Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 112


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand; I’ve had this batch of beans for a couple months; I’ve been drinking other stuff; this morning seemed like a nostalgic time, so I ground a batch to try again; it tasted more sour than I remember; nothing’s quite like your memories

I scared a small bird two times today. That’s a thing I’m good at – scaring small birds. I’ll describe it to you: first time, I open the sliding door in the morning to go out on the porch. Meanwhile, the bird’s been building its nest in the third floor overhang, so it hears me when the door opens. It stops building to flap all over the place, drops off the balcony, and hides on a nearby pine tree. The nest looks messy from all the commotion. Of course, there’s nothing I can do about that.

Second time is after I’ve been out there a while. I was reading. I was letting myself get sun. If all you do is sit inside all day, you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything. So instead, I sometimes sit outside all day, and this works wonders. Anyway, it was getting to be lunchtime and I’m hungry. I got up, stretched, walked over to the railing. I didn’t know it, but I was right below the house finch, who completely lost it. The bird flapped so hard I felt the pressure, it twitted and twaddled, then escaped the porch and went hiding in that same pine tree. A little later, some ravens came by and chased it away.

The point of all this is simple: if you’re a house finch, you’re going to build your nest near houses; that’s just what you do. And if you’re a 29 year old man with too much free time, chances are you’ll scare something, whether you’re meaning to or not.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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A lost bird appeared in the court and was half an hour jumping around between the spikenard. It sang a progressive note, rising an octave at a time, until it became so acute that it was necessary to imagine it.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, In Evil Hour

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 8


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I was walking past this bird in a bush on the way to my car this morning. The bird was going haywire. When I went by, it stopped. It was cold outside. It’s still raining. That bird had a secret – it had to thrash around for something, something important – but it didn’t want to tell me.

The day was buzz-buzz busy at the office. Cars went by. No-one kept dry. They tracked red mud back and forth in the bank lobby. They tracked it through my office. People having problems making ends meet, too busy for the mud on their shoes. I was on the phone. I was making calls. I was clicking waltzes and salsas on the keyboard. Rich and stressful. Then comes the client and I freeze. Smiles. I know something they don’t – a lot of somethings. Half the time, they don’t want me to tell them.

A week of birds. Bird week. Everything has wings. It can pick up and fly away. I’m waiting on a letter from the other side of the world. I’m waiting on good ideas, better sentences. I’m waiting on September because everyone is always waiting on September. I’m waiting for the weekend.

Oh, that last one’s actually here.

Novel Count: 27,617

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGNFrom the land of red clay, and lottery worship

From the land of red clay, and lottery worship

Spillage Village, ‘Metropolis’

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 7


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

A coworker told me a story about this bird that dropped on her apartment patio in Ukraine. She was in the peace corps. They sent her to Ukraine.

The way she describes it, the bird was a black swallow that got caught in the apartment’s netting. She didn’t know what to do with it. The bird was thrashing around. So she puts on rubber gloves and rain boots and pulls her hair into a hoodie. All bundled up. Years ago, her older brother would tell her to pull her hood up at night or bats would be attracted to her hair. She gets the bird undone and it flies away.

The image of her dressed to the nines in bird-survival gear really stuck to me. I’ve been laughing about it the whole way home.

Sometimes I think about the stranger things that make people afraid. I have an irrational fear of mosquito eaters. They’re long legs and drifty ways of flying. Put one in the same room with me and I’m side-eyeing it. Still, if one gets trapped in the apartment, I muster up and take it out.

I wonder what happened to that Ukrainian swallow? Did it live a good life? Did it raise a family? Are it’s great-great-great grandkids getting caught in other apartment patios this winter? And if they are, who’s around to rescue them?

Novel Count: 27,062

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Migration to a town where
Tree swallows houses
Migration to a town where
Tree, swallows, houses

Like a match you’ve started
We’re all ageing doubles
We sing, hello, hello, hello

We danced shoes on shoes
To the sound of the spinning machine
We slept arm-in-arm
So soundly ignoring the outside sounds of the
Ongoing horrible scene

Maps & Atlases, The Ongoing Horrible

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 4


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I found out what death was when my parakeet died in 4th grade. I think it was 4th grade. It might have been earlier. But the bird did die. I walked out on a weekend morning to his living room cage. He was on the floor of the cage with his wings splayed out. He chirped twice and fell over. I called my mom. I ran to my room. I buried my face in my bed. She came to tell me he was dead. I cried, but not so much for the bird as for what slippery thing he’d invited into our house. When Death comes, it never goes away.

After Beak – that was his name, the parakeet – we rushed out and got a cockatiel named ‘Tealy.’ I loved Tealy. He was bright and neurotic. He sang love songs to his cage. He was always in his cage. We couldn’t let him out or he’d hurt himself. As I said, he was neurotic. A few years later Tealy died suddenly. No-one saw it coming. Well, I guess Death did, but it doesn’t always tell you what it knows.

After Tealy I was done. I was tired of watching beautiful birds dying in cages. But my family is an animal family so we got another bird. A pretty white cockatiel named Pavarotti. He loved living up to that name – he always had a song. Pavarotti saw me through high school and off to college. Again, we were never close, but he hung around, singing sometimes when I’d come home. I fed him every now and then. He was skittish, but he liked to sing. A good bird, I guess, but how does one measure a bird?

Still, my mother loved him and she gave him a beautiful life. That much was clear.

So I have bad news. Today, Pavarotti passed. Death has a hold on that old house – death has a hold on every old house – and he took this white bird to the backyard to rest it’s wings in cool ground. Pavarotti had a good life. We weren’t close. It makes no sense to cry for him. But I still feel like crying.

Novel Count: 26,602

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.

Robert Lynd