Monday, January 25, 2010

The Ineffable

Good one today, from The Writer's Almanac:

I'm sitting here reading the paper,
feeling warm and satisfied, basically content
with my life and all I have achieved.
Then I go up for a refill and suddenly realize
how much happier I could be with the barista.
Late thirties, hennaed hair, an ahnk
or something tattooed on her ankle,
a little silver ring in her nostril.
There's some mystery surrounding why she's here,
pouring coffee and toasting bagels at her age.
But there's a lot of torsion when she walks,
which is interesting. I can sense right away
how it would all work out between us.

We'd get a loft in the artsy part of town,
and I can see how we'd look shopping together
at our favorite organic market
on a snowy winter Saturday,
snowflakes in our hair,
our arms full of leeks and shiitake mushrooms.
We would do tai chi in the park.
She'd be one of the few people
who actually "gets" my poetry
which I'd read to her in bed.
And I can see us making love, by candlelight,
Struggling to find words for the ineffable.
We never dreamed it could be like this.

And it would all be great, for many months,
until one day, unable to help myself,
I'd say something about that nostril ring.
Like, do you really need to wear that tonight
at Sarah and Mike's house, Sarah and Mike being
pediatricians who intimidate me slightly
with their patrician cool, and serious money.
And she would give me a look,
a certain lifting of the eyebrows
I can see she's capable of, and right there
that would be the end of the ineffable.

-- George Bilgere


honeybee said...


Thanks for posting this!

mrsdarwin said...

I have had this train of thought several times in the course of my life (though never about a barista) and I think it's saved me in advance from many a bad relationship.

Melanie B said...

I'm forwarding this to my sister, the barista.

BettyDuffy said...

Perfectly captures the twenty second affair with a stranger.

BettyDuffy said...

P.S. Thanks for quoting me. :)

Maclin said...

"lol" is not a very sophisticated response to a poem but that's pretty much my reaction. How the world defeats us!

Enbrethiliel said...


You're right, Pentimento. It is good.

I don't identify with the speaker, though, but with the barista.

Karen E. said...

I love George Bilgere. This is delightful. He has another one I love called Once Again I Fail to Read an Important Novel.

Did you see that J.D. Salinger died yesterday? I was going to email you, but can't find an email ... anyway, I thought of Franny and Zooey today. :)

Melanie B said...


That's delightful too. Perfectly fits my mood today.

Pentimento said...

Oh no. No, I did not know that J.D. Salinger had died. That is very sad news.

Thank you for sharing the other George Bilgere poem. It's quite beautiful.