Seattle, Washington, United States
For those who love coffee, poetry, art, or stories - stay. Have a cup with us.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

sunday sip: Endless Happiness

There is a song by the ever-talented, French-Israeli singer Yael Naim called Endless Song of Happiness. It is sang entirely in Hebrew, and very beautiful. The English translation goes something like this:
She just floats in her world (la-la-la) and he tries to touch; she recoils, doesn't know you sit in the corner and look at her (ba) in the evening you wake up from sleep, see an open window and aren't sure what happened to her, what she had done. You fear she has jumped (tza). Outside, she is flying on a little cloud; she built a transparent tower with a paintbrush and inside it all the angels fly and all the little fairies dance in a circle turning round endlessly.
This song, though it is in a language I neither speak, read, write, nor understand, means something very special to me. It is about the simple joys of love and imagination. We do not talk about imagination, creativity, the joy of one's own mind, often. We think it beneath us, something we left behind in early childhood. Wrong! There is an endless happiness to creating transparent towers in the sky with paintbrushes, dancing with angels and little fairies. Life is thought is creation is love and love does not end.

La, la, la.

Join me for a cup.
-michael

Friday, August 26, 2011

a quick apology & taoism

Hey Coffee Lovers. Sorry I have been behind on posting lately. I just started school and need the rest of this week to get everything in balance. Until then, I leave you with a quote from the father of Taoism, Lao Tzu:

Few things under heaven have more benefit than
the lessons learned from silence and
the actions taken without striving.

Be peaceful.

-michael

Monday, August 22, 2011

poetry monday: A Sort of a Song

First of all, I apologize Coffee Lovers: I've been away from the blog this week. Not to worry, though, I won't miss an entry for quite a while now (fingers crossed, of course).
Secondly, it's Monday, and therefore time for a poem. This is a favorite of mine, short and sweet, by one of America's most beloved writers.


A Sort of a Song

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
sleepless.
--through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.

--William Carlos Williams

Yours, in words and espresso.
-michael

Monday, August 15, 2011

poetry monday: Wanderlust

In the spirit of traveling and returning from travel, I thought I'd change it up a bit and show you all an original poem of mine that is a bit...odd, to say the least.


Wanderlust

I was filled with purple fire
brought on by my wine. Desire
to see lands unknown, to venture
from little home
& great world stir! --
took hold of my reeling dreams
where things unknown
and things unseen
were.
Little wandering, wondering bandits
     little white dresses wore,
(in my dream) and it made me snicker.
     For each promiscuous, pretty poppy
drugged me from my cadaver-state, and
my death (elate!) was ended then.
So I stood and went
to meet the lords of Fay and Tale
      beyond my door.
Beyond my door! -
     where, but once, I'd never been before.
And so, in Alice fashion, went
And spoke with each mad miscreant.
     I thought myself
slightly drunker
than I'd ever been before,
     but shrugged and drank
two purple fire-glasses more.
Then seeing several gazing birds
with mangy wings,
of mangy words,
I sat down with a feather quill
to pen a mangy, rhyming trill
truly.
     A thrill.
And then in thrilling message spoke
to the sun - heliotrope -
     chose to have a spot of fun.
So I giggled and right then swore
I would nev'turn to my door.
And as of yet, I have not
     for the world
is filled with things unsought and known
and I am ready to see and know
and No! I won't
     return.
For I am penning, as I walk,
     (along a walk in this world)
a letter to my dearest Isabel
     whose drugging wine and opiate
have served me well. Oh, Isabel,
who knows how to satiate
with one's own insane thoughts
innate and known to her since
     her birth.
Elate, elate! And feel my mirth!
for my death is done! I will climb every tree
and wander (free) toward the sun!
Until the east becomes a door
     through which I'll step
and, for with wanderlust I'm sore,
fall and die and laugh again
     (oh, 'Bel will hear it!)
as an ever-wandering spirit.


That poem is from several years ago, and, while I'm certain I could do better now, it means something special to me this way.

Yours, in words and espresso.
-michael



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shalom. Paz. Peace.

Buenas, Coffee Lovers. I am home from Guatemala, and I plan to break form a bit this week, giving you a long entry on Sunday instead of a Sip. I'd like to try and explain to you what happened to me while I was in Guatemala though I was unsuccessful in even beginning an explanation last year. It truly is my favorite place in the world.

I don't know if you've ever had a cup of Guatemalan coffee. If you haven't, might I heartily suggest that you do. A successfully brewed cup is infused with subtle, gentle aromatic notes and nuances. It is warm and gives off a delightful scent. It is clean and pure feeling. And, of course, it is  best taken black.

It is as if all of these subtle flavors and aromas have converged to create a deep, beautiful secret, that is not to be understood, but simply to be enjoyed. This makes perfect sense once one has gotten to know the people of Patzicia, Guatemala well.

It was my second trip there this year. It was an opportunity to simply be in the proximity of angelic, beautiful people. As I worked in their community, helping them build a monolithic church, I was shown again and again what true peace means.

I love words and usually believe in them implicitly, but the English language (as well as the Spanish language) lacks the necessary verbage to describe in full what I experienced there, in my own life as well as in theirs. However, I can try to describe what I've learned of peace lately. It is not something you meditate for or achieve by giving up anything that shoots a projectile or has a sharp point - though those things are always preferable options and often necessary. It is not something you wait for your government to grant you or your neighbors to provide for you - though that would help. It is not something you experience through financial security or the accumulation of goods - never.

No, peace is none of those things. Peace is being able to gaze into the maw of one's own daunting circumstances - of oppressive systems, poverty, corrupt governments, natural disasters - breathe, and live life with joy anyway. All of my families in Guatemala are a greater testament to the resilience of the human spirit than any I know.

The Hebrew word shalom means peace. But it goes beyond peace as we know it. It means wholeness, wellness, and balance between a thing, itself, others, and God. This is what the faith and peace of those in Guatemala is like. They are entirely centered with themselves, the god they believe in, their neighbors, their circumstances. They are one with the true beauty of living.

Going there, in fact, feels something like profound selfishness. While I am giving them the gift of my work and my time to help them build their huge church, I am truly giving myself the gift of their presence.

Which brings us back to coffee: the gift we all love to give ourselves morning and night. The people of Patzicia are so like the coffee grown in the fertile soil of their country. As the coffee of Guatemala itself is a profound secret crafted from the combined subtelty of velvet espresso flavors, citrus, and floral notes, so the people of Patzicia are a profound secret made possible by their love, their loss, their trials, tribulations, successes, and wholehearted embracing of all that breathing and living truly means. The laughter and worry lines around their eyes curl like steam from a cup, and you are reminded of dancing when they smile at you.

And what if we lived like that? What if in this doomed, dark country I live in, this place where suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults, we were to be bright, little secrets, not to be understood, just to be experienced, immersed in, consumed and given as gifts to the world? What if we truly lived עם שלום, con paz, with peace.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-michael

Monday, August 1, 2011

poetry monday: Daydreams for Ginsberg

For today, a favorite poem by one of my favorite poets.


Daydreams for Ginsberg

I lie on my back at midnight
hearing the marvelous strange chime
of the clocks, and know it's mid-
night and in that instant the whole
world swims into sight for me
in the form of beautiful swarm-
ing m u t t a worlds-
everything is happening, shining
Buddha-lands,
bhuti

blazing in faith, I know I'm
forever right & all's got to
do (as I hear the ordinary
extant voices of ladies talking
in some kitchen at midnight
oilcloth cups of cocoa
cardore to mump the
rinnegain in his
darlin drain-) I will write
it, all the talk of the world
everywhere in this morning, leav-
ing open parentheses sections
for my own accompanying inner
thoughts - with roars of me
all brain - all world
roaring - vibrating - I put
it down, swiftly, 1,000 words
(of pages) compressed into one second
of time - I'll be long
robed & long gold haired in
the famous Greek afternoon
of some Greek City
Fame Immortal & they'll
have to find me where they find
the t h n u p f t of my
shroud bags flying
flag yagging Lucien
Midnight back in their
mouths - Gore Vidal'll
be amazed, annoyed -
my words'll be writ in gold
& preserved in libraries like
Finnegans Wake & Visions of Neal


I leave tomorrow for Guatemala (again!). I won't be back until the eleventh of August, but until then...

Yours, in words and espresso.
-michael