Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 202

Hi.

Coffee:  Publix Cafe Espresso; a rooster cup poured up to the top, six scoops in the percolator, strong like stink beetles, the way they crawl up walls and perplex cats; it was good, but I could only finish half of it

A few blocks from Music Midtown in Atlanta and fireworks go off – the kind you aren’t expecting, that are just as much someone shouting over the intercom in a grocery store as a celebration. It woke me up. Not literally, but all of a sudden we were outside.

I spent the day walking around downtown Atlanta. Never quite in it, just on the edges, so I couldn’t tell you what the city center looks like. Where I was was breezy. Old and new buildings sitting next to each other, poker players. We ate at a seafood restaurant but didn’t eat any seafood. There was a guy selling water from a water cooler but he had to drag it around because it had lost its wheels. Those sorts of things.

It’s late now. Somewhere near hear there’s some music playing, but I can’t hear it because my ears are still full of fireworks.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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But I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture.

Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From: New and Selected Stories

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 191

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

Two small frogs hopped off the sidewalk. Now they’re in tall grass.

It was a pleasant night. I got in the car and rolled the windows down. There’s a road that goes to north Cary, and another past a park. I took both then circled home. Driving, I listened to a punk album. Then, when the album was over, I listened to cars and windy trees. Even though it’s the 2nd of September the night’s still busy. Grasshoppers, cicadas.

I couldn’t decide who I was today. I looked through Facebook folders of old pictures. At 2:00, I read awhile, and at 3:00 I played games. I was alone, mostly. I drove to the grocery and when I came back I took a walk. Why didn’t I walk to the store? That’s what I mean – things weren’t connecting.

For a long time I used to labor on Labor Day. I was in retail, holidays are a busy time. When I talked to friends with desk jobs I got bitter but wouldn’t show it. Those were long days, mouth running like a motor, hands on clothes hangars or new books.

It was something real, though – when you put a store together it’s your store. The company takes your blood and money and time but they can’t take the magic of seeing things set in the order you gave them. Odd hours set you to a separate schedule – I used to wake up at 6:00am and have whole mornings before going to work.

Finishing up the drive, I heard something restless. A bird, maybe, or a squirrel. It shot off the ground and startled the bushes. Leaves in my rear-view, still moving.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

All of them had a restlessness in common.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 176

Hi.

Coffee: Bottled Cold Brew Coffee, Trader Joe’s Brand; for bottled coffee it had a good taste; hell, it had a good taste to cupped coffee too; quick like late nights you spend on the town; full-bodied as a stranger’s bed

I got in a drinking contest with a two-year old. He had a fizzy water and I had a beer. Every time he drank, he made this face that said ‘what is this,’ squinted eyes, wrinkled nose. Then he’d point at me and I’d take a swig of pale ale, doing my best impression of him. This went on a while. Finally, though, the kid beat me. I had to put the can down. When he saw I was finished, he pointed at me again, only this time he was laughing. Fair game, buddy – you won.

We went in the woods this morning, me and E. She was hunting mushrooms. I tried to be her spotter but all the ones I picked out were wrinkled with white maggots. It made me think I might be haunted – drawn to the dead decomposers, the ghosts of ghosts. It was hot in the morning but not too hot. There were other families in the woods. I watched a dad strap his daughter in a backpack and take off running. She bounced like a dropped coin all caught in the bar lights, bright and happy, two white teeth, no older than my drinking buddy.

At a table under a black locust tree you showed me videos of the two-year-old playing ‘freeze.’ He watched over your shoulder and smiled at himself. It made me wonder what it must be like to grow up knowing your moments are there to dance with at the press of play – that the slippery little details of who you are have been saved to record. His eyes went wide to shots of himself splashing in a tub. You held the phone like the suds might slip out.

Where’s all the heat go when nights rolls in? Does it board a train headed southbound, knock on crisp red doors in Florida suburbs, lounge around with a TV dinner drinking hot coffee? Does it stay awake in Caribbean state bedrooms, red-eyed and frustrated, seeing itself in a thousand stars that are too far to get in touch with? I don’t know.

Midnight comes in, old dead bark, growing mushrooms.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Like locusts shall they gather themselves together, the servants of the Star and the Snake, and they shall eat up everything that is upon the earth.

Aleister Crowley

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

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

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 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

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

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 130

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

The old creek-bed dried out. There was a dead snake at the head of the road. Now that the sun’s gone down, everyone’s coming out to walk their dogs, only the heat’s not done and the dogs are flustered, scared of the way the asphalt feels when it’s been cooked.

If your friend tells you the world’s not dying, you must smack them, aiming for the spot triangulated between their nose and eyes. If your partner tells you something similar, coax them to bed, and try to prove the world’s worth loving, breathing deep so you’re sucking up more of the hot carbon to prove your point.

This week, there were record-setting high temperatures in Europe.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 92

Hi.

Coffee: Black Drip, Waffle House; I had three cups and half of a fourth; I asked the waitress when she was going to get some rest; she said she’d gotten up at four when her twelve year old wanted to talk; she said she was working until 2pm but would be too wired to sleep when she got home; instead, she asked me to take a nap for her, and that that would be enough; I haven’t taken that nap yet; the coffee was woody like a whiskey that’s spent a long time on a dark, warm, dusty shelf.

I got lunch with an old friend at an old restaurant. She said it felt weird to meet again. I agreed. She ordered chicken soup with avocado slices and I got a veggie taco concoction with spinach and cheese. At first, I felt like I was floating on a body of deep water. I had my arms out, legs spread, focusing on every inch of my body to try and stay buoyant. Then an hour passed. And another. And I felt my limbs slip and my head pass under deep water, remembering why we were friends.

It’s nice to talk with a person that’s easy to talk with.

Currently Reading: NOTHING! will pick a new book soon

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

Reunions are the first day of school all over again. Time casts away familiarity and replaces it with warm confusion.

Stewart Stafford