Indigo Café

by Philip J. Malebranche

Baldwin in the window
King behind the glass
Perennially I feel like
I’m way behind the class.
Beauties talkin’ politics
Wearing cushioned smiles
Chocolate chips and coffee
African masks and Miles.
Nothin’ in my pocket
Homelessness is soon
How can I walk in and
With all of them commune.
Raindrops comin’ on me
I don’t really care
What I want is inside
But I can only stare.
I turn around and walk up
The length of Fulton Street
Hallucinating visions
Of Shebas I get to meet.


This poem dates from February 2003. Indigo Café was a pleasant bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Its disappearance was an injustice to my habit of visiting the place and to the neighborhood it served. I’m pleased to present this poem to record not only that phase of my life, but to commemorate the effort of the owners and backers to provide such an enterprise for those who would cherish it. Others may join me to decry the infiltration of the sky over downtown Brooklyn, and even elsewhere, by towers of questionable use and beauty.