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Drinks@the Last Cafe Chapter 1

Gears and clock image for Drinks@the Last Cafe
Some took pictures with damaged
phones buildings flayed alive
collapsing away from the center
a pattern of worn dominoes hit by an angry child
You had to be quick of course, to see the photos
the cities that became place names overnight
a rescued laptop hooked to a generator with a minute
and a half of charge left
one minute on a rogue site
thirty seconds before the corporation shut it down
It’s not true we all died.
She met him right after.
her parents stayed dead in the back of the dank theater
she was too slow when the carts came by
Bring out Your Dead
tired of rat
she dressed in leg warmers and a top hat
picked her way to the Last Cafe in The City
Call me Sam
he huddled over a beer
smoked his last. Alone?
Worried about the Goblins?
It was always so dark in the alley behind the theater
where her mother worked.
how that hard light
penetrated deep between the V
of black vertiginous buildings
the flash of white puncturing the small TV
Children stopped chanting 
Eat Rat
Low Fat
the terror gangs stopped shooting
didn’t want to do the other side any favors  
She knew she couldn’t stay another day
Sam finished his beer. How old?
shit, thought you were 18
they all want me to be 18
we do he agreed.
pointing to the pictures on the plastic menu
order everything
California, he announced to the empty dishes
Sam unfolded a complex origami project
riddled with a spaghetti toss of roads
maps for back when we drove forever  
cars blackened the country
like buffalo –
It will take a few seasons, he cautioned
Swimming Pools, Movie Stars
South is faster, you sure?
she knew about seasons – swimsuit season, flu season
He scooped up a computer, three loaves of hard bread
and the girl: top hat, leg warmers and a pink tutu
Once they cleared the domino buildings
the sun, a basketball orange suspended mid-dribble
on an intractable asphalt sky
motioned them to follow its everyday death  
They encountered travelers
Taking just what they could hold
they escaped the quickest
all unaware a move to the west
was the better opening gambit in a new game
She told Sam stories
filling the silent trudging
towards the flaming sun
how she felt trapped between buildings
daylight squeezed into switch blades of light
the Goblins yelling from shadows
back and forth, trading persimmon for apples
Buy  buy  buy
Don’t be afraid her mother ordered
but don’t taste
hand size strawberries  
head size cantaloupes
Buy buy buy
 – mother lurching on
fantastically high platform boots
swayed from booth to booth
an uncertain tulip  
the stalk too weak to support the head
Buy buy buy  
stall screens looped colorful stories
tiny children held
gigantic strawberries – grapes – bananas
it’s all good, grinned the Goblins  
Organic. Natural. Certified.  
No, no we will find the cans.
mother dragged the girl from the fruit  
we’ll find our meal already chopped
into swallow size chunks
they pushed the cans home
in broke wheel carts  
staggering over the streets  
now the metal carts are filled with bodies  
Bring out Your Dead.
did they eat the fruit, the dead?
by the time she knew, it didn’t matter
the Goblin market had disappeared
Blast Away Fat
mother read articles as stories
her arms were held together  
by knobs of bone
the camera adds ten pounds;
she tapped at the cover of Glamour
the girl wondered if mother would look better
if  a camera rose between them
Burnt out days.  Sam muttered
give it enough time  
and the poets are always right.
This is one of eight chapters of Drinks @ the Last Cafe.
You can get a complimentary copy of the entire poem by leaving a helpful review for my new book, Deep Trouble
Notify me when you’ve posted the review – cbramkamp (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the ebook version along with my sincere thanks.
Thank you!


Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011. Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

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