Coffee Log, Day 139


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

In July, I start to wonder what winter will look like. In January, I think the same about July. I guess that means I’m restless. Ready to move or settle down – well, that changes by the day.

I got called to work a Durham Branch. I left in the morning feeling like I was going backwards. Durham’s got so many of my ghosts you’d think I was already buried there. I took 40 to 147 to 12B, one exit before the one I used to take when I went to see you, slicked on 12% romance; a habit of strong beers. Well, 12B put me in the same places – Downtown, Parker and Otis, the Bulls Stadium – until it ran me past them.

The branch was in a Northern corner of the city I hadn’t seen before. We passed the wealth. We passed the haunts where hipsters with fat wallets pretend their money’s thin. Trees gave up to grass lots, curved roads, places where you only cook with butter. Then all that vanished and there was a stretch that looked a lot like Cary. Two medical centers, neither associated with Duke. It was strange – blasphemous – and if I were a praying man I would have crossed myself.

I parked beside a Chipotle, a Chik Fil’A, everything vibrantly counted down into nickel rolls. I met two good people at the bank, then I met a few more. Our clients reminded me of my year teaching in the city – I could see PTA in all their eyes. With my new tie and banker’s credit, I felt like I was hiding something. I checked the old men and old women for hidden colleagues; I checked the young men and young women for former students.

October 31st, best mask, best mask. In the end I’m still free like public water; can’t stop flowing, but there’s a price paid in the bushes somewhere, tucked away.

“Hi, I’m Mr. Livesay, how can I help?”

At lunch, I walked around the lot. I found a nice strong tree. I stayed in its shade a while. When you look at me, Durham, tell me I’m not transparent – take me, love me, hold me, validate those years – but be honest with what you see.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves.” – Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls


Coffee Log, Day 42


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; Tastes watered down though I didn’t change the measurements. I’ve been drinking the same coffee for a week so maybe I’m getting too familiar with it. We all rush to watch the cherry blossoms on the first week of Spring; no-one pays attention to weeks two and three.

I took a walk. The sun was out and it was hot, a little humid. Pollen had everything turning yellow and green. I’ve made this walk many times since coming to live in Cary. I leave the apartments, cross the Parkway, snake through a hilly suburban road still raptured by the ’50’s, then cut to a tiny paved path that hugs the backyards of more picket-fence houses. There’s woods and a stream. At times, you forget you’re walking below a bunch of windows.

I stopped to take a picture of some pretty flowers by the Hindu temple. There was loud electronic music and girls in colorful clothes. A dad left his SUV running so that the AC would kiss him every time he came back for a round of boxes – and there were so many boxes. I watched the scene play out from the cover of purple flowers and finally guessed it must be a birthday party. Lots of ripe balloons, pre-teens, an optimistic girl walking her dog. It was a nice bit of community. I’m thankful for the tree that bought me time to watch.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

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“If lightning is the anger of the gods, then the gods are concerned mostly about trees.” – Lao Tzu


Coffee Log, Day 30


Coffee: Honduras, Cooperativa Rao

Sally the cat is stuck in a tree.

She’s a mottled gray cat. She has beautiful eyes. Once, she meowed outside my window at 11pm and rolled on the balcony while we pet her. Today, she’s meowing too. Me and my roommate got a big long ladder and tried to reach her. The tree was too tall. My roommate climbed a smaller tree with a can of tuna to tempt her. She didn’t bite.

As of now, Sally the cat is still in the tree. We left the can of tuna at the bottom. Another cat – I don’t know her name – is eating the tuna. Sally will come down when she’s ready.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

“One cat just leads to another.” – Ernest Hemingway