Review: Café 24-hour Loneliness

Café 24-hour Loneliness
Litzine, Renat’s Left Hand, 8 pgs, Art Metropole,, $20

No need to flag down a server — your bill has arrived.

This zine’s six poems come stuffed inside an authentic leather bill holder from a restaurant. They’re typed on thin strips of paper that mimic receipts, and all end with “CUSTOMER COPY.”

Each poem is just a few lines long and most of the text is reproduced conversations between a patron and a server in a café that appears to have nothing but loneliness on the menu. “Are you sure your / loneliness isn’t expired?” asks one poem. “Loneliness doesn’t have / an expiration date,” is the reply.

On presentation and concept, the author scores top marks, but there’s a definite lack of substance on the interior of Café 24-hour Loneliness. The bill/receipt gimmick could have been taken a lot further than it was. Why not an itemized food and drink receipt that tells a story? Or a handwritten note from a server? This feels like a missed opportunity — like Renat’s Left Hand didn’t fully capitalize on the potential of this format.