{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Quincy R. Lehr

is the author of Across the Grid of Streets, 2008. His second collection, Obscure Classics of English Progressive Rock, is due out soon.

He is the associate editor of The Raintown Review, and, with Wendy Sloan and Eric Norris, hosts the Carmine Street Metrics reading series in New York City.

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Halfway Through a Latte

I’m halfway through a latte, and I wonder
       when I’ll feel awake,
the slightly nauseous pick-me-up,
      a muscle’s fleeting quake
at nothing. Nothing for it. Not at all.
      The kick, as yet, is slight
and hasn’t bashed the blurriness
      from the edge of sight.

Blame the markets. Blame the plutocrats.
      (That sound anachronistic?)
Blame the “state of world affairs.”
      No, let’s be realistic.
The bills are paid; I barely read the paper
      while sipping at the foam
that lightly frosts the paper cup.
      I should head on home

and drop the righteous act and just admit
      that I can’t stop thinking
of you, despite the headlines’ cries
      and endless coffee-drinking.
Or maybe it’s your absence that creates
      these wan and sickly days,
those washed-out dreams, these aching joints,
      that dull, unfocused gaze

that only takes in shapes and blurs of color
      moving toward the door.
I try to blink away the haze.
      No luck. It’s something more
than mere fatigue, or the sudden throb
      of the caffeine’s swell.
Get up. Go home. I’ll go away.
      I hope this finds you well.