Coffee Log, Day 248

Hi.

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

I was in line for an hour behind a short, pretty, blue-haired girl and a family of three. The family was a dad and two girls. The girls were reading books and blowing bubbles. The sun was out. Everyone looked comfortable. We were all waiting to vote.

For sixty minutes, it’s like I knew America again: the friend who moved, your favorite lunch in Elementary, the windows in the old office where you could watch crowds going down to the Subway, everything plain and normal but lovely, unabashed composure, five cents until the dollar that buys bread, hope, grit, confidence, respect. Whoever saw me saw a dumb big grin and eyes that were going everywhere. The kids peeked between their father’s arms. Blue-hair was talking priceless on her cell trying to pawn off an old car.

I’m in love with America, that thirsty love that sees water in a desert. It isn’t healthy, isn’t often returned, but unlike with the complexities of another person – a man or woman you’re pushing too hard to fit your dreams to – America belongs to me as much as I belong to it. It’s a self-love, a vanity, desiring the world to look like me on my best days instead of lost or hungover, wanting to pick up and dust his shoulders when he’s gotten down, wanting to reckon him to all the mistakes he’s made. Like nights on a bender, America gets away from me. But every now and then I catch up.

Early voting’s drawn record crowds in NC. People speak when you push them hard enough.

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

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“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Coffee Log, Day 225

Hi.

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

Friday pushes hard brakes. The week smashes the median and things fly out: stress, joy, muddles, that clean feeling of starting something new. Now there’s just the curb and the smoking engine. It’s a busy road but no-one’s stopping. All the other cars have their own wrecks to meet.

I’m working tomorrow. I’m also driving home. I’m also, surely, going to be glued to the news, both at work and at home, to see the country put on it’s best dress as it swears in 30-40 more years of patriarchy. People will gnash teeth. Protesters will be arrested. By all indications, Kavanaugh still takes the post. Here’s a guy who spent his precious hours allotted to advocating for his competency and composure by mocking alcoholics and ranting about beer. If you cut the Capitol out of the image you could imagine him in a blue or red jersey, laughing at the tail-gate, waiting for the opposing team to leave the stands so he could smash a bottle in someone’s face. And yet we treat him like a victim, like someone owed the most prestigious legal position in the nation.

And of course he is owed. It’s his birthright: rich, straight, white man, the bleak dragon that devours us all.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“After luncheon the sun, conscious that it was Saturday, would blaze an hour longer in the zenith,…” – Marcel Proust

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Coffee Log, Day 200

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s; Don’t know how much you miss something until it’s gone. I spent forty-five minutes this morning unboxing, washing, and testing the new coffee pot. It’s nothing fancy, but it makes a good cup.

A girl and her father went around the apartments sticking voter registration forms in everyone’s doors. When they got to mine, the girl looked in my window and our eyes locked. She’s thirteen, fourteen, pigtails only a kid could pull off. She had a blue dress. I was so surprised to see her I didn’t have time to smile so maybe that’s why she hid. It was comedy: I see her drop down below the windowsill; she’s walking like a prowling lion; two feet, four feet, ten – she’s at the door; I’m glancing over, trying not to spook her; she slips the registration form and runs away giggling.

When she was gone, I got wondering: was that an innocent fear – the kind that makes kids creep behind their parents’ legs in the super-stores – or was it something born of 2018, the kind of neighborhood fear that puts horns on pedestrians and ghosts in every window? I don’t know. It was pretty funny, pretty sad. I wanted to tell her ‘Good job.’ Hell of an American way to grow up, getting out the vote.

I’m already registered, was already planning to vote this November. Now I’m geared up again: let’s make a world where our kids feel safe and comfortable.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” – Abraham Lincoln

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Coffee Log, Day 120

Hi.

Coffee: Percolate from a Big Boxy Machine sitting in a Shell Station; it went through three cycles doing *something* before the coffee came out; I was late to work.

What’s a border, anyway?

Trump signed a premium-pulped bleached paper and now Family Separation’s supposedly over. There’s no concrete plan to reunite the kids though…

A couple months ago, when Duke’s VP of Student Affairs (Larry) got a couple kids fired for playing hip-hop in the campus Joe van Gogh (basically, fired for being and/or celebrating blackness), the school sent a letter out to us alumni talking about ‘big changes’ and ‘accountability.’ Two months later, if you go to Larry’s splash page there’s no mention of the incident; the school trundles forward; Joe van Gogh left the campus; their emails now read “get yourself ready for September’s Homecoming!”

Point is, words are only hot breath, paper’s just diminished trees, and without actions adding up to prove change you should never believe a man (or woman) with power.

What’s a border, anyway? I can drive to Virginia and no-one bats an eye. Flash my NC license at a bar and maybe I’ll get some stares. Try to vote without a residence – slap my wrists and send me packing! But if I were Brown-skinned, starved, holding my family to my chest like flowers on a wedding day, Brown-skinned, running from gun-barrels and empty cabinets, desert scabs on my feet, Brown-skinned – and I try to step from this bleak rock to that one on the Texas border?

Well, we all know how that ends.

Don’t be jaded – the signed order is proof of our voice, our power, we’re making them listen. But don’t stop shouting just because a fat blond man can use a pen.

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.” – George Orwell

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