Coffee Cafe Customers:  The Hippie

I spend many late afternoons at a local bookstore cafe, watching the customers study, relax, and relate.  I am often reminded of other writers—Hemingway and Fitzgerald—who frequented the cafes of Paris and gained inspiration from their clientele.  In my own humble way, I hope my poems capture the American flavor of this phenomenon.  All walks of life are depicted here.

He stands erect
with a white wizard beard
and long snowy hair
neatly pulled back in a band.
He is wearing a crisp linen shirt
and creased khaki pants
and burnished cowboy boots.
He looks like a leather-bound
collector’s edition
of Rip Van Winkle
I can imagine him sitting
With a granddaughter on his knee
Regaling her with stories
Of elves and fairies

Is he an elegant hippie?
What’s with the ironed shirt?
And the shiny boots?
So much care given to the accoutrements
Yet the long hair
Links him to Woodstock

Has he been sleeping
For one hundred years
And rudely awakened
To find himself in the age
Of trimmed goatees
And neon athletic shoes?

What would such a mind
Wonder at this environment?
Snow-capped pine trees
Denuded into sculpted shrubberies
Wild into tame
Is that why his hair
Is so neatly combed
And restrained by the band
And his shirt so pressed
Concessions made to conform
To this day and age?

But secretly at night
His young, limber-limbed lover
Combs his locks
And covers her breasts
With the snow-white hair
Of his vibrant, virile beard

—Carla Joy Martin

Carla Martin

I was born in New York City and grew up in St. Andrews, Scotland and Pasadena, California.  I have lived in Bakersfield for thirty years now, having raised my two sons here.  I have taught piano, art and English.  In these “Golden Years” of life, I am a substitute teacher and aspiring poet and children’s book author.


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