I was sitting
in my favourite café
sipping an iced coke
when this dame


behind me
(in conversation
with some guy) said
and he already


owes me
a thousand pounds
in maintenance
for the kids


(the kids came
into view now
and then
as they played


around the tables
and he wanted them
as much as I


the guy she was with
pumped her questions
about the marriage
(maybe he was a friend


or perhaps
he was hoping
to get his leg over


along the line
of time)
and he seldom visits
she said


and every child
needs a father
but they
rarely see him


and I say to him
you need to see
your children more
(the guy's voice


behind me is soft
and concerning)
children need a father
need that security


he said
I tried not to listen
just sipped my coke
looking at the people


nearby who I could see
but all the while
this dame's voice
opens up and continues


mind you
he never was
much of a lover


the guy said
well not
100% committed
she said


there was always
something else
going on his head
you know what I mean?


she said
the guy said
and I imagined


he nodded his head
(maybe thinking
I'd be a much better
lover than he)


I allowed
a cube of ice
to enter my mouth
cold it rattled


against my teeth
how long is
he going to leave it?
she said


the back payments
are already a thousand
and I have the kids
to feed and clothe


and the mortgage to pay
and Daddy
will only pay so much
she said


the guy fed her
more questions
I didn't quite catch
the words


(quiet speaker
unlike her
who spoke loud)
she laughed


and I sipped
more coke
trying to listen in
on the words


of the joke
jazz was being played
from the in house radio
some Miles Davis


I think
early stuff
I drained the remains
of my coke


and got up
put on my cap
and grabbed my stick
and as I turned


I casually gave
the dame a look
(a kind of fill in
for my picture book)


a blonde
and the guy


in a tee-shirt


and jeans
as I walked off
with my stick
and a head full


of information
I gave them
one last look
back at their table


I couldn't see them
as bed fellow
least not
in my book.

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