READING A BOOK IN A COFFEE HOUSE
I wonder if you kids will ever understand
words written over a hundred years ago.
You’re face to face on Skype.
Your fingers are texting much faster
than their lips can sip
Would it ever occur to you
that there’s something in this book I’m reading
more relevant than your on-line chatter,
the grins of Facebook friends.
You no doubt reckon even 2010
is the deep dark past,
that the nineteenth century
is just something scribbled
on a classroom blackboard.
One of you is sending an instant photograph.
Another is streaming
the latest pop sensation.
Irony, revelation, artistry, genius even…
how will they ever gain a foothold?
Meanwhile, I’m bent over a novel,
more in its pages than
the crowd around me.
You may occasional look up
from instant messaging,
see me sitting alone.
But I am not alone.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One, and Columbia Review, with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Examined Life Journal and Midwest Quarterly.