Cafes in Conversation

4th May 2019 at Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon

I wrote this in 1999, after moving to Wellington. I was at an open mic night, at an upstairs bar in Cuba Mall that no longer exists, waiting for my turn to play. I had to wait a while – hence a lot of lyrics.

It was my attempt at a beat poet vibe, reflecting my move to the capital city and discovery of a local jazz scene. The chords are 9ths and 7ths, changes determined by the pattern of the lyrics not the other way around. It came out sounding like post-punk minimalism on Live 1999 (in contrast to the actual jazz musicians around, who were far in advance of me technically).

In 2001 Paul Winstanley recorded and Joe Callwood mixed a jazzy trio arrangement for The Marion Flow album

with Dave Edwards – electric guitar & vocal

Paul Winstanley – fretless bass

Chris O’Connor – drums


Well the coconut tree it fall to perfection leaving all of us awake into this splendid castle with a grove metal share. Bury the fortune tellers, hello to the trees. Take out the garbage & add salt.

Cafes in conversation, ambience folly. The coat-tails tied in coffee beans & the bellows in fireplace water & shoes hung out to dry. A crackling a smoke to slow-mounting fortune, the ice to the new is a sprinkling of seeds. The beginning is gone & the going beginning.

Wait collapse in small-mounting fire-tongue, the nothing not new of the past not an echo, moving back wide to refocus identity, a shame & a clank for the down in the dungeon, coffee beans there too, & hitherto canyon that shuffles in back, leaving in focus, consensual guilt.

Hard to tell what illusion defines all her contours when sadness of metal is lost in the canyon to beat tunnel down & refocus the lack of a camera to gleam & escape early warning, oh woe woe I miss all my forests.

Hard to take announcers & put him to bed with sadness a pillow to smother his head. Harder still for saltshaker monuments to praise all the fountains for Spanish guitar-players effusive in company when here sits a wall that evades all questions & company follows or not not at all then.

Too close getting harder, now aware false impressions are blocked off constantly, & marred prostitution a phone call away. Truth-telling harder now this is the end; back again someday. Mumbling back into focus, the light is like glass & the world is its liquid. Solidity wallows & senses are drowning in glass crystal fountains, scotch on the rocks.

A song for his head & this is contemptible with orange marshmallow covers lie down from the ceiling, & roses of chocolate to bury the gloom not the room a full moon; how did you guess?

Forced mysticism & fuzzy perceptions, a mounting of distance, an awareness of warning, speak not at all – & then temperament follows an incense of sky & plant pigmentation, a wariness fall; seasons in households lie late in their bloom. Wakefulness follows a dream dying high.
from The Marion Flow, released August 8, 2001


from Live 1999, released June 01, 2019


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