The Poet's Bowler

The poet wears baggy pants, a beard, and a damn bowler hat to the coffee shop. He carries a canvas bag stained grey with graphite. I bet he bought it like that or hired out to have it weathered. He sits beside me and draws from the bag an expensive notebook. Leather bound. Opens to pages of poetry written in large scrawl, letters two and three lines high. The poet ignores margins. I watch him write four lines. Gibberish or genius. Could go either way. He moves to sit on the floor next to a woman in an easy chair. She seems not at all bothered by his poetness. Or his bowler hat. I drink coffee, taking care not to spill on my button-down shirt, khaki slacks. So unpoetic. The poet talks to the woman about the color auburn and her painting. He has left his expensive notebook on the table next to me but taken the bowler. Were it the other way around, Iā€™d try that hat instead of his notebook on my head. I stare at my reflection in the window, the pages of that leather journal cutting tiny slices from my ears.