Alright, so not everyone is a fan of the poo poetry. I get it. It’s vulgar and crass and not the greatest demonstration of a writer’s prowess with the written word. For some though, it is funny. Toilet humor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and maybe I’m relegated to the low-brow set of people but that’s okay, I enjoy many forms of human expression. Artful expression that makes you think, makes you cringe, makes you laugh, makes you cry or forces a deep emotional reaction (positively or negatively), is a worthwhile endeavor for any writer. And I am a writer of many things and many styles. But in answer to some, for whom which my poetry isn’t entertaining, I created this post yesterday and scheduled it for today, it’s a little lengthy but I hope it entertains those who find, my poo poetry profane.
Space for Cream preview:
The day begins like everyday. The pain is the same and so is the medicine. And the work is the same, just in a different place. And in this place the sound of the fog horn accompanies me in the early morning as I go about the small studio, making sure she’ll have everything she needs. The stillness is interrupted by the creaking floorboards and the deep bass of the fog horn. Her damp pale skin glistens in the moonlight, like a scene from a terrible drama. It’s the last thing I see every morning before I leave for work.
Locking the door behind me, I step out into the somber early pre-sun morning. Fog-blanketed streets greet me, glowing from the shrouded streetlights. The heavy mist muffles the echo of my footsteps as I walk down the street. The entirety of The City lies quiet; it’s denizens sleeping. The deep blaring of the horn interrupts the quiet for a moment before slowly fading away. It feels like the heartbeat of the city, pulsing along at a steady pace. I thought I would hate it at first, that I would come to despise it’s wall penetrating power. But I do not. Instead I find it comforting. It’s necessity, it’s permanence, it’s longevity—the simple yet unrelenting fact that it is far older than me and that it will live far longer sits well in my stomach as it shakes my bones.
The power of it softens little by little as I continue down the street. The marine layer has a metallic taste as it passes through to my lungs. How many carcinogens are entering my body through this thick ground cloud? I do not know but I’ll add to them with a cigarette. Each one I light sparks a small fire of guilt that threatens to consume me. She nevers says anything. Even her eyes are absent of judgement. And I find that to be worse than if she were mad at me.
I should quit, but I don’t want to. They comfort me. They pull me in as I pull on them to inhale. The sensation of the smoke filling my lungs engulfs my mind and I feel free to think, to dream, to imagine. Where will I get these moments if I quit? When will I be still for just ten minutes, to think or to not? Will I ruminate on the things that bother me or take off in my imagination to worlds unoccupied by work, war, politics and struggle? I am afraid to find out. So I keep smoking as my feet take me through the shrouded streets to the glowing green sign identifying my store.
The siren looks down, beckoning me and others. Apron in hand, I snuff out my dreams and unlock the door. They’re coming, and soon. Coffee makes the world go round and I make the coffee. Welcome to the day world, here’s your hand-crafted cup of addiction all dressed up and ready to go. I hope it meets your highly specialized needs. I hope it helps apply your veneer of congeniality. I hope it gets you going. And I hope it gets you out. Good morning, and all that.
John watches me as I unlock the door, leaning sleepily against the window with his headphones still playing whatever electronic funk/soul/hiphop band he’s currently into. I like opening with John. We have an unspoken agreement: Do not break the silence. Neither of us want small talk at 4:15 in the morning; we’ll have plenty of it later with our customers. Instead, he’ll stay plugged into his ever-expanding collection of music and I’ll use the mundane tasks of readying the store to divert my attention from my dying girlfriend. It’s a solid pact that works for us both.
The quiet yet piercing beeps from the alarm await my passcode to silence them. 6367 informs ADT that all is well; the baristas are here. Stacked up almost head high are the shallow yet wide plastic crates holding the day’s pastries. John reaches thin long arms up to the top and pulls down the first layer. For the next thirty minutes, his plastic-enveloped hands will sort and shelve the completely unhealthy sweet and flaky morsels. It’s my least favorite task and I’m glad it’s no longer mine. I busy myself instead with counting the money in the safe and in the registers, recording all the little numbers in our giant record book that is ever expanding with stapled bank receipts and timesheets.
With the money finished and John well into his pastry organization, I start to grind the coffee. It’s a simple task of weighing out the beans and dumping them into the grinder before placing them into the brew basket and flipping the brew switch. And it is an enjoyable task. The whirring of the burrs as they grind the beans mixes with the rich aroma pouring out, creating a pleasant sensory experience that fits well with the pre-dawn quiet and stillness. My mind is blissfully blank as I repeat the process two more times. This is my favorite moment of the day. The simple pleasure of doing a simple yet precise task that rewards my ears, my eyes, my nose and my mouth with the—BANG BANG, BANG.
I turn to the window. A small bald man stops banging on the glass and mouths the words, “Are you open?”
I look at John to see if he’s noticed. He has and he looks at me, continued disbelief and slight exasperation written all over his face. I shake my head and we both turn back to look at the man who is now trying to both pull and push open the very clearly locked door. He raps against the glass door with his pudgy hands and repeats his unheard question. He is met with unyielding expressions.
Up until this moment we had been both pleasantly separate, enjoying a shared solitude of tasking. But now our bald patron has linked us together with his idiocy. We are now a team and we are now ready to defend ourselves against the oncoming wave of the in-need masses.
“Do you think he saw the sign?”
“I do,” I reply.
“So is he of the mindset that it doesn’t apply today or just not to him?”
“I think he sees us and thinks that all we do is walk in here, flip on the lights and bam! the coffeehouse is ready to serve him.”
John sighs and says, “I don’t think he saw it.”
“The real question is whether or not he’ll be mad when we open the door after ignoring him.”
As we both blatantly refuse to look at him, turning back to our tasks, he bangs a little more insistently. I’m lucky in that my back is turned to him while I continue to grind and brew the drip coffee for the day. John however, can see him clearly through the glass of the pastry case as he loads it with tray after tray. “One of these days,” says John, “someone is going to bang on the door in need of help. And I’m going to stand in here apathetically and do nothing about it while I load this damned case.”
“I doubt it.”
“Really? How many times have you seen me actually check on what a door-buster wants?”
“None,” I reply. “But I’ve also never seen anyone banging on the door that seemed to be in genuine distress.”
“I guess. Though this guy looks a little distressed.”
“Distressed with the need for caffeine, yeah. In serious trouble from something? No.”
“I’d just like one day where this doesn’t happen.”
“Those days come along now and then.”
“Too few and far between.”
Shutting off the grinder, I put the last batch into the brew basket and slam it home. Time to warm up the espresso machines. “You ever work on the La Marzoccos?” I ask.
“Well, that answers my question.”
“What’s a La Marzocco?”
“It’s the brand of manual espresso machine we used to use.”
“Ahh, like all the other coffee shops have.”
“They look complicated and like they take way too much time and effort.”
“They do, but they make a much better shot of espresso.”
Laughing, he retorts, “Our customers don’t give a shit about good espresso. They want quick, consistent drinks loaded with sugar.”