Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 207

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

There was a lizard in the office. It had a fat gut and a long tail. I saw it in the lobby, then it ran to the break room. I tried to chase it. I wanted to take it outside. In the end, my coworker caught the lizard. She told me she had a lot of them at her house so she was a pro. She took a tray for utensils and tipped it over. She caught it, then held him in with a stack of paper plates. I was disappointed. I’d wanted to catch the lizard myself.

I found a frog on the footpath outside my apartment. She was scrunched up like a vanilla wafer and staying still. She saw me. I knelt down. I was worried someone might step on her, but I was also worried I’d give her a different death if I got her too scared. Her back was different colors, browns and golds. She was autumn come up from the river, wheat fields. In the end, I left the frog but snapped her picture. I walked away. I hope she’s okay.

Due to climate change, the earth is rapidly losing its amphibians. Jury’s still out on reptiles. I remember my mother talking about how much she’d be missing all the polar bears, or the rhinos, but never heard her talk about the frogs. That said, I’m sure she’ll miss them too. I think sometimes about the world I’m making. I’m a little conscious, but not so much that I won’t absently suck on a plastic straw.

Last weekend, I wast at a friend’s house. As long as I’ve known her, she’s kept away from paper towels. When dinner was done and there were dishes for washing, we scrubbed them down with a wet rag. With breakfast, I wiped my lips with a cloth napkin. It was strange at first, not being able to throw anything away. Then it felt natural. Like this is how it’s always been, like my hands are maybe made for saving, no more disposable soul.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

That is the way it is done, the way it has always been done. Frogs have every right to expect it will always be done that way.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 206

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A few years ago, on a night like this, I was outside a small bar in Greensboro. There was a game of darts going. Three people were outside with us, fall had come on early, we were freezing. A friend lit a cigarette. We passed it around. More than anything, it was warm.

Autumn in the American South is a time for burning. Drive a few miles to the country and you’ll smell smoke and see lit leaves. It’s the one time of the year you can’t help but be reminded that you live in a lush place – so many leaves fall, they try to bury you, and the only answer is to throw a little fire on the foliage to clear the ground.

At work, some folks were talking about burgers. They were lavishing the smell of burnt meat. A Shake Shack opened up recently and it’s been booming. Long lines, people can’t keep away from it. If you stand at the right window and stretch a bit, you can see the shop from our office. It’s a summery sort of place, pinned in a parking lot, puffing out cooked goodies like you’d see at a fair. Now that it’s getting cold, I wonder how they’ll do? Not good weather for the line to snake outside. And no-one wants to be reminded of summer when it’s dead and gone.

I flicked a lighter tonight just to see it. Something to stand by, wet hot and wild, enough to get you through another season.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 205

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I was in a taco shop watching the waiters with one eye and a bit of football with the other. Sun-bleached, day-dazed. I’d done my time at the office. I’d spent half an hour shopping for coconut milk and oatmeal soap. I didn’t have it in me to focus on just one thing.

A brunette said there’d been a water leak at opening. She was talking to the manager, who I’ve met before. The laughed about it, walked off, problem solved, all dry now, but the image stuck with me. I saw the shop in six inches. The tables were slopped up and the chairs were floating. Tortilla tugboats ran laps in the open waters. There were cliff jumpers diving off the salsa bar.

When the food came, I had to steady myself to keep from slipping. Sometimes, the pictures in your mind are more real than the dry ground under you.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

Sometimes, from beyond the skycrapers, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.

Albert Camus

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 204

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; back at the office; came in late this morning, someone else set the brew; if you want to get the taste, soak a napkin in the bottom of a housplant’s jar, add two drops of lighter fluid, and let dry – when you take a bite, it should be on the money

I washed most of my clothes after coming back from Atlanta. I’d worn half of them in the city, or so it felt like. It was hot. We were walking around. Every time we went back to her apartment I had to change. I liked it when I got up early and it was cool enough to wear black jeans.

It’s late. I don’t have much to say today. I’ve been leaving the lights off when I get home. Curtains open, I let the sun wind me down. I spent an hour in the dark. I had on some music. I had some blank pages. I had half-written notes in my phone. There were cat pictures. There was a text I was trying to send. I didn’t send it, sent another. I wrote three paragraphs. I erased them, wrote them again. Now they’re better. I’m wearing an undershirt, two socks, and swimshorts I cut the lining out of. My hands smell like clementines.

Easing back into your life, you lose a bit of dignity. You don’t have the motivation to keep changing clothes.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted or enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 203

Hi.

Coffee: Small Black Coffee, McDonald’s; bought the cup at noon which wasn’t soon enough to pick my eyes up off the acid-wash road I’d been driving; at least the drive was a little easier after; I was so in need of the pick-me-up that I hardly tasted the coffee; really, I was just drinking a thin white cup and plastic lid

The last thing the city said to me was “Take a Right on Peachtree and keep going.” That’s how I left Atlanta.

I missed my post yesterday. The fourth time since starting, each time feels a little less bad. Is that a good thing? The Coffee Log came about in 2018 during a cold, disrupted February. The regularity of having every day work its way toward a keyboard helped me. But yesterday I was traveling and too filled up to put my thoughts down.

Atlanta looked like love to me. That’s to say it’s complicated. The streets were busy. Guys smoked the skyline on ashy tenth-floor balconies. My friend and tour-guide took me around town for a drive to different districts. It seemed like every corner had its murals in different colors. You danced between moods and misfortunes. Walk long enough by blossoming houses that can’t afford to root the ivy off their walls and you’ll get to a three-floored mansion, built on the backs of grandfathers, ready to take advantage of your budding affair.

But damn, it was all so beautiful.

Having taken a wrong turn past a bookstore, we routed a middling neighborhood holding up a canopy of century-old trees. In a patch of bare grass was a circle of tall red flowers. Then, a block later, I watched a woman pull a torn blue shirt onto a luckless man waiting out the hot day on crippled church steps. A different kind of love.

All of us are responsible to the ones we give our hearts to. Sometimes that can mean breathing a bit of space between you, and other times its to tape your fingers together and lift each other up. But it’s easiest to abuse what’s closest to you, your blood, partner, community, kin – it takes just a little bit of desire to put a hefty pricetag on what once was affordable housing, to – in deep rapture – take them for all they’re worth.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city ?
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?”
What will you answer? “We all dwell together
To make money from each other”? or “This is a community”?
Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger.
Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.

T.S. Eliot, The Rock

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 202

Hi.

Coffee:  Publix Cafe Espresso; a rooster cup poured up to the top, six scoops in the percolator, strong like stink beetles, the way they crawl up walls and perplex cats; it was good, but I could only finish half of it

A few blocks from Music Midtown in Atlanta and fireworks go off – the kind you aren’t expecting, that are just as much someone shouting over the intercom in a grocery store as a celebration. It woke me up. Not literally, but all of a sudden we were outside.

I spent the day walking around downtown Atlanta. Never quite in it, just on the edges, so I couldn’t tell you what the city center looks like. Where I was was breezy. Old and new buildings sitting next to each other, poker players. We ate at a seafood restaurant but didn’t eat any seafood. There was a guy selling water from a water cooler but he had to drag it around because it had lost its wheels. Those sorts of things.

It’s late now. Somewhere near hear there’s some music playing, but I can’t hear it because my ears are still full of fireworks.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

But I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture.

Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From: New and Selected Stories

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 202

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Sitting at home on a gray day on my lunch break writing a Coffee Log early because I’ll be driving this evening. Weather calls for thunderstorms. Open highways, greased lightning.

Last night was spent packing. I’ll be living the weekend away. I haven’t gone too far lately, this will be the farthest. I like long drives. Here’s one I remember:

Ten years ago, headed back from the beach with a full car. We’d gone to a concert, Bomb the Music Industry! It was a good concert and let out at midnight but none of use felt like staying in New Bern (or had the money to). E was driving. He took us home through the early morning. We listened to more music, but softer because all our ears were blown. Just past Raleigh, I fell asleep. There were guys to either side of me. Warmer than a blanket, people I still know.

I’m not taking today’s trip alone. A different E’s coming with me, though we part ways when we get there. Sometimes it’s nice to take stock of what you’ve got, the people who won’t lose you, no matter what kinds of storm winds blow.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

God have pity on the smell of gasoline
which finds its way like an arm
through a car window,
more human than kerosene,
more unctuous, more manly.

S. Jane Sloat, In the Voice of a Minor Saint