Friday, January 11, 2008

I like Ron Padgett almost as much as I like mocha lattes or Confessions of a Coffee Consumer.

I love to read the poetry of Ron Padgett. Coffee Corner got me thinking.

I fought with my caffeine habit for years. When I was pregnant with Julia I switched to a mixture of caf and decaf. With Jerzy I went all the way to decaf and beyond and by the time she was born I was caffeine free. Ten years. Then Starbucks came to the hood. Julia gave me sips of her yummy drinks, one sip led to another, I got buzzed and giddy. Then Kristara got a job there and, well, I'm hooked. I no longer fight it. I rather enjoy it, actually, now that I'm beyond the caffeine-induced,breaking-out-in-a-sweat-heart-palpitating-anxiety-attack stage.

Here's the part that weirds me out - not only are we a culture that eats at our desks, driving in the car, standing up, we no longer sit down for a cup of coffee. Coffee feels normal to me in a cardboard cup slurped through a tiny whole in a plastic top. I brew my morning tea in a real mug (albeit strangely with water heated in a microwave) but, not so my $4 afternoon mocha. I check the oblong-shaped opening with my tongue to make sure it's positioned just right before each pull, gulp it down with gusto and a few minutes later toss the cup into the garbage can overflowing with its friends.

A ritual is born. And it ain't your grandma's ritual.

Coffee Corner by Ron Padgett

The large bowls of coffee at breakfast in France,
the heavy porcelain cups in old American diners,
the disposable brown plastic cups in motel lobbies,

the feeling that you ought to drink the entire cup,
the slight resentment you feel at feeling this way,
the wondering why you do it then,

the gratitude for someone’s making the coffee,
the decision not to have a third free refill,
the surprise of a really bad cup of coffee,

the way it used to cost a nickel, then seven cents, then ten,
and now anywhere from sixty cents to three seventy-five,
sometimes a little more for decaffeinated,

the brown print of it drying on the cup’s lip,
the small amount left in the bottom,
the rest of it sloshing inside you,

sending its stimulation through tubes
in your body, hello, let’s go, we’re late, do
you have the keys, oh god I can’t find my wallet

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