Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 163


Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

The power went out while I was talking to a guy who shines shoes. He’d been telling me about his business, about a bounce-back from hardship, and what it takes to get the best sheen out of black leather. Then the room when dark. We were still comfortable, though. We’d already gotten to feel out each other’s souls.

I got a shot in my arm for tetanus, all on account of a cut on my thumb that keeps bleeding. Some of the blood slipped onto my work pants. Ripest red apples in late fall. Seeing that color made me feel like there must be something sweet inside me to paint the world so vivid. It helped me feel better when the needle was looking for my vein.

I’ve been listening to country songs on recommendation. I’ve enjoyed about half of them, but what’s stood out the most is the way they’ve changed the texture of my day. They’re not full of the aggression that sounds out the music that I’m used to. These songs come from walking through small towns in deep mountains, or getting lost on your cousin Mike’s farm. As I was leaving the doctor’s, a track started playing that had Beyonce singing beside the Dixie Chicks. The song was full of drawn out harmony, strained strings, women singing strength through hoarse vocal chords. It felt close to me, old knowledge, a red caboose. It was morning then, just drizzling, and I had no way of knowing that six hours later I’d been sitting in darkness with a shoe shine, but I could have predicted it, because the music was already showing me deep, dark spaces, three fruits on a gnarled tree, a side of our urban landscape that I rarely recognize, but that always walks with me, the red southern clay.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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If I ever get out of Dixie
Gonna buy me some brand new shoes
Gonna have somebody shine ’em up soon as I pay my dues

Ashley Monroe, Dixie

Coffee Log, Day 60


Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I think about family. I belong to a lawyer and musician who met at a Chapel Hill bus stop. That’s the only ownership I’m certain of but I’m damn sure I’ve got more ties than that. Every so often I open my bedroom window, listen to whatever’s out there, and try acknowledging my blood.

The South is inside me. It sets me on one side of the train tracks, even though I grew up on the other. I’m white as day-lilies and grew up poor as my third-son ancestor who left England for Virginia when he knew he’d inherit nothing. I consume black art. The people I’d like to relate to, I have no right to. The people I’m welcome with frighten me.

There’s a handful of people I’ve struggled to get my genes inside. Metaphorically, sometimes, and a little more literal at others. We met in disparate places for no particular reason. Meaning has a funny way of finding you.

Work friendships and loves like a sleepless cobbler. Everybody needs a good few shoes to keep off the ground.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

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“Looking at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues vibrating against slightly noticeable buckteeth. He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away.” – Zadie Smith, On Beauty