I shift in my seat and turn the page of a menu, trying
in vain to make up my mind, while simultaneously
attempting to listen to my dinner companion over the
gentle hum of conversation floating around the room.
The phone in my pocket vibrates to announce the
arrival of a text message sent by someone for whom
a direct verbal exchange was inopportune, doubtless
containing abbreviations and symbols for facial gestures.
An image comes to mind of monks in heavy robes
copying the great works of mankind into the air,
using inkless quills whose movements scatter dust
particles visible in the pools of light around their candles.
Truth be told, this would preserve these links with the past
in a medium only slightly less durable than electrons on a
hard drive, or ink on paper in the books some still place
strategically to subtly convey various interests to others.
We are meeting at a Turkish restaurant that took over
the location of an old Steak & Ale, with the antiqued
pictures of Wild West scenes replaced by etchings of
Ataturk in various settings of patriotic significance.
In one version he sits on horseback near a line of canon
wielding a saber over his head, presumably calling
down fire on our fellow English speakers at Gallipoli,
or perhaps he is just defending us from food poison.
Inexplicably I am sure I hear a version of Miles Davis’
“Bitches Brew” playing, while my cohort tells me of a
“truly epic” idea as revolutionary as spinning hubcaps,
or inflight air sick bags, or even pre-made slip covers.
Outside the leaves have turned from blazing tones of
scarlet and orange to lifeless brown, their brittle stems
releasing from branches to flutter down and collect in
piles where they lay indistinguishable and forgotten.
-- by Steve McKennon, 15 November 2014