable.
A very beautiful verse all along! Thank you for sharing such an enjoyable treat with all of us.

–Here






Hello! I'm okay, thank you for asking :) I hope you're doing okay as well. I actually wrote this poem a couple years ago when I wasn't in as good of a place, but I'm honestly a lot better! I just thought it was one of my better works and decided to post it.

And thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave a review! Your kind words really mean a lot. I hope you have a wonderful day or evening :)



Here says...


That's nice to hear. Have a nice day %uD83D%uDE0A




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