I’ve been playing a lot of chess recently, so it’s nice to have my chess-themed poem ‘Alekhine’s Defence’ published on The High Window. It’s a little paean to the time I spent being taught by the rudiments of chess in a coffee-shop on The Hill in Boulder, Colorado, so many years ago.
Weak coffee laced with vanilla.
I headed to the cafe most days,
to find a table on the mezzanine.
If travel was a series of interiors,
I liked to occupy a corner
amongst the commune dropouts
and wasters from the pool hall,
who were too young to buy beer.
The smell of patchouli and balm
filled that space, the sweet
occasional stench of kind buds.
This hippie town had grown up
into a boomer paradise
of coffeeshops and low taxes
and the sharp reality of America,
began percolating inside of me
like the Camel cigarettes,
bought from a kiosk on The Hill,
which singed my asthmatic chest
with their filterless burn.
Read more on The High Window.