Black Coffee

When I left home and started school, I drank Coke and Chai tea. I wrote poetry and fiction to be the next Hemingway or Jack London. It was romance as only a teen from rural Oregon moving into the city could imagine it.

Sweet, processed, trademarked.

The school was too small, nothing there to inspire me. So, I picked a new school, a bigger school, and I drank mochas. I wrote and it was “new,” it was experimental, and it was “misunderstood” when it was rejected.

I was the next postmodern warrior, I was e.e. cummings with my artful disdain towards punctuation and syntax. I was still a romantic in my ripe twenties. Learning sex and alcohol and blasphemy and drugs and protest. I was an expert, damn it, and my every word oozed knowledge.

I earned my paper, I left school, and I drank water. I drank water when I didn’t boil it for noodles. I found a job that didn’t care what my degree said, there were no jobs that gave a damn what my degree said.

Poetry? Fiction? Put it on the coffee table, talk about it over a beer. Cry about it when you get too drunk, preferably after they’ve gone home.

I dated women who were looking for men while I couldn’t stand the thought of not being some prodigy. I was the next Charles Bukowski. I…I haven’t been writing lately, but I kept my notes on the desk. When the right idea hits, BAM! Everything will be right there.

It didn’t. It doesn’t. I moved home and found a profession. I made a life.

My wife comes into our office, dressed for town and holding her purse in one hand and my Rocket Raccoon coffee mug in the other.

“When you’re finished writing, I’m ready for the store.” She sets down the mug and leaves, shutting the door softly behind her.

I work and I drink black coffee. When I write I’m nobody, but I have something to say.

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