Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 206

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A few years ago, on a night like this, I was outside a small bar in Greensboro. There was a game of darts going. Three people were outside with us, fall had come on early, we were freezing. A friend lit a cigarette. We passed it around. More than anything, it was warm.

Autumn in the American South is a time for burning. Drive a few miles to the country and you’ll smell smoke and see lit leaves. It’s the one time of the year you can’t help but be reminded that you live in a lush place – so many leaves fall, they try to bury you, and the only answer is to throw a little fire on the foliage to clear the ground.

At work, some folks were talking about burgers. They were lavishing the smell of burnt meat. A Shake Shack opened up recently and it’s been booming. Long lines, people can’t keep away from it. If you stand at the right window and stretch a bit, you can see the shop from our office. It’s a summery sort of place, pinned in a parking lot, puffing out cooked goodies like you’d see at a fair. Now that it’s getting cold, I wonder how they’ll do? Not good weather for the line to snake outside. And no-one wants to be reminded of summer when it’s dead and gone.

I flicked a lighter tonight just to see it. Something to stand by, wet hot and wild, enough to get you through another season.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 136

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Sometimes I daydream about a bonfire. It’s on the side of the creek. It’s in a grass bed. It’s surrounded by trees.

There’re five other men sitting by the fire. I don’t know two of them. I’m friends with the other three. One guy has an orange insulation vest. He’s roasting sausage on metal spits. The other stranger tells stories about when he was young.

In this daydream, I’ve got a sleeping bag but no tent. Nighttime is coming. The sun’s hit the ground and lost some teeth, venus, the north star. I hear the water running through the creek bed but can’t see it. Rushing water gets louder when it’s dark.

I know I need to hide somewhere. My three friends will fall asleep. I’ll be alone with the strangers who tend the fire. I try to grip the old, last season leaves still stuck in the summer grass. I try to build a cover so they can’t find me. But it’s no good. I’m exposed.

Six midnight hours of ravenous flame. In the daydream, I wake up with two tick bites, a light head, and everyone gone.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Coffee Log, Day 289

Hi.

Coffee: Bolivian Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; I’ve been feeling strung out lately so I added less beans to the grinder to cut the caffeine. It helped a little, though like any solution, it wasn’t perfect. Water me down.

I’m sitting in my room with the curtains drawn but the windows open. They’ve got a fire going in the pit. It smells like someone’s burning off old journals. If only a match took care of all the things you put down.

I’m drinking barley tea. It isn’t summer so I’m doing so out of season. In Japan, they’d brew big pots of barley tea for the kids I taught. We’d line them up in their sweat scarves and the Japanese teachers would dole out glasses like medicine. I always thought it seemed remarkable and magic and I wanted to try it but I didn’t ask because I figured that would break the spell. Now I just make it for myself out of my roommate’s stash and it’s refreshing but not very magical.

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow. I’ve been feeling like there’s a warm ball of lint in my skull. If it does snow, if it’s good and cold and bleached, I think I’ll walk around in hopes of working the lint out. I’ve been trying to decide what to do with myself. I’ve been thinking about money, about houses, about careers. I’m happy with my job but I’m not in love with it. Lots of old couples sleep in separate beds, but I’d like to hold something under the covers. And yeah, yeah, I’m writing, but art’s just your mistress, always taking you away from the rest of your life, a little abused, never there when you need her. Deliberating seems like it might be easier in the snow.

I hear them occasionally – voices from the fire, two guys, a woman, and every now and then this little boy or girl that’s young enough to find rapture in something like a pit-fire, like the winter, like a deep, welcoming snow-day.

Novel Count: 14,999 words (here’s the reality of an early-stage novel: it’s messy. I’ve heard stories about writers that can sit down and hammer a draft start to end and only then do the bloody knifework. I imagine them as boring people who wear turtlenecks and drink white wine. No, for me it’s endless tinder-dates, the waking up without your clothes on, the vomit in the toilet, the realization that you’re a realist now and you never really wanted to be. So anyway, I might rip out half of what I’ve written. Or not. We’ll see. It’s early.)

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith (I’ve tried and tried and tried to finish this book; in the end, I sort of hate it; I don’t think I’ll be finishing it anytime soon); Cherry, Nico Walker

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With luck, it might even snow for us.

Haruki Murakami, After Dark


Coffee Log, Day 268

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Long days die in dark nights.

I was stressed out. I don’t know what started the stress, sometimes it just crawls in bed with you.

I went to the Korean grocery. I bought beer and veggie ramen. The place was packed. There was this girl with pink hair. A dad was picking up and putting down his son. Outside, in the parking lot, I walked in a blue haze. It was bright and cold.

‘Far away’ was on my mind. Two cents on California where M is making movies; two cents in Atlanta where… well, I shouldn’t follow you there. Anyway, you spin the wheel and it’s just red sevens and nobody ever bets on that.

There was a block party of sorts. We sat around the campfire. I met some neighbors. I liked these neighbors. They cooked a rack of ribs and I munched fries. I gave them the beer I bought. I shared some bourbon. In between our cold legs went Sally the cat. In between fits of woodsmoke they were telling stories.

You’re only winning if you feel like it. A ball on black six, blowing hot in your hands for the prayer.

Novel Count: 9,347 words

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

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“What worries you masters you.”

John Locke


Coffee Log, Day 247

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; a blue cup, a burnt roast, a cloudy day.

It was J’s birthday. Well, the celebration anyway, the actual date’s tomorrow. We got together at the Cracker Barrell. There were seven of us. They gave us the round table past the fireplace. It was busy at restaurant, brisk like night air, they had the ceiling fans turning so it mixed up all the smells. I played checkers. I made excuses to keep passing by the fire. J looked happy, I think we all were. It felt like home.

I’m two cups of black coffee, a white plastic plate, the fork with a dish-soap stain, feet under the table knocking wet socks until they’re warm.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table.” – William Shakespeare, Macbeth

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