Saturday, April 18, 2009

Elvis, the Doppler Effect, Coffee, and Trees


A mixed metaphor: my backyard, a pool without liner, fallen tree, dog, Balinese horse sculpture


A few months ago, after thirty years of devotion, I gave up drinking coffee. I was becoming alternately too anxious and too fatigued. Even decaffeinated coffee made me feel like this. I assume that after years of association, my body responded to the stimulus of ‘coffee’ whether or not it contained caffeine. I remember being fifteen and drinking ten cups of coffee and ten glasses of Coke after every dinner time. The feeling of almost flying, of not quite touching the ground, of my mind and body being like a high performance racing car bringing immense forward motion to its negotiations with gravity was exhilarating. But, my middle-aged body, with its middle-aged life concerns isn’t (evidently) (at the moment) able to sustain such a negotiation. I imagine I have to conceive of my relations with the ground as being more tree-like. Roots and branches, intriguing whorls and gnarls, a developing world for birds, insects, and sap. A slower discussion with gravity, a less busy rising, a steady deepening. Stand beside me for a moment for ten years and apprehend the Doppler-modulated whoosh as I speed slowly upwards and downwards, as my roots and branches rush patiently outwards. But that sounds like wisdom. Perhaps instead I’m one of those gold-painted Elvis mimes on a street corner, the slow twist of my painfully kitsch body on a squat milk-carton pedestal attempting to signal to the world around me that once my hips were dangerous, now they attract only dimes.


HOW TO PREPARE

a plastic coffee lid trucker style
so that the coffee doesn’t spill
even on a bumpy highway:
pull up the plastic tab

and instead of pressing it back
then clipping it to the raised part of the lid
meant for the purpose
push the tab down

fold it under into the cave
of the coffee, the waves of black
liquid lapping under the lid
a dark lapping against a pier

or a landing, the unknown
underbodies of docks or a thrust tongue

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