In the Café at Victoria Hospital

in-the-hospital-cafe

Here, where the dark night meets the grey-gold stacks of dawn
That fill the tired sky like bakers’ trays, insomniacs are drawn
In dressing gowns and uniforms and knee-length white coats freshly starched,
To sit at tables made of plastic looking out across car parks
As empty as their souls. Where each attempt to start a conversation
Is interrupted by the percolator, breaking concentration
By spitting water on the counter. So they sit in threadbare dreams,
With ‘might have beens’ and ‘long agos’ caught up in all the folded seams
Of life anaesthetised, in fear of futures lost in the unknown.
This is, perhaps, the most remote and lonely café I have known.

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8 responses to “In the Café at Victoria Hospital

  • Cubby

    Lately, your poems have been on the darker side. Is the heat starting to bother you?

    • Brian Hughes

      My egg and spoon poem wasn’t dark. Not unless you have a fear of eggs. (I’ll have to look that one up.) I’ll post something a bit lighter later on.

      • Cubby

        Not at all. Post whatever you feel like. I was just wondering if we’d have to send someone over there with a spatula to scrape you off the floor.

      • Brian Hughes

        “You see…I’m a complicated person, Percy.” (Last time I used that phrase, I incorrectly ended it with Baldric. I actually saw the episode it was from the other night, so now I know better. Ignore me, I’m rambling. I’ll get my hat.)

  • tina5458

    Okay I truly love this poem! I know a place where souls like this used to go…but it closed!

  • suzywordmuser

    Oh – really quite excellent this one! This is your novel writing again Brian! Exactly the feeling in a hospital café – remote and lonely indeed! If only we could hear the thoughts of the minds in there – but then again, maybe not – would probably have us running out of there as fast as possible!

    Hospitals are strange places, it’s like a gateway to life and death – people are born, and they die, all at the same time in the same place!

    • Brian Hughes

      I’m always surprised that they’re aren’t more ghost stories attached to hospitals. They’re the sorts of places that should be loaded with them. I like buildings where stories begin and end, though – like train stations and hospitals and court rooms. Only to pass through, mind. They’re not much fun if you have to stay for any period of time. Unless you’re an extremely well paid surgeon.

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