Coffee Log, Day 134


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


Coffee Log, Day 125


Coffee: Fair Trade Ethiopian Medium Dark, Harris Teeter Brand

There’s nothing quite like a summer rain. Big bank of clouds – hold me, have me, swallow me.

I almost touched a gorilla once. I was at the zoo. The gorilla was an alpha, a silverback. He was at the glass and who knows what he was thinking. There were loud families. I was three. I breathed on the glass and fogged it up. I put my hands out and then he put his hands out and we palmed together, just the glass to separate. A couple years ago, they shot a gorilla for doing a little bit more.

I imagine the silverback would have done more if he had the option. Mammal blood is violent. Millions of years ago – when the earth was upending, dinosaurs dying – our rat ancestors got by on snatched eggs and caught bugs. White teeth, bristles, snarling. We’re not too far from that. So I’ve got no illusions that the magic was held in place by a few inches of stiff glass. When my mother tells the story, lovingly, she sees the perfect days of the ’90’s, hot blessed summers, Berlin’s wall fallen and a bunch of plexiglass put in its place.

A few decades on, the walls have gone up again. The Supreme court has voted for prejudiced immigration policies; the HHS is stalling on family reunification. We see each others’ thin whiskers and starved eyes; scarce water in a desert we’re all too eager to spill blood over.

But there’s nothing quite like a summer rain. Big bank of clouds – hold me, have me, swallow me; drive sixty by Jordan lake; windows down, peat odor; the sun’s silver back has the water and there’s only the car, the road, the small bank between us. Magic is made in men and women’s hands, but you have to trick yourself to hold it.

Currently Reading:

History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist)

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“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” – The Walt Disney Corporation