This is a poem that I've kept going back to read over the years. I first read it in "the best american poetry 2011". I liked it for a few reasons, first coffee is one my favorit esubjects in the world, and that it has a darker undertone of how someone's world can collapse and narrow and how the smallest pleasures become the most comforting. It delves into the time just before his brother commits suicide and how disconnect his own world was becoming. [c=#1F5E00]~Mathew Dickman[/c] [image=https://photos1.similarworlds.com/00/00/00/00/01/57/39/54/Lostpoet-yM9ORLHTpDuxPiD.jpg]
The only precious thing I own, this little espresso cup. And in it a dark roast all the way from Honduras, Guatemala, Ethiopia where coffee was born in the 9th century getting goat herders high, spinning like dervishes, the white blooms cresting out of the evergreen plant, Ethiopia where I almost lived for a moment but then the rebels surrounded the Capital so I stayed home. I stayed home and drank coffee and listened to the radio and heard how they were getting along. I would walk down Everett Street, near the hospital where my older brother was bound to his white bed like a human mast, where he was getting his mind right and learning not to hurt himself. I would walk by and be afraid and smell the beans being roasted inside the garage of an old warehouse. It smelled like burnt toast! It was everywhere in the trees. I couldn’t bear to see him. I sometimes never knew him. Sometimes he would call. He wanted us to sit across from each other, some coffee between us, sober. Coffee can taste like grapefruit or caramel, like tobacco, strawberry, cinnamon, the oils being pushed out of the grounds and floating to the top of a French Press, the expensive kind I get in the mail, the mailman with a pound of Sumatra under his arm, ringing my doorbell, waking me up from a night when all I had was tea and watched a movie about the Queen of England when Spain was hot for all her castles and all their ships, carved out of fine Spanish trees, went up in flames while back home Spaniards were growing potatoes and coffee was making its careful way along a giant whip from Africa to Europe where cafes would become famous and people would eventually sit with their cappuccinos, the baristas talking about the new war, a cup of sugar on the table, a curled piece of lemon rind. A beret on someone’s head, a scarf around their neck. A bomb in a suitcase left beneath a small table. Right now I’m sitting near a hospital where psychotropics are being carried down the hall in a pink cup, where someone is lying there and he doesn’t know who he is. I’m listening to the couple next to me talk about their cars. I have no idea how I got here. The world stops at the window while I take my little spoon and slowly swirl the cream around the lip of the cup. Once, I had a brother who used to sit and drink his coffee black, smoke his cigarettes and be quiet for a moment before his brain turned its Armadas against him, wanting to burn down his cities and villages, before grief became his capital with its one loyal flag and his face, perhaps only his beautiful left eye, shimmered on the surface of his Americano like a dark star.