Thursday 20 November 2014

New poem: Tomato

They’ve opened up a new cafe round our way

so I thought I’d give it a try. You go up to the

counter to choose and the menu is high up

on the wall. I saw ‘Homemade Tomato’.

I said, ‘I’ll have the Homemade Tomato, please.’

‘Anything else?’ the man said.

‘I’ll have a cup of tea with that, please.’

‘Usual?’ he said.

‘I haven’t been in this cafe before,’ I said.

‘I know you haven’t,’ he said, ‘I meant do you

want the tea you usually drink.’

‘Yes please,’ I said.

‘And what kind of tea is that?’ he said, ‘I don’t

know what kind of tea that is.’

‘That’s what I thought,’ I said, ‘I’ll have English


‘I’ve got a breakfast tea here,’ he said, ‘but it

doesn’t say that it’s English.’

‘ I’m not bothered about the English,’ I said.

‘Oh aren’t you?’ he said, ‘It’s all got a bit political,

hasn’t it?’

‘I tell you what, I said, can I have a coffee? Black


He winked. I winked back. I wasn’t sure why I

winked. It felt like the right thing to do at the time.

I sat down.

A few minutes later he came to my table. He had

the coffee and a plate with a tomato on it. He

turned and went back to behind the counter. I

drank some coffee and started on the tomato. He

hadn’t brought a knife and fork, so I reckoned that

the best way to eat it was like you eat an apple.

Pick it up and bite into it. I took pretty small bites

because I’d been caught out like that before. You

take a big bite into a tomato and you end up with

tomato all over yourself. To tell the truth I’m not

mad keen on tomato by itself. I really like it with

bread. Or cut in half and grilled with toast. Or

chopped up with cucumber and Greek parsley

and a bit olive oil and lemon juice. He didn’t

have that on the menu.