Coffee Log, Day 169

Hi.

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

Blue Raspberry lollipop – it turned your whole mouth blue. Nephew of my coworker, the women show you off. Your mom was a drinker but you changed that. Your aunt talks tense phone-calls to laughter. Your friend – another coworker – has a strong southern accent.

How will you talk in 2035? You’ve got good parents, blond hair, blue eyes, but if you’re lucky – if we’re all lucky – those marks won’t have the same cache’ they do today. Will you spend fourth grade watching that one girl from the back of class, only to grab her hand in the lunch-line and kiss it, only to tell her that means you’re married, only to tell your parents and hear them laugh it off like ‘That’s what young men do.’ Will they teach you abstinence or responsible love?

In history books, white western men sin in the 100’s, fight in the 1000’s, conquer through the 21st century; they fight, kick, scream, spill blood until their hands are sticky enough to never drop the reigns. They don’t love, except voraciously; they don’t cry, except pathetically.

You walked behind the counter to get another lolly. I was there. I said: “High Five!” You were static smiles, so much innocent joy it got stuck on me. We smacked palms then you went running. I hope I gave you something. I spent twenty years making love to ill-gotten power, the next ten making up for that. I’m still making up for that. I hope you felt: brave; storied; vulnerable; open; powerless. I was born in the twilight of western white manhood. I’m fighting daily to make sure it dies. I hope you’ll never have to look at your naked limp body in the mirror and pick it down to honest sinews, take scalding showers to wash your grandfather’s sins. I hope you get to choose a good man, an honest man, an equitable man from the beginning.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“It is strange,’ he said at last. ‘I had longed to enter the world of men. Now I see it filled with sorrow, with cruelty and treachery, with those who would destroy all around them.’
‘Yet, enter it you must,’ Gwydion answered, ‘for it is a destiny laid on each of us. True, you have seen these things. But there are equal parts of love and joy.” – Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron
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Coffee Log, Day 111

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

Gray skies but it hasn’t rained. I’ve got my window open. I hear the two-tone of cars and crickets. Summer – ghost stories, according to Japan, and I get it – someone’s soul is liable to get lost in the bushy leaves.

School’s out. Lots of parents came by with their kids today. Most deposited a hundred dollars in a kids account. They were all white, all scrawny, a mayonnaise legion. I hope they’ll grow up to lock arms with a big, vibrant phalanx.

I think about story-telling. I’ve been running away from it since third grade when I stood up and answered a question in class, got it wrong, and was laughed at. Such a small thing, but it told me to shut up.

We stayed for two weeks at a camp off the coast of Hiroshima. There were dorms for us, dorms for the kids. One dorm was on a hill and the property owners wouldn’t touch it. Weeds, sheetgrass. Blue and white but faded, your grandfather’s photos of Santorini. On a mixed camp group – elementary to high school – I got stuck with the oldest, brightest, a group of five girls who spoke English with more character than me. We had a barbecue below the old dorms. The girls helped with the young ones, then we all went on a ghost hunt. I marched in front yelling “One, two, one, two!” Every kid was shouting with me. It was the most powerful I’ve ever felt. It was some of the only power I’ve ever felt good about feeling.

When we got up the hill, circled the old dorms, only old wind came to greet us. I’d like to think we scared the ghosts away.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

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“…I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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