the artist and the sea // cliff hanger

‘grilled artichoke starter,
sardines,
skinny latte’

more orders, no how are yous

that cafe which overlooks the ocean
where crashing punctuates the lulls

he spends knife polishing.
and wishing

his boss swags,
‘time to lean, is time to clean’

the chef snarls,
‘service please’

whilst tar stained, thick knit
frayed cuffed, burley handed
fishermen –
turn to stone
and sink in bottles of poison

slowly.

The tourists click,
‘is this latte skinny’?’

his
lean, petal-soft
gouache stained hands
place cups or plates beneath their noses

another day
another week
another belt notch

he ponders
‘cheese or paints?’
‘paints or cheese’

until the end of days

he escapes
in a room come studio
all but a small square of floor
fill with by stacks of canvases
scatterings of paint tubes
and stiffened brushes

not a crumb of cheese

each canvas shows
a cherished encounter by the sea

minus its breeze

but Today he walks.
at least to him,
a step towards his
god size minty pea soup
of an ocean

nearing the door

he hears a snarl,

‘service please’

but perhaps

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