Coffee Log, Day 192

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s

An afternoon thunderstorm chased summer away. It was cool for a second, porch weather. I sat on the outside. The water went sideways, some got on me. Trees looked like port authority waving in ships; the gutters spewed like ballast water.

I tried to read a book, Ali Smith’s Autumn. Couldn’t get into it. It’s cheeky. It’s playful. The writing is impressive but in a self-aware way that turns me off. I put the book down and tried writing. I had a yellow legal pad and cheap pen. My father would scrawl notes on endless reams of yellow paper at his law practice. They’d take on their own lives. Late afternoons, playing in office corners while my parents finished work, I’d fence with envelope openers and follow the legal pad fairies into this or that crevice. I tried writing, but nothing came to me today.

Neighbors threw a party in the rain. I heard their umbrellas: ‘pat-pat-pat!’ They brought their kids and camped the gazebo. Kids played in puddles, pink and blue bathing suits. It was nice and busy. Their sounds went well with the storm.

It’s late now. The storm’s gone. I’m full of good food. I’ve had a few beers. Night sticks to me like a messy spiderweb.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

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“A little self-knowledge is a dangerous thing.” – Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

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Coffee Log, Day 178

Hi.

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

Midnight shows its teeth. Tar-paper, Saturday flies poking out of apartments. L left an hour ago, the place stills smells like him, clothes in the rain. My roommates are up to something – two separate somethings, separate rooms, wind-downs. My new fan takes up all the unwanted space in the room.

A thunderstorm hangs on to the town’s outskirts, wetting the skin of whoever’s dumb or desperate enough to be out in it. It blew over hours ago and washed all the birdshit off the cars. Fertilizer; the green grass gets even greener after the bad stuff sinks down.

Fuzzy – marginal headache, persistent itches, stiff fingers, blender thoughts. A normal bedtime for halfway-through-28, head in arrivals but body inching toward departure, the kind of eminence Caesar saw when he stared at Alexander’s statue.

There are three lost geese stuck on the greenest grass beside our creekbed. Leftovers from a northern migration, they’re waiting it out til Autumn. When the flock comes back, they’ll get to see if they still recognize themselves. Tonight, I hope they’ve found dry branches.

Invisible moon, eyelid stars. Together, anxious morning.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“The clouds were disappearing rapidly, leaving the stars to die. The night dried up.” – Andre Breton

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Coffee Log, Day 163

Hi.

Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

She says she’s running the Libertarian ticket for county treasurer; says the Repub incumbent has been embezzling. She says she believes in Capitalism when it works, Socialism when it works, but it never works so she wants small government. Tomorrow, she’ll canvass for a different Libertarian. I tell her I knew a guy at Duke who repped the party, she didn’t recognize the name. Things change. Politics changes. She grew up in Apex and ran the list of all the small businesses she’s watched close.

I’m working a corner of Cary I didn’t know existed. It’s way West, way North, close to Morrisville. There’s a McDonald’s, a dry cleaner’s, a local Mexican chain. It rained all day. New roads – and these were new – look pewter in a storm. I got caught in it taking lunch at the Mexican. A white guy went by on bicycle. He was making laps. He was five years my junior. He looked like someone who was promised a whole lot and given a little less.

I talk to a biker who’s going to Ireland. Says it rains here, rains there, who gives a… His son’s getting married. Expensive wedding. I talked to another father who’s going to Paris. His son plays soccer international, has a game against a world-class club. Son’s 19, dropped out of college for this. Dad says he turns his friends down for parties, hasn’t had a drop of alcohol. Dad says he started a dream at 7 and now he kicks the ball. “That dedication is what I’m proud of, not the sport.”

She says she’s engaged, says her fiance’ works retail, says they’re worried but not too worried. A pretty couple, lip-locked under tip-cupped summer thunderstorms. Free like the runoff; small government.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Here beyond men’s judgments all covenants were brittle.” – Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

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Coffee Log, Day 159

Hi.

Coffee: Americano from Caribou Coffee; it was lukewarm but the summer day made up for it.

A busy day. I took work off, planned PTO. There’s a wellness program that gives a credit on insurance. It requires a quick physical – just some measurements, a blood sample. I scheduled the physical for today.

The place was hard to find. It was a diagnostics shop, a number in a big office building. I circled the building a few times without finding it. An old couple almost backed into me. Finally, I took a chance on an unmarked door. It took me to a foyer, some elevators. The diagnostic place had a name marked on the second floor.

I don’t like getting my blood drawn. Something about a needle in my veins, my own heart pumping the blood away. In high school I donated, I guess I was tougher then. Maybe age has made me squeamish; maybe I’m too aware of all the ways my heart could stop.

Otherwise, the day’s been good. I finally saw a thunderstorm. It didn’t last long, but it was good company as I put the finishing touches on a short story. I’ll be submitting it to journals so I can’t post it here for a while, but something to look forward too?

I’m off tomorrow too. Vacation, vacation, the days pump out voluntarily.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we’re opened, we’re red.” – Clive Barker

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Coffee Log, Day 134

Hi.

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

For a long time the most foreign place in the world was the Asheboro, NC Zoo. I went there on school trips and with my parents. The trips with my parents were better; we told safari stories.

There’s lots of problems in the world and somewhere about the lower-middle of the list is humanity’s treatment of animals. Zoos are a part of that. For its measure, Asheboro does well enough. It gives more land to its animals than any other zoo in the US. It funds conservation.

It wasn’t always so good…

In the African exhibit there’s a big glass building that used to smell like monkey. These days it’s where they have tanks of fish, creeping spiders, scant birds. Back then, the center was a walled-off, indoor meshed tower fifty feet high. It had a giant concrete tree. It was home to apes and monkeys.

I remember their screaming. Excited, angry, glad, the whole gamut. The monkeys were a loud bunch. They’d swing broad and give a show – for each other, really, but we observed. The ceiling was so high and the skylight was frosted so the room was always this bright, tropical gray. That and the artificial humidity, the monkey’s screams, the stink that was so close to sweat between a man or woman’s legs, but still a little foreign, a little violent – to me, that pavilion was the most foreign place in the world.

On my daily walk around the apartments a thunderstorm takes. Blue’s gone, sweaty smooth clouds; every tree goes this-that way, the bark creaking, leaves screaming, braced for the confines of a heavy storm; I walk fast to avoid the rain.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Catch him down bad, beat him with a bat, hashtag that (yeah).” – Young Thug, Harambe

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Coffee Log, Day 62

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand; I’ve been hooked to one coffee lately, not so much by preference as convenience.

Rain’s on the forecast from this evening through Wednesday. I can smell it. I’ve always liked storms. My father would take me out to watch them. My mother would protest. In a house full of dogs, half were shaking and half barked the thunder to submission.

A cloud’s shape and color can contain a lot of memories.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

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“April showers bring May flowers.” – Colloquial American Consciousness

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Coffee Log, Day 54

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

The storm’s been coming like an Amtrak passenger train – that is, slowly and with lots of disruptions.

My downstairs neighbors invited me on a walk. It was a nice day. The kid cracked jokes and mostly cracked herself up. We got talking about the ways the Triangle’s changed. We ate ice cream below a beautiful arbor grown with vines that my neighbor said she would lie down and look up at forever. A pretty good day.

As of the writing this, the storm still hasn’t broken. The sky’s that perfect color like ‘you don’t have to go anywhere or be anything but what you are.’

Currently Reading:
Nothing! Will pick a new book this week.

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“In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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