Coffee Log, Day 274


Coffee Tea: Earl Grey, Bigelow; still having filter issues. Working on it!

The night got so cold there’s condensation on my window. Never been able to resist drawing finger-faces in it.

I guess we’re headed for another winter. There’s that come-down after Thanksgiving, the year-end doldrums, where everyone’s out and frantic for the holidays but also frantic because they know another year’s about to end. It’s an even mix of optimistic and rattled. I like the energy.

One thing I didn’t mention about my trip home yesterday was how dilapidated East Burlington looks to me know. It’s always been run down, but the modern economy has further stripped its stores. There were plans to turn the old rail junction into a supermarket. Those plans were scrapped so now the lot is not only big and empty but full of dirt mounds and deep holes, all of it grown over with nosehairs of green grass.

It’s been going this way for a while: suck all the money out of your physical footprint, keep a presence in the affluent areas, throw the rest of your resources online. Retail’s not what it used to be. Yes, the economy might be doing great in aggregate, but it’s leaving more and more holes in its pockets. What’s a community when it’s stripped of communal spaces?

They closed the Wendy’s I’d been going to since 5 years old. In its place is a local burger joint. I didn’t visit, but I imagine the burners going, the smell of dead beef flicking up in gas fire. There’s an old man by the window. There’s a family of three, two kids and a single father. There’s a woman on her lunchbreak from the Wal-Mart. Real and local. Still thriving. I can only hope it lasts.

Novel Count: 11,888 words

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

Kurt Vonnegut, ‘Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage’

Coffee Log, Day 235


Coffee: Colombian, Starbucks Brand (grocery store bought, a gift)

I don’t know whose house you are. I don’t know who owns the property. I don’t know who busted your windows. I don’t know who painted the red alien or the blue alien or the man in bold outlines flipping me off. I don’t know if you used to belong to bedtimes or business. I don’t know how many sets of lips made love to your ample empty beer cans. I don’t know a damn thing about you, you don’t know anymore about me. But I walked inside you last night. Nearby, a couple guys were taking out trash.

It’s gotten chilly. Fall’s here. I met a guy who used to be the best EMT in the county. Now he’s working part-time. He tells me he got beat up a year ago. They broke his ribs, neck, lips, left eye, fingers. He’s still healing. The guys were harassing his partner. From what I could gather, they’re not together anymore. Then he tells me about the older trauma: of working medical, seeing kids scream without understanding, seeing death fold out of the  closet like a Christmas sweater. He said the doctors tell him he’s got PTSD. He said he didn’t believe the diagnosis until it was a late winter rainstorm and he was driving real fast and he’d brought that pistol with him and he knew the best spot to cock it and then he had a thought cross to call some acquaintances, no-one close, and they talked to him all night, and they’re the nicest family, and they make the best Thanksgiving Turkey, and now they’re more than just acquaintances and he’s still here. Then he says “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I told you all that.” And I said: “Glad you did.”

I had too many thoughts under your dilapidated eaves. You were down the hill from a parking deck, surrounded in tall grass, but the city still rose around you. I wanted to move into you for five minutes but I couldn’t not see the city, the buildings, the houses, the bright night lighting where I used to live. In the end, I flicked off the flashlight and walked away saying nothing.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
With doors that none but the wind ever closes,
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.” – Robert Frost

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