Black Coffee

I love to live in memory. I swim in it like a kiddy pool, safe from the world. I love the memories of beginnings more than endings, but I’ll get my kicks where I can.

The past is always more simple. There was only one way in, and there is only one way out. All roads lead to now. If two roads diverge in that yellow wood, there is only one traveled. Does it make a difference how the past went besides that it brought you here? Does it make a difference where we came from as long as we are who we are now? If there was no past and we were in the now, what would be different? Why not erase the whole damn thing?

And yet, in the face of the abstract and its etch-a-sketch quality, I’m wary to shake it up just yet. There’s that tiny bit of past that makes up for the whole thing… those memories you remember with the fondness called “missing.” In the meal of life, those fond memories are like the cashews in the jar of mixed nuts (testagina); never enough, but they always keep you digging. They are so insignificant, and yet rule you even today in the most mundane of things.

I miss the poetry nights with open mics and high school crowds that don’t know Rimbaud from Rambo. I miss the days when squinting your eyes and swaying with the beat of your impromptu slam made you deep and mysterious. I miss when coffee was transcendental.

I drink mine black now, as plain and strong as can be. Sometimes I think it’s like moving on to a stronger drug; the heroin of baristas. I shoot up looking for that age-old fix that time has glorified and life has tainted. Swirling in the black cup I see a web of people, places and sex that I can never let go and never find again. There are no battles across a chessboard at 4am these days. There is no sand to draw the line in, to demand of the lost boys to stand with Pan. There is no going back to memory, to childhood wonder. It is the most powerful of all magics, and the most fleeting.

I scribble down my frustrations in a pen low on ink, hoping the tearing paper will soak up what I can’t squeeze into my poetry. It is all a spell, a magic cast upon the page, buried in the chanting words, in the action of the pen and paper, and present in the mind of the reader. It is powerful, adept, refined, and empty. There are no readers anymore. Like a tree in the woods, the great oaks grew tall for no reason. As soon as the branches were out of reach, the children stopped playing. And now it falls, without a sound.

When we are children, we think childish thoughts. When we became men, we lost that power, but gained a new friend. The best friend of all old men: “memory.”