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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

sunday sip: Far, Far

Yael Naim sings a song called Far, Far with the following lyrics:

How can you stay outside? There's a beautiful mess, a beautiful mess inside. Far, far there was this little girl, she was praying for something big to happen to her. Every night, she hears beautiful strange music, it's everywhere, there's nowhere to hide. But if it fades, she begs: Oh Lord, Don't take it from me! Don't take it - she says. I guess I'll have to give it birth! To give it birth! I guess, I guess I'll have to give it birth. I guess I'll have to, have to give it birth. There's a beuatiful mess inside and it's everywhere, just look at yourself now, deep inside, deeper than you ever did, deeper than you ever did. There's a beautiful mess inside.

I had a long spiel written out for why I'm posting these lyrics. But I took it out. I trust that all of you will find some truth, somewhere, without my help.

Join me for a cup.
-michael

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy a happy Thanksgiving with your families and friends!

Life, love, drink coffee.
-michael

Sunday, November 20, 2011

sunday sip: thinking / dreaming

I think we invented candles because their temporary luminance reminds us of our temporary breathing. I think we think too often. I think there are a thousand children dancing on a hilltop, somewhere. I think ice is a temporary state of matter. But I think heat is eternal. I think the sky has friends and the moon gets lonely. I think we feel too little. I think music is how the gods let us know they're still up there, surfing that milky ocean overhead. I think authors are the bravest human beings alive. I think laughter is omnipotent and joy is omnipresent. I think it's okay to have dreams, and that nebulas may also be colorful. I think I am myself and you are of me as I am of you.

I think I learned these things while slumbering.

Join me for a cup.
-michael

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bird-Wolf or A Lovely Child

I've done this once before, and I'm going to do it again. I'm going to tell you all a story.

-

It was a time and place different from this one, but not necessarily distant, simply different. The sun may have been closer to the earth, the moon farther: the passion of man tangible as the heat of his hearth, and his distant respect for beauty was even more distant. The nights were darker to balance the brilliance of the stars; fate was relevant still.

Consider, first, the delicacy of a snowflake. The water vapor inherent in the clouds crystallizes wholly and immediately with a firm finality, surrending itself to the cancerous tug of hydrogen bonds, abandoning wind-like freedom for the gentle subjugation of a solid chemical state. And then, like so many prophets of a spiritually repressed era, they fall to the ground - their chains greater than the weight of their emaciated bodies.

As with air, so with man.

There was a girl born, in that usual manner, to a usual man and an unusual woman. She came into the world with a soft cry on her lips and a sorrowful look in the grandmotherly wrinkles of her freshly constructed infant skin. The intensity in her eyes and in the painfully slow movement of her fleshy limbs marked her as different from her first moments of life. And yet, she was weighed and tagged, watched and coddled, spanked - just as any infant. And then she was wrapped in a standard pink blanket and taken home.

She spent her childhood in an apartment in the city. It was made of bricks. They were bloody-color, she'd decided. The apartment looked out on the busy street below, mournfully watching the bustle of lives that had not surrendered themselves to immobility, but, rather, moved swiftly and with that great audacity we attribute to those things with beating muscles affixed to the left sides of their chests and legs upon which they may enact great conquest of their own little gardens, their own little universes. They were bees and many ants, she'd decided.

They'd named her Pulchara; she was, indeed, lovely, even though she had the distinct look of a gentle child or a wolf, which was terrifying in its implications of dichotomy. But no one paid it mind, for how impolite to suggest that the child of the quiet couple in your supper club was fiercely canine in spirit, a howler rather than a gazer. No, they said nothing. But still they thought these things, and brilliantly circumnavigated the globe of polite conversation, fingers crossed that little Tierra del Fuego wouldn't cath their galleon unprepared.

And she didn't. She just watched them.

Pulchara did not speak often, and when she did, her large eyes watched intently for the reactions. She measured each moment with the reflexive agitation of a caged animal, wondering futilely at its present situation, at the impossibility of metal bars. Her father would answer her questions; her mother would just stare.

Her mother, Linda, was a lost beauty, a sunshine clouded over by age and the unreasonability of fate, a mad thing, rage of the rose beneath the boot. She spoke less, even, then her daughter, living almost entirely in a studio in which she painted her deepest and most primal thoughts and emotions.

Pulchara's father, Destin, was a business man, a priest of the numerical corporate god of the netherworld of economic damnation. He was distant, cold. He looked to each situation in terms of silk and net gain. His eyes were a piercing blue.

And so she raised herself, teaching herself reading and writing, those two necessary pillars upon which greatness may rest its head for slumber or formulation. She kept journals of her thoughts:

wind and the greatness of bird-kings; i, too, may own the skies; show me the blue of the venetian mystery; yes i yearn for ocean foam; let me have your hands, gods around me; we shall dance; this is only the beginning of the golden; the twilight has not yet come; high is the noon!; remember my strength when i have gone; i will go, go, go - flying.

Pulchara awoke one evening to the din of a thunderstorm beseiging the city with its intrinsic fury and hatred of all that makes its own heat, aiming - with wind and torrential downpour - to extinguish the lights of the human experiment, as all water and sky-stuff may seek to do. But we resist. She awoke and walked to the window, gazing at the ladies, dressed in white, which flitted through the sky with the cruel grace of queens or concubines.

The lightning was so lovely.
And, yes, the moon was distant.

Her heart, avian in its speed and dexterity of emotion, thrummed beneath that wolf-like structure of her ribs. The little Pulchara thought back to streets and markets, to venders and dancers, to all things which move beyond the sanctity of bloody bricks and she smiled with the beginnings of a plan. And falling to her tender little knees, she offered up fervent cries to Loki, the thunder-hater, the raven on wing. Grinning, madly, she climbed to her little feet, threw wide the window, and stepped up on the large sill.

And then Pulchara jumped, her little nightdress whipping about, her own torrent - queen of a little destiny, a triumph over or with gravity. The air rushed past her limbs and extremities, lifting only her mind to the transcendent level of madness or joy. Leaving the apartment behind, this unusual child soared through that time and space specifically alloted her and then beyond. The violent aurora tearing itself from that universal womb above us lit the mad longing of the wolf in Pulchara's eyes as she fell down and farther down still.

Sometime during the following morning, the rain became snow that solidly blanketed the city. Knowing flurries of wind picked it up and tossed it about, playing games with the frozen thoughts of yesterday, freedom in the breeze's rollick.

There was no body to be found.

-michael

Sunday, November 13, 2011

sunday sip: Sometimes,

Sometimes, I feel calm. Sometimes, I am gentle. Sometimes, I just smile. Sometimes, I am quiet. Sometimes, I am simple. Sometimes, I fail. Sometimes, I quit. Sometimes, I continue.
Sometimes, I feel calm.

Join me for a cup.
-michael

Friday, November 11, 2011

& the pariahs

I'm sorry I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth these last few weeks, Coffee Lovers. I've just been really busy. But here I am - alive still, I think.

It's been a long time since I listened to the song "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance. It is a song that had a lot of meaning for me when I was younger, but has sort of faded out of sight and mind in the last four-or-so years. I just heard it again. The song, originally titled "The Five of Us Dying," has one of the most lyrically brilliant intros I have ever heard. It reads:

When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said:
Son when you grow up,
Would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten, and the damned.
He said:
Will you defeat them,
Your demons, and all the non-believers - the plans that they have made.
Because one day, I'll leave you
A phantom to lead you in the summer
To join the Black Parade.

It is an inherently hopeless message. A father brings his young son to the city for a histronic moment of festivity, a parade, which is - at its essence - a farcicle celebration of whim, to ask him to rescue the outcasts, the oppressed masses, those that ride the fringe of society to avoid the judgment inherent in the eye of the cataclysmic storm of western culture. And then he tells him that his only reward is death.

As an awkward twelve year old, I always wondered what had happened to the father. You see, it seemed obvious to me that any father begging his son to save the pariahs of society must, himself, be such an individual. And the father's message of hopelessness, of an empty promise - of death - used to make me very quiet.

What is it worth? I would ask that to the world at large, and it would stay silent.

But now I think I know. You see, whether they know it or not, My Chemical Romance is right. There is no reward for being the messiah of a lost culture of division. No one is going to pat you on the back for it; no medal of honor will come your way. Rather, you'll be detested and distained. You'll be called things you'd prefer to forget. No one will forgive you your transgression of honest denial of the system.

But you will be right.

And even if your only reward is a phantom that leads you in the summer to join those that are already eternally walking, mourning their own martyrdom - you'll be right.

You see, there is no inherent moral obligation to do anything. There is only you & the pariahs, each one calling out - in cracked voices - reaching out - with crumbling hands, their stone foundations already dust - believing in the all-pervading aroma of possibility, if only someone else would wake up and smell the coffee, damn it!

Yes, My Chemical Romance was right. It is a hopeless thing, maybe, or maybe it is simply the hope of believing when everyone else is unable.

Maybe the black parade, ghosts and phantoms though they are, enjoy a tangibility the human race - so steadfastly slumbering - lacks.

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