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Archive for the tag “Starbucks”

Debts to Pay

nano shiny quarter


(right this minute)

He was so sure he would have the chance to repay them all one day.  Maybe not in the way they deserved to be repaid.  Fully, completely.  With the understanding that all his debts were cancelled, and that everyone involved could now go on with their lives.  But at least in a way that showed them that, after all they had done for him, they would know at least he tried.

But that never happened.

Like with all things in life, repaying a debt is easy to have get away from a person, unless the person owed the debt can get it from you in writing first.  This wasn’t a debt like that.  This debt was completely one way… the way of the debtor.  This debt was never spoken of by those who held the note.  A debt never brought to mind by word or insinuation, and never discussed amongst those to whom the debt was owed.  Because this debt could never be repaid.  The sole and only one for whom the subject of this debt was an issue, was the man whose entire existence was dominated by it.

He owed them his life, but they were gone.  And while that meant that the debt owed was cancelled, the debtor could now never be released from this, his self-imposed obligation.  Or, to quote the man who, for better or worse, raised him to be this way,

“You’re fucked, son.”

(twenty-four minutes before that)

He stood in line at his neighborhood Starbucks, 14 minutes and 37 seconds since his last and only quarter dropped through the coin slot, on the meter that stood watch over his car, on the other side of the glass, which separated his morning coffee from his morning parking ticket.  The line hadn’t seemed that long when he got out of his car, and began rooting through his pockets for change.

Now he wondered just how much time it could possibly take for just three people to order what must be offices-full of five-dollar coffee drinks, when he only needed beans and water in a cup.

Just as the words, “Next in line” were spoken to him, he took one more peek through the window, and saw the white golf cart with the flashing yellow light on its roof pass behind the curb row of parked cars.  The curb row where his own car sat, defenseless, guarded by a now empty meter, that flashed “00:00” in red, for the meter-reading ticket-writer, hopping out of the white golf cart with the gold shield of authority on its doors.

It was the perfect convergence of all irony.  A cup of black coffee in the hand of a man out of time, and options.  A black ticket book in the hand of a five-foot woman in trooper boots.

And a bright angel out of nowhere, with one shiny quarter in her outstretched hand.

(to be continued)

© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

Today Was A Day


Today was a day

The sun rose before I opened my eyes to its light

Fat were the clouds come in before dark

colder than the air conditioning at Starbucks


Today was a day

I learned the truth about the emptiness of the night

Full was her mouth with come in the dark

older from this youthful indiscretion


Today was a day

When football takes the place of church and feels more right

Empty was their comfort come after dark

and guilt in the past pleasure of the two


Today was a day

As every other lapsed memory lost without fight

Thin my acceptance of life come against the dark

where acceptance is the last


© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

If You Were My Mommy

angry mom


If you were my mommy

I would have punched you in the face

before the age of eight

No parent should sound like that

while talking about someone

who came from their womb

Not to strangers

not to friends

not to cops

And not out loud

on goddamned speakerphone

at fucking Starbucks


© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

Under the Bougainvillea… at Starbucks

bougainvillea 2


You meet the nicest homeless people at this Starbucks

So polite

Women carrying purses

Actually smiling when you give up your place in line for them

Better dressed than I am for work

Maybe this is their office

Taking meetings with the birds under the bougainvillea


© Copyright 2014 Bill Friday




It’s not the first time

this has happened between us


You’re busy, and the whole world

revolves around you


Oh, and you’re right

Ask anyone


Ask yourself

Now ask me


You can’t see past

your self-satisfied nose



I’ve been here the whole time

Bleeding on my keys

Undercover poet of The Village


Pour me another cup

You useless fuck


I’m going to make a

living off your muse


Is this the way

you’ve always been


Or is it the power

you’ve been given


To ride a skateboard to work

and earn tips for a living


One day they’ll know about you




©2013-2014 Bill Friday




(A reflexive, in middle-voice.  Whatever that is.)


What is my fucking problem?

A need to leave myself alone?  To explore the loss of sanity in the name of productivity, while prepping for the looming zombie apocalypse, and retreat from existing in public places that play 70’s synth pop from overhead speakers until my brain feels like George Romero’s grand children’s Play-Doh?

I need a hovel.  A place to go.  A place to stay.  A cramped enclosure fit for sleeping and writing, and possibly fucking.  I’m not really sure about that last one.  A place about half the size of your average drive-through Starbucks.  A box to call my own.  A box with a toilet and a shower, and a kitchen too small for Barbie to use, as if Barbie could fucking cook.  A box with a bed against one wall, and a desk with a chair against another.  A box ten steps from end to end, so there’s no temptation to fill the space with up-cycled dumpster chic shit.  A place to drink coffee and hang my art while I hang my head.

A place that only exists in my writer’s mind.  Because, if it did, what excuse would I create to keep from being there?


© Copyright 2014 Bill Friday

Disco Remix

Under the Boardwalk - Tom Tom Club

Under the Boardwalk – Tom Tom Club 1982






fuck this

disco remix

of Under the Boardwalk

like Studio fucking 54


with coffee


there are some days

when the words

flow like butter

over popcorn








Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

Come Flooding Back

photo credit "We Were Strangers" c 2012 Redboy

photo credit “We Were Strangers” c 2012 Redboy

My hands smell

like dispensered soap

from the bathroom

inside Starbucks



like the hospital room

where my son died

all those years ago.




Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

Lucky Seat

"Lucky Seat"  Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

“Lucky Seat”
Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday


I thought about moving from this seat

and from the glare of the afternoon sun

as it closed my eyes in a squint

against my reflection

in the laptop screen


I thought about moving from this seat

and from the sting of the setting sun

as it burned itself three layers deep

into the skin

of my red right arm


I thought about moving from this seat

and from the warmth of all good things

that had not felt this right

for so long

to have its way with me


But I have written six poems in this seat

over the last two days

and I will be damned

if I’m going to do anything

to fuck this up today.



Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

Vanilla Monitor

ukrainian hooker

So, this Ukrainian hooker walks into my Starbucks… well, not my Starbucks… I’m not Magic Johnson.  The Starbucks I started calling my office because, anymore, I have no willingness or ability to write at home.  Saturday night was pretty quiet.  I’m sitting in one of the fart and latte colored leather wingback chairs in the corner, drinking my coffee, and deciding between writing something deep and brooding… or just saying “fuck you” to the night and wasting an hour on Facebook till the barista who always tries to charge me full pop for refills kicks me out at 10.

And then, it happened.

She walks into my Starbucks.

Five-five in six-inch heels… black fishnets with a miniskirt, and some kind of faux fur jacket of indeterminate species… white-blond hair, and even whiter skin.  Looking just like that Ukrainian girl on the late-night TV commercial for that pay-for-play, video chat service.

Don’t judge me.

Only this one wasn’t looking all “come fuck me, Ah-mey-ree-can Man” like the blond in the commercial.  This one was looking like she had a dirty little secret, and no one to share it with.  Sitting on the back of the wooden chair closest to the milk and napkins and powdered condiments, she spent a good two minutes pretending to read the newsstand apartment guide that she held upside-down in one hand.  Another minute went by with the Ukrainian hooker looking in every direction but mine.  I swore she had to be casing the joint.

And it happens.

Like a pro… well, a professional at something… she strikes.  In a single motion, she’s reaching out her free hand, while her unread newsstand apartment guide opens wide in the other.  Just like the “breaching sharks” they show every year on Shark Week.  She strikes, and just like that, it’s gone.  The lone, unguarded shaker of vanilla, ripped from the condiment stand full of other, more popular options.  Gone!

And in four, maybe five strides, the Ukrainian hooker is lost in the night.

“Did you see what the fuck just happened?!!”

Denise, the other barista, was shouting at me and at no one, all at the same time.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“That fucking hooker just stole my vanilla!”

© 2013 Bill Friday

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