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Syndic Literary Journal

Man in the Cafe

Written by Tomasz Marek Sobieraj

Translated from the Polish by Erik La Prade

Narrated by Bill Wolak


Behind the window of a café

at Rue d’Alger:

a round table,

a white tablecloth,

a few tulips in a vase.


He sits,

reads poems

of a young Rimbaud.

The coffee gets cold in the cup.

The waitress (just look at her legs!)



replaces the ashtray.


He is almost completely grey,

but the skin on his face is quite smooth.

And his eyes so shiny.

He lights another cigarette,

takes a sip of coffee,

writes something

on a little piece

of creamy paper.



for a while, he talks with a lady

at the next table;

they seem to have known each other for ages,

like old trees

by the Seine.


They leave together,

buy newspapers

and pistachios.

On the way to the river

they disappear

behind a corner of Rivoli.

Tomasz Marek Sobieraj is a Polish writer and photographer. He received M.A. degree in hydrology from University of Lodz and statistics-informatics from the University of Lisbon. His poetry has been translated into English, Russian, Spanish, Danish, Kurdish, Italian, Korean and Ukrainian and published in international magazines. Sobieraj’s photographs have been exhibited widely in Poland and abroad. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Krytyka Literacka, a literary and arts magazine.
Erik La Prade is an American freelance journalist, poet, photographer, and non-fiction writer. He was born in New York City and received his in English in 1978 and M.A. degree in Comparative Literature in 1990 from City College of New York. His poems, articles and interviews have appeared in The Siense Shredder, The New York Times, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail and many others magazines.
















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