Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 127

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place Drip, Apartment Office Coffee; there wasn’t anyone in the office lounge when I went to fill my thermos; air-conditioned cold, like holding two bags of frozen peas to your cheeks; I punched the order on the auto and listened to it drip; after the first pull, I poured a bit down the drain and punched another; brimming, here was my communal coffee, provided by the bills I pay each month, offered in the hopes I’ll meet new people and form long-lasting friendships, so that I’ll always want to stay; but there wasn’t anyone in the office lounge so I had black coffee served naked with a hint of rumination, spiced like mulled wine

I watched Sally the cat stalk a turtle. It’s her last week her before her owners move. The turtle was a boxcar, a big boy, good at tucking his feet so you might think he was more stone, less animal. I wasn’t tricked, and Sally wasn’t either.

She circled him close to the ground, creeping so low her big belly was brushing dust off the sidewalk. She made a few passes before she narrowed in. Finally, She got the courage to go where his head was poking, put her nose no further than a foot from it, but the turtle was thinking quicker and he jerked the rest of the way into his shell. This scared her so she came trotting to me. We sat in the grass watching the turtle walk cautious across the sidewalk. The sun was out. Later, it would be sweltering.

A calm, easy Sunday.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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When we were little,” the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, “we went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle – we used to call him Tortoise -“

“Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?” Alice asked.

“We called him Tortoise because he taught us,” said the Mock Turtle angrily: “really you are very dull!

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 102

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I spent fifteen minutes sitting on a wet step with a cat that’s moving away. This was about an hour after a thunderstorm. Dogs passed. The cat stood on her hindlegs to sniff at leaves.

Some moments speak for themselves.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 68

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I’ll start this predictably: I took a walk.

Six o’clock rolls into seven like buses coming and going from a busy city station, especially on a weeknight, and especially in the summer. Time goes by.

After dinner, six had already vanished, but there was still much light out, so I walked around. Families were sitting on the lawn chairs. Kids were playing on the playground. Two ten year olds had their scruffy dog at the dog park and were trying to teach her to fetch.

A warm evening.

Earlier, I talked with a woman who said I must be a musician. She was watching my hands, said I had long fingers. I told her I used to play the cello and she said she used to play the violin. She was round and short and wore a bracelet of the Madonna on one hand and a ring of horned skulls on the other. When she talked, it drew me up. A strange picture. Different than how I see myself.

My walk ended at the apartment, same as I started. At the stairs, I was stopped by Sally the Cat. She waited for me to kneel down then drew around me counterclockwise three times, brushing up against my back, same as she always does. A small, indiscernible ritual. But I feel protected now.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Everything ritualistic must be strictly avoided, because it immediately turns rotten. Of course a kiss is a ritual too and it isn’t rotten, but ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value


Coffee Log, Day 358

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I know a lady that had to get her cat shaved because he was too large to clean the better half of his fur. She sent me pictures. The cat looked like a rockstar, though not too happy. An interesting way to spend a Valentine’s Day.

I saw someone post on Insta that Valentines is their favorite holiday. She’s got a penchant for vintage dresses and posts pics that fit your mental image of a starving artist that still manages to live in New York. I only knew her for a summer, never knew her favorite holiday, but it fits.

There’s this guy who got divorced under uncertain circumstances. He used to travel all around the country in an old van. Now he’s figuring out custody for his kids.

R and I went to taco bell to try their Mexican Pizzas. Neither of us had had them before. We got home, opened up the boxes, and slopped our way through the cheap food as the couch devoured us. The pizza was sweet and sticky. It was like the kind of kitchen monsters you make as a child.

Anyway, that’s all to say I love you. Even if you don’t love me (and, well, even if you do). Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking your time. Happy Valentines day. I didn’t know what to get you, so here’s a blurry photo of a cat.

Novel Count: 23,683

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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“Me & U”

Every fourth Candy Heart in the box


Coffee Log, Day 263

Hi.

Coffee: French Drip from the lobby at Johnson Hyundai; I took my car in for inspection and an oil change. They have a snack bar for you while you’re waiting. The coffee was better than it had any obligation to be.

You always expect something else to save you, or at least I always do. Life doesn’t work that way.

I lost five dollars playing poker on Saturday. It was a gregarious get-together of mismatched people. It was hosted by some friends from an open mic. There were two games going – a big group board gaming in the den, our small-betting poker scene by the kitchen – with just a black dog running checks between them. I was up early on a Full House but lost it all as the night went. I gave my money to a Christian and a probation officer.

On Sunday, I tried talking up a Persian girl. We met at the Cocoa Cinammon off Greer and I couldn’t help thinking of all the other women I’d met there already. It was a stacked deck and I should have known better. The girl was an architect and talked about creation. She motioned how you work the laser cutters around steel models. She had a pound cake and let me try a bite. Sweet, too much for me. At a little under an hour, she said she had something to take care of and that was that.

I met Sally again today. She’s getting fatter in her winter fur. We walked around the apartments together and sat on the steps petting. Six months ago, I helped this cat down from a tall tree. I wasn’t the only one to help her and I’m sure she would have jumped if we’d left her long enough. Still, I get the sense that she remembers me, the way I worried about her, that feverish and unnecessary effort. I think she appreciates the saving, whether she was in need of it or not.

Novel Count: 7,803 words

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

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“Look. You are playing poker (I assume you know poker, or at least—like a lot of people—anyway play it.) You draw cards. When you do that, you affirm two things: either that you have something to draw to, or are willing to support to your last cent the fact that you have not. You dont draw and then throw the cards in because they are not what you wanted, expected, hoped for; not just for the sake of your own soul and pocket-book, but for the sake of the others in the game, who have likewise assumed that unspoken obligation.” – William Faulkner, Knight’s Gambit

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Coffee Log, Day 262

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; the last brew of the batch, kind of sad, kind of frustrating, kind of capitalist – grocery store, here I come.

There’s specific calm to petting a cat’s fur on cold mornings. He rolls around. He’s been hunting bees and birds before they hide away in Winter. His paws have gotten fatter. He’ll lick you now and then.

Here’s this thing with energy – crisp, static – while you huddle in your coat.

You lose your fingers in his coat. Both your breaths are fogging. A patch of sun, the night that froze the concrete, nowhere else you need to be. Cold friction of a life. You take a bit of him with you. He’s hair on black trousers.

Suddenly, you like the cold.

Novel Count: 7,500 words

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

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“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” – Jean Cocteau

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Coffee Log, Day 246

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

In between dinner with you I hear the rain. It’s on the roof, the windows. It’s flooding the creek. It sounds like a velvet bag of go pieces. White and black, perfect round, picked up and let back through your fingers. It feels good to drop something and know you can pick it up again.

There’s a white and black cat in the neighborhood, no-one knows her name. She stalks the other cats but strays from people. Once, she let me pet her, but just because it was okay once doesn’t mean it ever will be again. I got home and popped my umbrella. It was cold, wet, windy, the wind tried taking everything from my hands. On the switchback to my second floor apartment, I saw the white and black cat. She was sitting on the rail catching balance. She wasn’t doing a good job of it on account of the rail being slick. It was the least graceful I’ve seen her. Fat paws tossed like woks. I fell in love.

I said: “Kitty!” and “Hey!” It took her attention. Two black eyes, carbon on its way to diamond, the cat threw caution and grace behind her and leapt off the rail to get away. I was a little worried so I looked down. She was fine. Last I saw, she was chasing dry spots in the rain.

Now, in the bedroom, listening to music, I don’t hear the storm.

I had a dream that someone I cared about was being chased. I tried to fight the chaser. My fists were putty and I just kept poking, prodding. They took off anyway. I’m sort of glad I didn’t hurt them. I don’t want to hurt much of anything. I’ll cut the sound and really listen. Autumn; a chill; rainfall; a lullaby.

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

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“Amanda took the torn page from Maniac. To her, it was the broken wing of a bird, a pet out in the rain.” – Jerry Spinelli; Maniac Magee

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