The Haggerston Tearoom

Is a curious place
Where lonely old men
Come
To sit alone
And feel less lonely

Vintage bald heads buried between
Parted newspapers
Reading about times
They no longer feel a part of

I go there and spend more hours
Than I do pound coins

The Haggerston Tearoom
Is a dusty little
Secret
tucked off the beaten path

Minutes dangle
As the marshmallow waitress
Stands like a stack of crumpets
Watching me eat

Her name escapes me
I’ve asked for it
And forgotten it so many times
That I can no longer ask for it again

She plaps a plate in front of my face
Featuring beans and eggs and
Other dregs
That’d clearly been scooped
from a hospital bedside bin

I gratefully graze on it
With two thumbs in the air

She continues watching me
Biting her fingers
Intermittently spitting
Crescent moon-shaped nails
In my direction

The Haggerston tearoom
Sticks a fat middle finger up to
Conventional cafe decorum

Beside me some brute
In a stiff and starchy suit
Types away, stoney faced
Accumulating more tabs on his laptop
Than he’ll ever open

Updates ready to install
‘remind me tomorrow’ … always tomorrow, never today.

Touch any single letter into his Google search bar
And the wealth of filth
That’ll gush forth
Would be enough to make you wobble

Probably.

The squeezable waitress
Continues looking through me
With eyes
As empty as my bank balance

“What you writing?” she asked.
“Nothing.” I said.
“YOU LOOK LIKE JESUS,” she croaked – which was irrelevant.
“Okay,” I said.
She bit another fingernail and spat it out.
“He was overrated,” she ejaculated.

The afternoon yawns towards 3pm
That time of day
too early
and too late
to do anything

It was then my eyes melted into something beyond words:

Past the aproned lady
Sat an expression of such sublime divinity
It hijacked my stupid fucking heart

Looking like an entirely new breed of human
There she sat
Nursing a cup of Yorkshire
That belched steam
Into her dimple-dented cheeks

She’s in hugging distance
Visible and reachable
But utterly insatiable

The Haggerston Tearoom
Is a caboose of faded memories
Holographic and tragic

The side of her silken face
Looks like the profile of a kettle
And those dreaded ‘three words’ quickly skip to my lips

My brain grabs the hand of my mind
And off they trot
Arm in arm
Through my the lanes of imagination

She’s now here at my table
We plonk two straws into a gloopy milkshake
All chinless grins
& happy hashtags

Time blurs
Into an evening
With my
newly discovered lover

Crumpling into each other’s laps
We’re wrapped
like burritos
Inside a single dressing gown

Murder docs,
Louis Theroux
and scented candles

Stealing each others hearts
Stealing each others jokes
Steakling each others clothes

CHRIST!

That paralysing jolt
That’s brought me to my knees
So many time before

Love: how do I keep falling for it ?

But then I remember
that I am
alone

In the Haggerston Tearoom

Where painless, gainless love affairs
Are available everyday with
Overly-yolky eggs

And

The sad
Marshmallow waitress
Will greet you at the door
Watch your every chew
And
Probably fall in love with you.