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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 3, September 2016
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Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


The Coffee Shop

debating
where to drink coffee . . .
such
an important decision . . .
I settle for Tosolinis

How long have I been coming here? When did Saigon fall? It must have been a year or two later that I first came to the Corner Coffee Shop. Was it in 1977 that we hosted that refugee family? They arrived destitute. We took them to social security, emergency housing, Vinnies. They had no English, we had no Vietnamese. I think we tried to communicate in rudimentary French.

The coffee shop was Vietnamese so we went in to get help with translation. Mr Tran the owner had been the South Viet ambassador. He stayed in Canberra when Saigon fell. His family ran the tiny, intimate café. You came in and sat next to strangers and conversed.

I started going in for lunch when I worked in town. Gradually it became our family meeting place. We would say “Meet you in Civic after work (or school)!” and it was assumed that this was the place.

gently sipping
the flower in the froth
of my flat white . . .
that slightly bitter
aftertaste of love

There were several changes of ownership. I remember a French woman, and then two Australians. Was there someone else before the Tosolini brothers bought it? And gradually it grew larger, took over the next door shop, then the next. Now I don’t even remember what those shops were like.

under
the plane tree
a few drops of rain
on the white page
a few drops of poetry

I still come here though the "kids" are long gone and I no longer work in town. Not so often nowadays. Sitting outside I feel at home, included.

watching
this winter afternoon
decline . . .
sunlight gleams softly
on city towers

Just today, passing by, I notice that the blinds are drawn, and there are no tables outside.

dusk creeps
over the interchange . . .
stray leaves drift
past stray people
waiting for the bus home

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end

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