Showing posts from July, 2023


Where I live, there’s this plant. It’s inside the house. It looks more like a small tree than your garden-variety house plant. But instead of a tree, I’m calling it a plant. Because it’s potted. And it doesn’t really have branches. So it’s more of a tree-wannabe. It “looks” out the window all day long at all the tall trees out there. And it’s envious. Or is it grateful? Whichever, this much is clear: The flora on the flip side of that window has yard-cred. And we all want cred of some kind, don’t we? ‘Cause if we’re not cred, we’re crud.  But this tree-wannabe’s always been right there, where it is, all of my life. Right there, in that pot, in that room. “The library,” Pop calls it. It’s got two shelves of books, so I guess it qualifies. Said tree-wannabe hasn’t gotten any taller; hasn’t gotten any shorter, either. Nobody ever mentions it. Pop walks into the “library” only when he’s looking for a stamp or a paperclip. He’s a paper reader. Newspapers and magazines. Books are too much of

Use The Hole

Nearly everywhere coffee is served in this country you’ll find what we, at Chicago Coffee Cadre #7, call a “mixing station.” I.e., a stand where a patron finds plasticware, wooden stirring rods, a variety of sweetener packets, and creamer carafes. Additionally, our mixing stations (we have two) each feature a hole, six inches in diameter. Said hole exists as the opening above a hidden receptacle. Said receptacle awaits the rubbish that results from the addition of whatever you put into your coffee.  [If this is, indeed, you, have you ever considered just how many white / brown / pink / green / yellow / powder blue paper packets of sweetener you’ve ripped open and discarded in your lifetime? What if you had to keep all of those packets with you for the rest of your days? How on Earth would you ever get by if all idiotic “single-use” things—like sweetener packets and mixing rods—were outlawed?]  Most patrons of CCC #7 understand and appreciate the function of the hole in our respective


Last night, over the phone, Cindi told me that her Coke was looking at her.    I didn’t ask how an aluminum can might’ve sprouted an eyeball. Instead, like any protective beau, I threatened it. “Quit looking at my girlfriend!” I shouted. “She’s waaaay outta your league! And besides, you don’t exist to… to ogle your consumer! You have one job: Contain!”   The can offered neither appeal nor apology.    So, through clenched teeth, I issued this warning: “Keep it up, buster, and I’ll crush you flat under my shoe!”    In sooth,   I said none of that.   What I actually said was,   “What?”   Cindi told me to “never mind.” But I pressed her and, finally, she disclosed what I thought I heard her say. Was the eyeball, I asked, giving her an inquisitive look? The famed " evil " or " stink " eye, perhaps? Might it be a look of surprise? Or fear? No, she told me. It was merely looking at her, with no particular look.  “Ah. Well. Good !” I said. “Gives me something to jot down

Mussy Love

Somebody left a bowl with a spoon upstairs on the toilet’s tank-top. The guilty party presumably finished their breakfast in the bathroom, and the bowl and the spoon were left there all day, or for several days, or for many. Had the culprit spooned up their Fruit Loops or Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch or some combination of the aforementioned whilst perched on the toilet, id est, whilst making a deposit? I didn’t ask.  And what of the piles of Sunday newspaper advertisements that bury the ledge just inside of their front door? We’re talking several years of Sunday ads, or so it seems. Don’t the coupons contained therein expire?  And let’s not forget the balloons that hover above the low-hanging streamers from a party they hosted two weeks ago.  Clutter dominates every room.  And by the way, dog hair and dog slobber coat the interior of their car.  Ah, but life is mussy. And the two who call this place home, they are far happier than I. They have jobs, they mingle, they revel. A

S T R E A M # 2 0

When you said, “Canada,” I immediately thought of the river. That garden where you left me. And then I thought of Tom Patterson Island. I thought of the time we stood on the bridge that stretched between Tom Patterson Island and the rest of Stratford, Ontario. We watched the swans and the couples in their paddle boats. We talked about the awful production of Romeo & Juliet we’d just seen. It was the second production of Romeo & Juliet I had seen at the festival inside of ten years, and both were simply dreadful. But they did know how to pull off Chekhov. Their mounting of Uncle Vanya was superb in every way imaginable. The performers truly brought out the play’s dark humor. It was cathartic. Also, their production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona : cathartic, first rate. You cried. I held you. It was wonderful. On that bridge, we kissed. That was where we first kissed. And then you said you were late for work at the Tango Cafe. Do you remember that lavish room upstairs at the M