Tag Archives: coffee

Coffee: A Steamy Love Affair

Coffee Poet.jpg

Those who know me know that I love coffee. Those who don’t know me can easily guess, thus far, that I have a moderate fondness for coffee. To be clear, I’m not picky; I like tea, cocoa, water, smoothies, milkshakes, juice. But coffee has a special place in my life.

I had my first cup in my high school cooking class. During one of the baking sessions, our teacher turned on the coffee pot near my station while our muffins were still in the oven. That’s when I had my first cup of caffeinated hot brown acidic water, filled with cream and sugar like most first-timers. After a while, I started drinking coffee whenever I cooked, then every morning, then every morning and afternoon, then several times a day. For a while, I got headaches when I didn’t consume any caffeine by 10:00 AM.

I’ve since become less addicted. I once considered giving it up for Lent but decided that not even Jesus would have gone that far. Nevertheless, I have cut back, and not just because I’ll probably have an ulcer by the age of twenty-six if I don’t.

There are coffee addicts and there are coffee lovers, and I want to be the latter. The difference between a violinist and someone with a violin is making every note a masterpiece. The difference between a chef and somebody who cooks every meal is mastering the kitchen’s tools and ingredients, and cooking with gusto rather than mere hunger. Anything can be an art, and the only way to become an artist is to inhabit a practice so fully that we infuse ourselves with it.

Everything about coffee is perfect to me, and if not I try to make it perfect. Espresso, lattes, dark roasts, light roasts, the smell of the beans, the feel of them in my fingers, the careful measurement of fresh grounds into the coffee pot, pouring the first cup, breathing in the scented steam before the first sip, and feeling it run down my throat hot and fresh, until it bounces around my stomach looking for a place to sit. I write with it; I read with it; I get to know people with it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly for me, which is likely why I haven’t slept since 2015.

What practice or hobby or food do you love? Let me know in the comments!

-jk

P.S. If you thought the title was cheap, consider all the other possibilities I had to work with. Drip coffee was only a starting place.

Writing on Game Day

The Mill It’s another game day in Lincoln, Nebraska. The city is dripping with redshirts (not the kind from Star Trek, but closer than you’d think) and people asking for tickets. It’s hot, dry, loud, and alive. There is energy and consumerism in Lincoln today. Parking here, fifty dollars! Hot dogs, popcorn, soda, beer! Families move through the streets as the day builds toward the big game. Parties, I’m certain, are in planning, if not already in mid-construction.

Currently I am not involved in the game day activities. It’s nothing personal, Nebraska, but I have work to do. I have a novel to write, several novels to read, essays to research, critiques to work on, and Renaissance comedies to struggle through. I have work for my research assistantship on top of my graduate classes, plus my ongoing attempts to write and publish.

I’ve tucked myself into a corner coffee shop downtown to caffeinate and induce sleeping problems. I’m going to spend the whole of game day here, watching the red sea of fans part against the street corner while rushing to complete the next section of my novel for workshop on Monday, then finish the 4,501 other projects I have (blogging notwithstanding, of course). I can’t afford to see a game, anyway. Four dollars for a cup of coffee and a scone is better than fifty for a ticket. Even if I watched the game, I wouldn’t particularly care who won. I’m told we’re having a bad season, but I couldn’t tell you a single score. It’s nothing personal, Lincoln; fandom just doesn’t suit me.

-jk

How to Buy an Authentic American Autumn

I wrote a snarky poem about autumn, because autumn is just around the corner, and I love being snarky.

Leaf

How to Buy an Authentic American Autumn

I used to stand in line waiting
for pumpkin-induced espresso drinks
made from soy, sodium, soil, soylent green,
and other ingredients I can’t pronounce.

Then I’d wear a scarf made by small hands
somewhere in Thailand or Haiti,
hands thin and gnarled as roots,
the scarf I bought at a mall for its Generic Fall Sale.

Ready for autumn, I’d find a bench.

There, I would listen to a mechanized tree
whirr and beep above me
as it produced authentic autumn leaves ©
from shoots in its plastic branches,
letting them fall on an artificial wind stream,
each one a perfect shape, each one flat,
made by a cookie cutter in a factory
somewhere in the Midwest.

I used to drink and wear and feel
all that was required of me,
looking at pumpkins
with supermarket smiley faces
lining the curb every five feet
as leaves made from condensed paper
littered the street and bench and my lap.
The chill in the air, of course,
was from a pill that created the chemical sensation
of a perfect autumn breeze, crisp and cool and scented
very faintly with ginger and cinnamon,

the way all wind naturally smells,
according to the label on the bottle.

Only when an authentic autumn became too expensive
did I see the mess of curled, earthen leaves
that crunched beneath my feet. Only then did I see
the wind rush through a girl’s hair
and tangle it with the orange scarf her sister knit,
the horrors of homemade pumpkin pie
served fresh with strong black coffee,
and the abomination of smoke
lifted on the wind when the home fires glowed after sunset.

-jk

Poem by Keene Short 2014. Photo courtesy of Keene Short Photography. Thank you.