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

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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 196

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I was driving down I-40 when the light cut out. The sun gave up enough to kneel behind the treeline, but it was only 7:30 so the streetlamps weren’t on. A bluish-gold darkness, like ducking your head in old bathwater, or under sheets in the morning, or below two bare thighs. Comforting, but dangerously taking your breath away.

I took off my sunglasses. I’d bought a pair of aviators to replace the old ones my uncle gave me. It didn’t help much, trying to see the world without lenses, only bolded the backlights on fast cars and Saturday fleetrucks tanking overtime. Didn’t change the fact that nothing I was seeing was new.

I have five ghosts that follow me but only know four of their names. They peek through trees around sundown or finger soft scratches on the underside of my car. Mostly they’re reminders of the people in my genes, the squeeze of history, blue smoke, different cancers. The fifth ghost rarely shows itself, though, so I’m wary of it.

I got home at 8:00, pulling in the parking lot when porchlights cut on.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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You got to tell me brave captain, why are the wicked so strong, how do the angels get to sleep, when the devil leaves the porchlight on.

Tom Waits


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 154

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

I met a kid in a park outside The Parlour in Durham. Some friends were getting ice cream but ice cream doesn’t sit with me. So I was sitting down on a deck-chair listening to the lone saxophone player, and watching the courting couples, enjoying a breeze, when this kid walks past me and we look at each other. I nod, he nods, that sort of thing. He’s 18. He says: ‘What’s your name?’ so I tell him. Putting my name in his pocket, he tells me he’s got a magic trick.

Nighttime brings different colors to a city. The trick wasn’t anything special, but he did it with flair. He’s been practicing magic since he was 14. He comes to the park every Saturday for an audience. He does stand-up, too, impressions, and went off loudly on a Spongebob. It was bravely awkward and I congratted him for it.

Before leaving, he took one more trick from me. A number game, adding and subtracting, guessing what I’ve got. For the final flourish, he waved his hand in front of me. “I’m just taking something from you,” he says. “It’s just one thing, though, so you won’t miss it.” A minute later, he guesses the number. We shake hands and go our separate ways. Now, though, I’m wondering what I gave to him, and where he’ll go with it. It was just one thing, I doubt I’ll miss it; but I hope it was something good.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 123

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

There’s a certain kind of smell that only surfaces in early evening. It’s got to be light out, but not so light that you’re comfortable putting one foot in front of the other. It’s got to be warm, not hot, and cool, not cold. There should be leaves on the trees but not so many leaves that you can’t see the shapes scurrying through the branches. Somewhere within walking distance – but out of sight – must be a moderately busy road.

The back of your lover’s neck coaxed out from under the covers, eight hours of untouched time still sticking to it. That’s the smell.

I’m off one drug and onto another. The past week has been exhausting, a bad reaction, a panic attack without the panic. I’ll start the new drug, an SSRI, on Monday, and who knows whether it will help me, or change me, or do anything at all to me, but I’m interested (and a little apprehensive) about the ride.

There’s no one answer to life. But there are evenings where the air smells like old memories, and that’s usually enough.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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My day is done, and I am like a boat drawn on the beach, listening to the dance-music of the tide in the evening.

Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 74

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

This week has felt weightless. On Sunday, I opened a door inside myself. I don’t know what the key was – writer’s block, two back-to-back showers, a little liquor. When the door opened, air came out. Thick, heavy air that had been building up in me for a long time. It rolled across the floor like spilled oil. It flooded my home, my shoes, my bedroom. Since then I’ve been standing on the film, two inches up, weightless.

R and I walked to where the food trucks were supposed to be but the trucks weren’t there. Dejected, we drove to Chipotle. The restaurant was empty when we walked in but it was still noisy. The line leader was yelling at two new associates. He kept calling them kids. One looked scared and embarrassed. The other looked smug.

Just before dinner, I sat outside for half an hour tossing words at my laptop. Only a couple stuck, but that didn’t bother me so much today. I had one of those big plush chairs that’s treated to survive the rain. Beside me, around the fire pit, a man and woman were watching their kid swing on the swingset while talking plans for the future. She kept saying “If you say so,” he kept saying “This is what you need to do.” On the other side of me, two kids were playing sevens. For those that don’t know (and I didn’t know until tonight), sevens involves slapping patterns on a table together. It was loud and distracting, frustratingly lovely.

Walking around tonight, I noticed a dead flower on the sidewalk. A week ago I’d taken a picture of the flower and posted it on here. Back then it was vibrant, now not so much. My instinct was to find that kind of sad, but then I looked closer and there were so many more details to the dead flower: pulled-out fibers, sour yellows, a lively brown slime. Ugly on the surface but beautiful in function: a tiny generator of new life. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere but I’m too tired to find it. I’ll leave that up to you.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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I might pull up late to class, but I always show up

Sylvan LaCue, 5:55

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

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

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, Year 2, Day 48

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Countdown to my reading as featured author at the Third Wednesday Open Mic:
WHERE: Fig Raleigh, Raleigh NC
WHEN: 04/17/19; 6:30p.m. (open mic sign-ups start at 6:00p.m.)
DAYS REMAINING: 6
Come out and support the Coffee Log!

I walked up a hill after work today. It wasn’t very big. A kid came roller-blading down the hill. She lives in my neighborhood and said ‘Hi!’ At the top, I said hello to a couple couples and their dogs. The sun was out but low enough that it didn’t burn. Then I got in my car and went to the store.

Driving. I kept the radio up and the windows down. The college station was playing grimy electronica. I liked the music. I took an extra loop through a neighborhood before stopping at the quick shop. The guy at the quick shop knows me. Not by name, and we never say anything to each other, but he’s always there and I’m there often enough. So he didn’t card me when I bought a six-pack.

I don’t know why I bought the beer. I thought it over the whole way home. It’s a Thursday. At home, I put the beer in the refrigerator. I looked at it in it’s plastic bag. Earlier in the day, I got a call from a coworker who was in a traffic accident. She was distraught. I pulled the plastic bag a bit to look at the bottles. They were starting to condensate. I closed the refrigerator door.

On the way back down the hill – driving home – I saw that kid again. She said “All these cars, I keep having to move out of the way.” I said “Yeah that’s no fair.” Now it’s late at night. The lights are still on. Even in the kitchen. Not a lot of things are fair.

Novel Count: 37,459

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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The wastes of snow on the hill were ghostly in the moonlight. The stars were piercingly bright.

Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown