Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 52

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: 2
Come out and support the Coffee Log!

The thunder woke me up twice last night. When I woke up it sounded more like a long checklist of things to do.

Sometimes when I’m bored or lonely I’ll take a long shower. I tilt the nozzle so it’s close to the drain and lie down. I’m not too tall (five-foot-seven) so I fit going lengthwise in the tub. It feels like one of those rides at the water park: a dark, gushing tunnel, no room to move.

In the spring, I like to sit outside and think about smoking. I don’t smoke. Not at all now, not much ever, but nice days are conducive to watching thick burnt embers trail out of your mouth and no matter what I do I can’t seem to shake that image. Burnt lungs in a fine garden. It’s the contrast, maybe.

Later this week I’m going to Richmond. I don’t know what to expect from that trip. A coworker gave me suggestions. I spoke to a hostel worker about parking options over the phone. Secretly, I’m exhausted, and when I think ‘vacation’ I see a dark blanket wrapping me up at home, but I have to go, because if I don’t it means something I’m not ready to admit: that I’m not someone with the energy to get out and move.

I saw a scared cat. She was hiding around the corner from a rough brown dog. I came down the stairs and scared her a little more, then she recognized me and we got along. I’m a scared cat some days, and others I’m coming down the stairs. No telling which I’ll be tomorrow. No choice but to find out.

Novel Count: 38,047

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

regret is mostly caused by not having
done anything.

Charles Bukowski


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 7

Hi.

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

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

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
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, Day 210

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Years ago, I dated a nanny. She worked for two families while we were together, one in North Raleigh, the other somewhere south of Chapel Hill. The second family had infants. They lived in a new development, the kind you drive by and get shivers, like: ‘Have I been here before?’ There were few trees and lots of cul-de-sacs. To get to the family’s house, you had to cross a creek that always had green water.

About the only nice thing in that neighborhood was a circular playground squatting in a traffic circle. It was an island, not too big, some slides and monkey bars, park benches, young oaks. On days when I’d pick my partner up, we’d sometimes take the babies’ last stroll together. We’d stop in the circle and she’d say: “I can picture them goofing off here. It makes me feel old.” And of course we both saw it, six-year old dreams.

It’s been six years since I broke up with the nanny. I haven’t been to that neighborhood since. I’m sure the trees are taller, the creek’s probably flooded from Florence. I wonder if the playground is still there? It seems like every passing day people get more frightened of each other. Can’t let your kid wait for the bus alone, can’t trust the family next door. I have a hunch that instead of grass-stain memories, those kids are tapping iPhones in the safety of their home.

But I’m one to talk. I should get out more.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.” – Heraclitus

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Coffee Log, Day 164

Hi.

Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

America taught you I’m a threat. It taught me the same thing.

I was at the Japanese Festival at the NC State Fair grounds. L invited me. Go back a couple generations and his blood’s risen-sun red. We got there early, walked the stalls. There were many American faces, all cultures, all colors. I watched the snap-crack kendo demo. I watched a cadre of kids running with a tiny paper float on their backs, memories of Yamakasa.

On the way out, we wanted treats. I got some matcha mochi with red-bean paste, shared it with L. It was wrapped in bamboo leaves and AC cold. I liked it – earthy, like the year’s first mowed lawn. L wasn’t a fan so we had extra.

Anyway, standing with L and his wife, watching a Japanese woman pound piano on stage, a girl – maybe 17, 18 – walks by and asks “Where’d you get that?” I pointed her to the dessert stand. Then she tells me her grandmother used to make mochi. She was dressed western but had Japanese ravens in her eyes.

I said: “We’ve got extra if you want it.”

She stopped. Lips open; hands closed. Eyes went so wide all the ravens flew out; she shook her head, slightly. I could see the sweat.

“Ok, cool,” I said. She walked quick and the crowd swallowed her.

I was stunned. The bright warm Saturday had changed: eyes on me, a thousand; I hadn’t planned to wear my fangs to the festival, but here they were.

Girls grow up in America surrounded by long fingers, long stares, machinations to dislodge them from themselves. “Men are predators; men are a threat.” It’s too true not to learn the lesson. Her fear is far more suffering than I’ll know, but the bedtime story warps me too. If every girl is red riding hood, every man is the wolf. I feel you stitch the claws on me; that stiff ragged tail; I don’t want these teeth, but now I have them. A few thousand years of pack-hunting womanhood like African ivory and I’m born an animal. I’m a threat, however little I want to be.

I can’t change those stories, but I’ll keep trying to write new ones.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men’s eyes when deciding what provokes it.” – Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

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Coffee Log, Day 119

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I haven’t really known what to say about it. I’ve watched the videos, read the articles, listened to the rhetoric. A part of me wants to pack up and drive to the border to do something. As a kid, I always wondered why the Germans didn’t fight the Nazi’s more.

I’ve got a vivid picture of myself at four-years-old: we were in a Roses; there was this action figure, a Power Ranger probably, I was fixed to it like flies in the summer. I turned around to share the treasure but my parents weren’t there. They’d wandered into the racks and racks of clothes, my dad needed new jeans. To me, they were gone.

I screamed. The whole store heard me. First there was the old lady with the side-longs, then the young mother who said ‘It’ll be fine sweetie.’ A clerk found me. She was big and wearing blue. She knelt beside me, gave a hand to my shoulder. It was kind, but my world was still ending. Where are my parents? For the first time in my life, absence, loss, terror felt manifest. I could cup my fears and breathe on them. I could watch them grow.

My parents came back in less than five minutes and everything was fine. I’m White. I’m American. My country used to keep it’s darkness at the edges.

For two months now, thousands of children are feeling that same terror. Only they don’t know if their parents are coming back; only they don’t have any kind hands on their shoulders; only they’re locked in cages with inch-thin mats and thermal blankets; only their suffering is driven by the collective will of my country.

Guns aren’t as loud in 2018 than they were in the ’40’s. Every puncture in injustice has a few dollars behind it now. Some very active, educated friends recommend this charity – RAICES – as a meaningful initiative to provide relief for family separations at the border. I’m replacing my coffee tip button with a link until the crisis is over. To the extent I’m financially able, I’ll match any donations made via my site.

Don’t let human – American – darkness take our brothers and sisters. Fight with your wallets now and with your votes in November.

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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