Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 206


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 115


Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

It’s burned in my brain – a dark bar, or a cabin on an asteroid far in the future, with star drunk skies either way, a beer, a cigarette, piano music, two sheets of paper, mid-sentence letters, a suitcase, displaced ambition. I grew up watching sci-fi series and reading jazzy books. I can’t help believing that all roads lead to the same place, a dark bar, or…

I’m still low. A persistent hangover, though I haven’t had a drink. I wake up tired and go to sleep antsy. But I’m not upset. These things happen. And you learn a lot when you’re off point.

But the short of it is: that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve got the same fixed dreams of anonymous tar smoke spinning in orbit. Of crossing your legs at the edge of a deep, gluttonous ravine. It’s what I have to offer. Forgive me, but I hope it’s enough.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

The most important thing is not to work on things that other people are working on because otherwise all you’ll do is get the same result as everybody else and you won’t make any discoveries, you’ll just confirm what’s already known.

David Jewett, On Asteroids – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, BBC

Coffee Log, Day 149


Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema

I fished this DVD out of our dry creekbed, ‘8 count abs.’ I threw it in the trash because a fish with a six-pack just ain’t right.

The things we throw away… I’ve wasted lots of things. Some of it was junk, some precious. I’ve got this vivid memory of a high school romance who used to fall asleep on my leg. The show would end, sun came down, she’d still be sleeping and I’d get so antsy – like, if I didn’t move, I’d be watching roots grow out of me – that I’d squirm until she woke up. What a simple moment. The older I get, the more I miss the clean, simple moments.

I met a guy today I’ve heard bad stories about. They call him rough, loud, arrogant, mean, difficult. He was all those things but I think he was mostly trying hard to make up for something. He drove a brand new Acura and was trying to buy a house. He told me his parents had only ever rented.

I had a list of discounts when I got hired that I could opt in to. One was a sizeable credit off my insurance if I declared I wouldn’t be smoking. I didn’t check the box. I’ve only smoked four things in my life, all one-dollar cigarillos, and haven’t had one since winter. I don’t have any plans to smoke again. Still, checking away the freedom to burn something up inside me wasn’t worth the money. I need my lungs to remember what it’s like to tingle.

That last time I smoked, I’d just broken the handle off my favorite blue mug. We sat in the cold, arms on legs on arms, passing the cigarillo, dipping pink ash into the empty, broken blue.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

sat there
in the morning.” – Charles Bukowski, from when you wait for the dawn to crawl through the screen like a burglar to take your life away


Coffee Log, Day 97


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s brand

I stood on the bridge in the rain and thought about smoking something (I didn’t) then I thought about drinking something (I didn’t) then I thought about writing something (I did).

I’ve only smoked four cigars. Tobacco has been in my blood since birth. Well, probably before birth. I’m a North Carolina boy. The pride and prejudice of tobacco leaf grew my home. Pride in the gaunt Southern swagger of smoking something strong on a hot summer porch; prejudice in the bloody hands my ancestors forced to pick it.

Fire’s in my blood.

I think that being Southern means being the most proud, arrogant bastard standing below the sun; I think that being white Southern means an unreachable sin, a wretching guilt, and the knowledge that the day you’re born your heart is already six-feet deep below black-brown soil.

And we smoke that fear away.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

“I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”- Flannery O’Connor