Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 165

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

All of us thought there’d be a storm. We heard it on the weather; common gossip on customer’s lips. And for a while it looked like the sky would crack like torn-up asphalt, but in the end the clouds cleared.

Every so often I go back to Greece. Not physically, of course. We got caught in showers coming down Mt. Olympus. They slicked up the ice toward the top and made it run. I wonder if that ice is still up there? The world’s a lot warmer than it used to be.

I walked by our apartment pool and it was full of people sun-bathing. Or drowning the week’s worries under five feet of water. They looked like skinned fishes in a Saturday market. They had pocks on their backs and matted hair. One family had a dog.

I like the sound a storm makes just before it arrives. The whip of air. Frantic quiet.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Older Fags and Younger Fags, Like Legally Young. Daddies. Zeus and Ganymede.
Ganymede was a child, Ziggy schooled her.
Yeah, You Were There, Michelle retorted, On Mount Olympus. You Were Working the Door. You Carded Ganymede.

Michelle Tea, Black Wave

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 150

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

The sky got so dark today it felt like we’d made a pillow fort, hiding under until our parents got home.

Thunderstorms – there’s nothing quite like them to jog you. You could be buried in the deepest office and still hear the sky crack and clouds shake open. And watching the rain come down reminds you what it takes to grow.

We rode out the storm for three hours this afternoon while the power went in and out. The bank got dark then brighter. I was helping a woman open a checking account and tried to hurry. No luck. When we were done, she was facing the full faucet of the storm.

Now it’s cooler. The rain scooped the heat out. And we’ve already forgotten a week of hundred degree weather, content to chirp with the frogs all evening, reveling in something comfortable, and that’s okay, as long as we wake up tomorrow without forgetting what it as like to be bone-dry and half-starved, that the world is still just one week away from roasting, that we’re responsible, like it or not.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Why the Egyptian, Arabic, Abyssinian, Choctaw? Well, what tongue does the wind talk? What nationality is a storm? What country do rains come from? What color is lightning? Where does thunder go when it dies?

Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

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

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 80

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I drove across town today for a meeting. You could see the places where we’d had hail. Yesterday, a big storm blew through intermittently, pummeling roofs and cars. When it left, it had sucked all the summer heat up and left brisk wind.

Later, I cooked black beans and rice for dinner. I spent an hour chopping vegetables. My hands still smell like lime. I watched the blue sky from the kitchen window, shivered when the wind would blow. That big empty space storms leave in the summer.

Now, a little past my bedtime, I try to rest.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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She awaits the rain like a writer embraces metaphors,
A drizzle isn’t for the child who dances in the storm.
Of rain that washes away the petrichor it brings,
A downpour of a hail of bullets, and she calls it spring.

Sanhita Baruah, The Farewell and other poems

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 51

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place from an Automatic Dispenser in the Apartment lounge; I’ve been needing to clean my coffee maker; I’ve had it almost a year and it’s showing it’s age; but I didn’t have vinegar (and I’m procrastinating buying any) so today I got coffee from the lounge; it comes in one of those machines you stick a cup under and wait; it reminds me of a hospital; I poured too much in the cup and had to dump some in the sink; in the end, the coffee tasted like time spent waiting for surgery.

Countdown to my reading as featured author at the Third Wednesday Open Mic:
WHERE: Fig Raleigh, Raleigh NC
WHEN: 04/17/19; 6:30p.m. (open mic sign-ups start at 6:00p.m.)
DAYS REMAINING: 3
Come out and support the Coffee Log!

All day has been threatening to storm. There’s weather reports from Georgia that tornadoes are touching down. We’ve been waiting to see them here.

I had a long dinner at the The Remedy diner. I ate fake chicken and real cheese. A mix of identities. The restaurant was less busy that I usually see it but it was still bustling. The waiters couldn’t keep up with the orders.

Walking back to the car, I overheard a woman at a nearby bar. She said “Well my mom’s a Leo.” I got thinking about symbols and a friend told me he liked to put it this way: “At it’s best, astrology is just a series of tools to help you understand something about yourself.” That made a lot of sense to me.

I was writing for four hours today. I was writing about a place I haven’t been. My images of it are based on a real building in downtown Durham, and by the time I was finished writing about it, my memories had shuffled around. Like constellations passing with the season, Durham didn’t look the same inside me anymore.

Right now, there’s two branches reaching around the side of our apartment and tapping. They sound like bent fingers, or maybe a couple carrots. That means the wind is picking up so we might have some tornadoes after all. I close my eyes and see the parking lot devoured by a storm. When I wake up tomorrow and walk across it, will it be the real pavement or my imagination that holds under my feet?

Novel Count: 38,047

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night


Coffee Log, Day 265

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Everyone was poking around in coats today. Meanwhile, in California, half the state burns.

I grew up in a household obsessively haunted by weather. My dad would walk outside in thunderstorms. We had a dog that would hide from rain.

But my mother was the focal point for the family’s weather ups and downs. She’d be up late watching documentaries on this or that super storm. Sometimes, she’d watch the weather channel on repeat. Any hint of bad rain and there her hands would go, wringing.

I remember this one time there was a tornado at my elementary. First the lights cut, then the glass was shaking, finally we were in the hall and under our own backpacks on the cold, hard linoleum floor. A lot of kids were crying. The assistant principal was holding the blown-open doors. But I’d watched a hundred disaster films with my mother so I was ready. This was Christmas, a celebration, something wonderfully inevitable. We would all get swooped up and tossed a thousand miles. Nothing could be more comfortably certain.

Sometimes I think there’s a bravery in staring long and hard at the things that scare you. It’s a messy sort of courage – a lot of fits and worries, 2 am texts to your adult son when there’s a national weather warning – but still brave. Can’t look at a horror and call it something else, but you can choose to look at it all the same.

I’ve learned a lot of things from my mother.

Novel Count: 8,742 words

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

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“In any democratic, civilized – even non-democratic nations, if you are a nation, it means to say that in our case, if there’s a hurricane in Louisiana, the people of Vermont are there for them. If there’s a tornado in the Midwest, we are there for them. If there’s flooding in the East Coast, the people in California are there for us.” – Bernie Sanders

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Coffee Log, Day 246

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

In between dinner with you I hear the rain. It’s on the roof, the windows. It’s flooding the creek. It sounds like a velvet bag of go pieces. White and black, perfect round, picked up and let back through your fingers. It feels good to drop something and know you can pick it up again.

There’s a white and black cat in the neighborhood, no-one knows her name. She stalks the other cats but strays from people. Once, she let me pet her, but just because it was okay once doesn’t mean it ever will be again. I got home and popped my umbrella. It was cold, wet, windy, the wind tried taking everything from my hands. On the switchback to my second floor apartment, I saw the white and black cat. She was sitting on the rail catching balance. She wasn’t doing a good job of it on account of the rail being slick. It was the least graceful I’ve seen her. Fat paws tossed like woks. I fell in love.

I said: “Kitty!” and “Hey!” It took her attention. Two black eyes, carbon on its way to diamond, the cat threw caution and grace behind her and leapt off the rail to get away. I was a little worried so I looked down. She was fine. Last I saw, she was chasing dry spots in the rain.

Now, in the bedroom, listening to music, I don’t hear the storm.

I had a dream that someone I cared about was being chased. I tried to fight the chaser. My fists were putty and I just kept poking, prodding. They took off anyway. I’m sort of glad I didn’t hurt them. I don’t want to hurt much of anything. I’ll cut the sound and really listen. Autumn; a chill; rainfall; a lullaby.

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

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“Amanda took the torn page from Maniac. To her, it was the broken wing of a bird, a pet out in the rain.” – Jerry Spinelli; Maniac Magee

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