Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 155

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

I caught myself longing for better days. Days when temperatures were cooler, nights lasted longer, I could hold my liquor like a wet tongue. You know, those times when it was easier to ignore everything outside the front door.

But ‘better’s’ only better in a selfish sense.

There was this night in Munakata. I thought I could fly. Some Japanese men were drinking whiskey on the back porch of the campground lounge. We all passed the bottle, loosening our tongues up until we tried speaking each other’s language. It was just me and J at first, then other Americans joined. I downed half a bottle of Suntory. Everything seemed simple. Then one of the men asked this Blonde to take her shirt off.

The easiest high is at someone else’s expense.

Last night, at the same park I watched a kid work magic at, there was this older guy, Latino, hair in braids. He started out singing the best sounds to the saxophone music. His voice was that extra shot in the cocktail, just enough to breeze past the bitters. I watched him dance around in the background until he caught eyes on a girl in a white jumper. He walks up like he knows her. He shouts something that could have been her name. But it wasn’t her name so when he put his hand on her shoulder she jumps backward. Her eyes were shucked, she clammed up, ran to join her friends.

Life is only nice on one side of the coin. If you get it while it’s heads, someone else will grab tails. And more often than not, that someone has a bit less socially prescribed luck than you.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The fish is my friend too…I have never seen or heard of such a fish. But I must kill him. I am glad we do not have to try to kill the stars. Imagine if each day a man must try to kill the moon, he thought. The moon runs away. But imagine if a man each day should have to try to kill the sun? We were born lucky; he thought

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Coffee Log, Day 303

Hi.

Coffee: Barrie’s Blend Drip, office coffee; I was out of beans so I brewed at the bank. The color was like flat cola. The taste wasn’t far from that.

Every kid’s out early on Christmas vacation. They’re stalking the parking lot in posses, preening colorful sweaters, eyeing this free time like it’s the last two weeks to live.

I talked to a woman today who just got back from the Amazon. A cruise, twenty-two days on the river. Her favorite words were ‘luxury’ and ‘they.’ An example: “We were in such luxury on the ship, and we got to see how they lived in the little villages when we stopped.” At one point, she mentioned fishing for piranhas. And I thought that must be awful to fish for little nibbling hunters biting up the river just like her.

It’s a manic Friday, at least with the weather. Wind whips up, then it’s calm and warm and sunny, and then there’s clouds and rain. Temper tantrums.

I had a Subway sandwich again because I wanted to be part of something in aggregate: part of the small, hurried communities of shopping-center interlopers who live and breath and work to be the kind of people that hunt pirhanas, but that will never get there, and so have kept their soul.

Novel Count: 6,879

Currently Reading: Nothing! Done with Cherry, still deciding on the next book.

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May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children. – Rainer Maria Rilke

Coffee Log, Day 299

Hi.

Coffee: Bolivian Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

Prada makes a keychain that’s a monkey in blackface throwing its hands up. They charge $500 for it. When called out, their defense is: ‘these aren’t the real world; they’re imaginary.’ Eventually, they capitulate and make great claims about donations to black charities.

Remember: when your white grandmother told you to be polite to the black kids because they needed your help – when your 21yrold white boyfriend comes back from a semester abroad teaching math in Guinea and shows you all those pictures of him and the kids but when you ask him he just calls it ‘Africa’ and can’t remember the country’s name – that’s still racism.

I had this dream that I was talking to a demon that looked like me except he had a catfish for a head. We were on an overpass counting cars. What a lovely drunk thing to be above it all. But Your mouth is still something that feeds on the riverbed, bloated, filthy.

Novel Count: 6,268 (writing post early today, still writing on novel later)

Currently Reading: Nothing! Done with Cherry, still deciding on the next book.

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

And chase hard and good and with no mistakes and do not overrun them. – Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream

Coffee Log, Day 145

Hi.

Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema; the most expensive cup of average coffee I’ve had.

I’m getting pretty good at stir-fry. It only took two years.

Today I got the heat right, the onions clear but crunchy, tofu golden. I learned a trick: marinate your oil. I tossed garlic and chili flakes for thirty seconds in sunflower oil; the garlic pop-cracked like bullwhips and then the apartment smelled so good.

I talked to a coworker today about going vegetarian and I talked to my cousin about the same thing yesterday. My coworker was real worried about my protein intake. My cousin was real worried about the privilege behind the choice.

They’re both right – I’ve had days where I didn’t eat anything hearty; I’ve gone to bed feeling faint. But those days are rare because tofu’s plentiful around here. But in Crossett, Arkansas where my cousin grew up? Or the stern brick apartments where my students grew up? Or hell, any of the apartments around me made home by vibrant families, two-year old sets of new teeth and new smiles that can’t make a dollar, can’t provide for themselves…

The cheapest food I can think off is a giant sack of rice from the Korean grocery but you have to have the mental capital to know that. To the exhausted, poor, overworked American purple hearts, it’s more likely your head goes to white bread, 25 cent chicken ramen, dollar menus at the fast food joint.

There’s privilege in affording to choose vegetarianism, even more in the energy to make that choice.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans … are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.” – Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

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Coffee Log, Day 86

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Honduran, Trader Joe’s brand

Last night I talked to a teacher. She said: “Where’s the storm?” She was talking about rain but I figured she might have meant the Teachers’ March. Yesterday, thousands of NC teachers marched on Raleigh. They’re underpayed, undervalued, underfunded, full of fire; I can attest to all that, I used to be one.

Last night’s teacher was also a waitress. She also ran two small businesses and when we asked about the rally – if she was there – she looked ashamed to say she wasn’t. She was happier to recommend a Red Oak that I drank greedily. I thought about her from the beginning to the end of the pint. She was younger than me. She was all smiles. She probably worked harder than I’ve ever worked. Her blood and soul was marching without her.

There’s a particular privilege in having the resources to fight. Without those resources, the world doesn’t see you, but you’re no less worthy of respect. I hope last night’s teacher goes to sleep knowing her own power. I imagine that’s exactly what she’ll do.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” – Alexander the Great

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