Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Poetry, Writing

Day 328


We walked the day off our feet in the rain
When the darkness came, and more yards
Of words fled from the pens we flexed
In the half-empty café. It was a wild wind
That blew us into there one second after
The other, and the warmth tangled us into
One coat of one colour, and the same window
Seat collision. I can’t remember the year
Nor the years gone by, nor what came of
Those months and days that built them.

Our notebooks didn’t match in the smoke
Of that particular corner; yours A5, mine A6,
Yours a flourish of bright colours, mine a
Simple black, yours hard board bound, mine
A leather cover with yellow paper held in
Place by elastic bands. You used a biro, my
Tool was a fountain pen from some lost
Love who escaped me long before then.
Only our coats were the same – style, length,
Colour, make, source even, probably, how
Unlikely that might seem now. And the
Price was probably the same, too. Our
Yellow fingers spoke of thrift in the wrong

We sat at opposite ends of that bench,
Nervously eying each other with our
Peripheral vision while we probably wrote
Gothic descriptions of each other, down to
The finest details, your long and gracious
Hands, my stubby bruised and dislocated
Digits, my unshaven face, your smooth skin
And unblemished beauty, except for the
Slightly lop-sided nose, that asymmetry
Making you even more mysterious to my
Black ink on the yellow pages in the black
Binder of lonely words. We both opened
Our mouths at the same time, but no sounds
Came out; the coffee arrived that very moment,
Another match those double espressos whose
Saucers we extinguished our cigarettes in
When we were done. I do remember it was
A Saturday when I should have been at a game
But had lost the will to play or watch.

Cups half-empty, we tried again, those first
Words strangers always find so difficult. Now
It would probably have been even more impossible
Because respect and convention almost forbids
It. But between the smoke and the coffee and
The non-matching cake you forced into your
Narrow frame, we managed to find our voices
And introduced our fragile selves each to the
Other after having tried to guess who we were
In those brief scribbled phrases we’d planted
On the pages of our now closed books of secrets.
The rest was quiet voices and silence as the
Afternoon wound its way towards what would
Have been an uneventful evening had we not met.
I forget the year. I forget you. It’s a short walk
Back here to the empty window seat from
The fresh earth in the cemetery

R 24/11/2022, 20:18




Get notifications of new posts by email.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

1 Comment

  1. Day 329 – Richard Pierce

    25th November 2022 at 20:36

    […] Yesterday’s poem brought a lot of private comments. Was it a memory? No. Was it real in any way? No. To an extent, that poem encapsulates what I always say a poem is – a novel on one page. Just like novels, poems can be fictional, just stories that fly to us out of the thin air. The opening line came to me while I was standing in the garden having a smoke. Yes, I drew on certain places to visualise while I wrote it down, one particular cafe in Fredrikstad, in particular, that, if I recall correctly, was split into two levels, so that half the place was about two foot higher than the rest. It didn’t have a window seat. I used to sit in there, whilst still acclimatising to living in a country whose language I couldn’t speak perfectly, nursing a hot chocolate for ours while I wrote down my thoughts. Nowhere near a cemetery, never a place for a first encounter with someone I’d be sharing my life with. What struck me this morning about the poem is also that it’s so androgynous – and I think that’s probably a good thing. At the end, it’s about loss, but I suppose it’s better to have a loss after a life-time than at the beginning of the life-time. But the other thing is – do we poets ever really know what we mean, and are we lesser poets if we don’t know the meaning of what we write? Bottom line – the reader decides. That’s what makes writing superior to cinema. […]

Leave a Reply