balanced in the hand the narrow spout up-lifted
pouring through the filter
in the second filter—
white swirls of art
to the following eye
of the one who pours,
steadily and slowly
to hear the sound
of the pouring—
and be the one
who does this
with grave intensity
and peaceful repetition
of keeping the hand steady—
letting the filter receive and the cup fill
In the mornings she wanted
her small blunt cup with the
a soft matte white,
no design or picture,
no cute wording—
a silent cup
that she admired
for its unobtrusiveness—
a small white cup that would
gleam and be warm in her hands.
BURNING INCENSE FROM CHINATOWN
So I am sitting here
on this chilly Friday
burning incense from Chinatown,
trying not to turn the heater on.
It will be hot today.
But this morning
I am surviving in sweaters
and cups and cups of coffee.
A draft from the door
musk-scent away . . .
twin lines of smoke,
lifting and breaking as I watch,
twine curving patterns in the air.
The gray ash tower
(though I have not breathed upon it)
falls from its tiny coal.
Not enough to warm its own life.
(Or mine, I smile.)
Black Mood Number Seven
of chin on hand
cold mouth . . .
no doubt . . .
(prev. pub. in Brevities, 2005)
ON THE MORNING OF SUNDAY, MID-QUARREL
You bring me a cup of
It is almost
this new line
these typewritten pages
these published books
until the table is
covered with coffee cups and
soft gray ashes—
no place for food,
TARIANCE AT A SMALL SIDEWALK CAFÉ
Eating a white dessert, all by myself,
with small red bites of strawberries in it
—rich as a sugar—disguised in many
ways. I savor
the treat, melting against my tongue.
Outside : the threat of rain—
not here yet—at this gray window
with its ominous gathering of clouds
and glassy blur of people. Sated, I linger
over my cup of lukewarm coffee.
Every day I try to diet. When I am thin
again, I may forgive the obesity of tears.
Sarcastic-toned and smiling, biting with her eyes,
friendly way as, yesthankyou, they accept
(prev. pub. by Nanny Fanny, 2001)
TODAY THAT IS MUCH LIKE THE OTHERS
There is a tear in the world that fits you—
like a mind-rip made of cynical regret
that you stir like bitter coffee, as though you
forgot the sugar, or refused the sweetness.
Some days you like the gray air that
surrounds you. You linger against the tide
of going through it—turning cold where
every gray thought gets through, and nothing
gets sewn back together. Life is raw
today. The tear widens and you must not
add to the tearing which is bloodless.
You accept the wound as you always do
as part of its condition—and you shudder
like a knife-rip that goes through you.
A FLY FOR EMILY
Does the fly remember death in its little struggle
in the dregs of a bedside coffee cup, or in the
floating ceiling web, or caught between the screen
and window glass
in summer—or even winter when there’s no chance
of an opened window, there with the withered moth
and the crosshatch view—does the fly remember?
I lift my eyes to Mother’s
above my coffee cup,
my hands arthritic,
needing to be coaxed
Hands around my cup
and close my eyes
then lift my look
to Mother’s 5 x 7 gaze.
Her young face.
(prev. pub. in No Name Newsletter for Poets, 1991)
Tangle of hairpins
in a coffee jar . . .
and your hair so short now,
your thrift so valuable.
Thank you, Joyce Odam, for poems about coffee (our recent Seed of the Week) and the ways it weaves itself into our lives, like it or not ~ !
Our new Seed of the Week is “Dry Leaves Underfoot”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to email@example.com. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.