Coffee Log, Year 3, Day 3


Coffee: Organic Medium Roast, Don Pablo’s

I’d let my hair grow out. Today, I cut it. I shaved it down. Short on the sides, a little longer on top. I’d gotten bogged down by the weight of it. It was the longest I’d had my hair in years. M said it looked nice, which was fine, and made me feel good. There was gray in it. I don’t mind the gray, but without it I feel younger.

I’m not young. I’m 30. Anyone older probably scoffs at that. But I’ve lived long enough to start forgetting things, like where I was that Christmas, or my cousin’s face. Youth, to me, is about everything compressed into a single moment, so you can’t help but feel that anything you think or do is vital. Age takes a bit of that vanity away.

I saw a flock of geese by a local pond. The pond is downhill of a Lutheran church. On Sundays, the worshippers whisk off the parking lot and across the street to Trader Joe’s. The geese were the only members of the congregation to stay.

I’m still in the middle of studying. It’s lots of slideshows and pink highlighters. I’m lucky for it, lucky for the time, lucky for the opportunity, and that luck makes me anxious. We all want to believe that our actions are the sole progenitors of our success, but another thing about getting older, if you’re doing it right, is to realize that so much of life is set in motion outside of you. I’m fortunate to have my clothes, my bed, my family, my skin. The whole world wraps in conspiracy to push me into soft spaces, and that just makes me wonder who it’s leaving behind.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

Ability is of little account without opportunity.

Napolean Bonaparte

Coffee Log, Day 323


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I woke up sweating. I’m often hot, my roommates keep it warm. But my mind was in Michigan so I expected cooler weather.

I’d been dreaming about UofM. I visited once five years ago when a friend was attending for his master’s, and I applied three times to the MFA and was rejected. It’s a busy campus, coagulated onto Ann Arbor, and one small courtyard is Gothic like Duke. Being there left an impression, one I can’t seem to shake.

The dream had me missing flights for an open house. I was with someone I had a habit of missing important things for. It was simple, strange, a bit too vivid, there were pine trees everywhere. An old gray day, the way winter is supposed to be yet rarely is down here.

I’ll be 30 this year. Every day, I’m stepping further into a financial career, and every night I’m writing like a sickness eats me. I live in Cary. Nothing looks the way it did at 18.

But I guess that’s just getting older: having a set of people and places that only show up in heat-sweat dreams.

Novel Count: 13,159

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

Truly landlocked people know they are. Know the occasional Bitter Creek or Powder River that runs through Wyoming; that the large tidy Salt Lake of Utah is all they have of the sea and that they must content themselves with bank, shore, beach because they cannot claim a coast. And having none, seldom dream of flight. But the people living in the Great Lakes region are confused by their place on the country’s edge – an edge that is border but not coast. 

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Coffee Log, Day 216


Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

I don’t remember when the insomnia started. Years, at least. I can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, don’t sleep well. I used to pass the box for The Machinist in a movie rental back in High School. I never picked it up but Christian Bale looked like death and horror on the cover so I read the box: “Man suffers debilitating insomnia…” Anyway, the image stuck with me.

Other oddities of getting old: I can’t really smell anymore. Flowers, sure; piss, sure; something weaker, not so much. I also can’t quite hear because my ears are always stuffed. And speaking of stuffy, I don’t remember what it feels like to have two clean nostrils. In fact, the left channel is frozen over like an English winter. Maybe that says something to the smelling.

Life fills you up to spilling with humors, bile, juices. They become blood brothers. You can’t think to leave them. Maybe they chase out dreams, diminish anticipation, but the dull numb throbbing is something you welcomed, something you wanted, an amorphous scuttle stuck into you to keep the daily doldrums from spilling out.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.” – Leonard Cohen


Coffee Log, Day 185


Coffee: Americano from The Blend, Burlington NC; honey covered pecans, a pie too early in the year, warmly unexpected.

I went home. Capital ‘H,’ Burlington, NC, where I was born. I sat downtown with my phone off. Guys in tank tops crossed the road; the amphitheater was setting up for a wedding.

I ran into two old faces: H, a high school classmate I barely remember, stops me on his way out of the cafe. Tells me where he’s  working, he’s got more beard than ten years ago, cleaner eyes.

I saw L. Once, a different summer, years ago, bent into old-day memory like kneading dough, we went to an open mic in Hillsborough and I wrote a travel blog about it. Tumblr – it was a hot site back then – I kept the blog for three posts then forgot about it. Now I’m here.

Thanks for the belated inspiration, L.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich; FINISHED!! Will have a review soon

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.” – Charles Bukowski


Coffee Log, Day 114


Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I looked in the mirror above the cash drawers. It’s one of those big round mirrors so you can see the whole lobby warped like a fish eye. The angle was strange. I saw the back of my head. My hair’s thinning right on top, tonsure. I’m certainly not young anymore.

I have anxieties. What if I don’t find anyone to love me before I’m ugly? Ugly is owned individually. We put the beauty in each other – I see you and you’re lovely – but again, ugly is personal. I’ve got gray in my hair. I’m slowly balding. Recently, I’ve had to shave around my earlobes because there are a couple black wiry things. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the weight off.

I’m terrified of how I’m changing. I remember watching the five dogs of my childhood grow fat and old and die. It was a little different for each of them, but they all had more hollow eyes before the fall. I see myself in ten years as a hollow-eyed dog. I’m scared to bare the burden of life in the world, especially this world, one of so much responsibility, where I have it relatively good and so many Americans don’t; immigrants take their lives in federal prisons.

But we all put the beauty in each other. I pause and think it over. I guess what I’m really scared of is growing ugly before I’m able to love myself.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 –

“I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.” – Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye