Sunday, 17 June 2018


died in a corner by the toilet
at the coffee shop where he’d lived
and slept for the last ten years

I read, between tears

he had worked all his life
but at low-paying working class jobs

managed to survive
on a limited government pension

an unexpected expense
left him suddenly scrambling

the restaurant his refuge
as his body battled cancer

Nothing sudden, like a heart attack

never touched drugs
not a big drinker

Nothing brutal, like mugging

kind and easy going

Slumped at his table for hours
folks just drinking their coffee
coming and going

nobody ... noticing
this person’s dying breath

like that photo:

a toddler on the slabs
his endless, shrunken stare
lying between so many ghetto feet

But this is Vancouver
not Warsaw


© Phil Coleman

Death of Canadian man living in 24-hour coffee shop sparks housing outcry

Phil Coleman lives near Swansea and tries to balance work and the need to write. At the age of 50 he's still a complete tyro at everything except juggling words.