Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 199

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

When was the last night I looked up and tried to see stars? I can’t remember.

There was a car ride through the mountains. I was 10, maybe 11. My dad was driving the Blue Ridge back down from Knoxville. We were coming back from a visit with my Grandmother.

The mountains aren’t as crowded with electric light. Highways and high homes built to be away from everything, nothing else between the cities. I rolled the window down and stuck my head out. I looked up. It was a broken dish, a chopped oyster, dice and bones, saltwater. There was no black space that stayed black if you watched it long enough. Any and everywhere were stars.

I wonder sometimes why the days feel shorter. Or why I wake up tired. Or how it happens that I’ve packed off a whole year, and another, another…ritz cracker rolls. People tell me it’s just something about getting older. But the Sumerians studied stars for lifetimes, generations, hundreds of years, charting the sky nightly. Did they get tired? Were their years compressed?

There’s a great lie to romanticism: nature’s only beautiful if you have the wealth and means to meet it head on, guard the danger, control it. But even so….

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.

Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 192

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

My white bones crept out to have a walk around while I was sleeping. I was deflated. They tucked the covers up to my chin.

Outside, in stark moonlight, my white bones walked only the back roads on their way out of the city. They left the comfort of our culdesac and ducked alleys in old neighborhoods. The dogs barked, but no other creature knew me, or had the senses to sniff them out.

At the edge of Wake and Chatham, my white bones licked cold stones below a highway. It was gravel, refuse, dust. They slipped into tall grass where the ticks live, and into dark trees with rough baubles left by some other traveler in the branches.

At the river, cool water stopped them. My white bones found an old dead beaver and finished its work, wrapping its teeth in reeds until the tool could fell a rotting birch. There were no splashes when the tree fell, only whimpers. My white bones had found a route to cross the river, and they did.

It was the swamps they were looking for. An old bog in the forest that’s too crowded in oak groves to be seen during day. But the moonlight had it, and my white bones knew how to seek it out.

Each night, it happens like this: the branches clear. Soft black snakes wreath the space where there used to be arteries. In the Chatham bog at midnight, my white bones sink below the surface. They spend the hours passing into peat and pumice, and just before the sun comes up they surface a little darker, creeping back into me, still wet with what I cannot know.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Thank Goodness I have nearly
unlearned
folding my desire into itself
being afraid to claim it.

Yrsa Daley-Ward, bone

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 146

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I’m sitting here listening to crickets. They know it’s summer. Of course, they don’t know what to call it, so they just say ‘srr-srr-srr-srr-srr-srr-srr-srr’ instead.

I don’t like my voice. Every now and then, when I’m sleep deprived, or I’ve been smoking, I like how it sounds, but usually it gets to me. It doesn’t hit pitches like I want it too. I was at this reading that I wanted to knock out the park – I sounded like anyone else.

There’s this woman that sends me pictures of cats. Sometimes they’re hers, sometimes they’re internet cats. So I sent her cats back and since I don’t have any of my own (and the neighborhood troupe is gone) I stick to the internet for supplies. One video was three cats in a barn going back and forth with each other rehearsing lines. Then they run off to play.

The crickets are still going. They won’t stop until it’s too cold. When it’s too cold, they’ll still be out there, only some will be sleeping and the others will be dead. Are you really still out there if you’re dead? A dull wind goes through an empty exoskeleton. Still makes a sound, I guess.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Those are the most monotonous fuckin’ crickets I ever heard in my life.

Sam Shephard, True West

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 125

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A city is only as good as its midnight skyline. Low or high, skyscrapers or endless avenues of two-story stores, the lights at night are proof of something: that it’s worth more to the people here to risk all the dangers of darkness for a few extra seconds of knowing than to sleep soundly on the ground as they were born to do. Whether by fire, wax, or LCD silver, human is the only animal that won’t settle for the setting sun.

I was up at 3am for half an hour. My head was fuzzed with dreams. I walked to the kitchen to pour a glass of water. While I was there, I looked the window. Three streetlights had an angle on the glass. The bridge across the creek was lit, and our sister building had that glow of walkway illumination, crisp and militant. It was no surprise to see so many lights on but it took me by one anyway.

I like the idea of beating back darkness. I like the idea of getting lost in it, too. There’s a surreptitiousness to pulling your curtains on a well-lit city. The world goes on without you in it. Grocery store clerks at the 24hr; midnight highway technicians; someone’s making love in the alley behind your favorite coffee shop; old men die like great trees falling, with or without anyone to watch.

Having peeked out at the ongoing bristling of 3am, I closed the bedroom door and drew the curtains, pulled a comforter up to my nose, and tried to hide from the long city fingers for the bleak back end of night.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Night falls – like a fat man tripping over his shoelaces.

Anthony Bourdain, The Layover – Atlanta

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 100

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I see myself in the window. The only light’s from the monitor, and the hall lights on the second floor died so there’s nothing to compete with. I’m in profile. Half silver, half dark. My left eye’s the most in focus because it’s throwing back some of the light from the monitor. My nose is mostly there, too. In the reflection, my lips look redder, and it makes me think about the wild strawberries that grew in the front lawn at my parents’ house. I only ate a couple because they never tasted anything but bitter. Still, I don’t think I would have made it this far if I’d completely ignored such bright, red things.

I’ve never looked so dramatic. There’s a bar separating the window into quadrants so it’s only me in this pane, only the computer in the next pane over. Semi-transparent, the screen’s like cyberpunk – disembodied. Meanwhile, I’m late renaissance.

Twenty years ago, I was riding in a car back from a friend’s house. They lived out in the country. My mother was driving. Their driveway shot through thicks of maple trees. It was dark outside.

You only see what’s ahead of you by the headlights. You come to a bend in the pass. The ground rises by the turn and it looks like you’ll end up flying. Or maybe that the road will end at silver bark. Your throat dries and time stops long enough to tie it’s shoes. Something important is about to happen – you’ll cross over, live out the rest of your life in a different world. Everything’s contained in that stand of oak trees caught in the headlights.

Over the rise, the path keeps going, and you make it out of the forest, but not without leaving something separate behind. Forever missing, dumped like the postal slush pile. But sometimes you catch sight of it in a nighttime window. It looks an awful lot like you.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Softly, surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon’s dead body moved out towards the open sea.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 97

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Friday’s drawn in. The sun’s down, streetlights on, curtains closed. Midnight approaches – a fast black car speeding on the interstate. No matter what you did this week – what things you have or haven’t accomplished – it’ll soon be over. One more hour, not enough time for anything but peace.

My week went by in a blur. The most riveting moment was when I caught my leg on a corner and cut it right open, a quarter sized bit of skin chunked down until it was red and slimy. After it happened, I went to the bathroom and tried to check for damage but found it hard to get off the sock. It was sticking to me. Man and manufacturing combined, I was – for a brief second – the most boring sort of cyborg.

Otherwise, I’ve just been moving along.

This evening R and I went for Chinese. It started raining while we were waiting for our food. The rain turned to hail. The hail was the size of marbles and came beating down on the roof of my car. Driving home sounded like gunfire. It’s been so hot this week that when the hail hit the asphalt, it started to evaporate. A thick white steam. A bright Friday sauna.

As I’m writing, the clock’s just passed 11:00pm. I’m beat. I’ll see you all tomorrow, like I always do, but I wonder who I’ll be come the weekend? We pack our lives in week-sized compartments, like trying on different clothes. Every Saturday morning is a chance to change. That’s a lot of pressure.

Oh well – like I said, now’s not the time for heavy thinking, just peace. And maybe a bit of peppermint tea.

Goodnight.

Currently Reading: Have picked a new book but not had the chance to start it yet; more info to come

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On nights like this when the air is so clear, you end up saying things you ordinarily wouldn’t.

Banana Yoshimoto, Goodbye Tsugumi