ERATO PREFERS LATTE

My muse sits quietly
on the shelf over the counter
in the Café Espresso
at Barnes and Noble

nestled between 12 ounce bags
of Colombian Supremo and Kenya AA,
in the shadow of the plant
whose leaves reach out
to caress her cheek.
She whispers to me
between notes from the guitarist
performing on the edge
of the Music Department
hawking his new CD
to an audience there more
for the coffee and tea.
The philodendron scandens
nods approvingly
as I carefully tuck her
into the pouch
of my fleece jacket
for the long drive home.

ASKED AND ANSWERED

This morning I made the mistake
of asking where the coffee beans were.
My spouse didn’t hear me, but Siri
offered her opinion, leaning toward Guatemala.
That didn’t set well with Alexa
who said they were either in the cabinet
over the stove, of in Papua New Guinea,
since she prefers lower acidic coffee.
Probably unsurprising, but Siri did
not take well to being corrected,
and got into it with Alexa, and I
was left trying to interject, being ignored.
I asked the Google Voice Assistant to intercede,
but it only wanted to know which voice
I wanted it to speak with, and
then froze completely awaiting my answer.

INCEPTION

Morning arrived as usual today
and we shook ourselves slowly
from sleep to greet it.
As we rose and drew open
the curtains and blinds
all that morning had to say,
and said rather imperiously
was “where is the coffee —
you can’t expect a damn thing
from me until I’ve had
at least two cups,
and brew them strong and black,
like the night I
chased off to get here.”

ANOTHER GHETTO

She sits
in the bookstore cafe
her head covered
by a linen kerchief
bobby pinned to the
mass of walnut curls.
She cradles the cup
of cooling coffee
and stares down
at the slim book
of Amichai, yielding
to the Hebrew letters
that seem to dance
across the page.
I sit at the adjoining table
with my used
copy of Bialik, translated.
I glance at her
“I’ll miss him”
with a nod to Amichai
then “where are you from?”
She shifts
in her seat, legs
crossing, pulling back
staring over
my shoulder at
the slowly spinning fan,
then at the book.
I look for her eyes
but they dance away,
my hands clasp
and                  unclasp,
fingers drum on the table.
She mutters,
“Atlanta.”
“What part?”
“Warsaw, inside
the walls and wire,
that place
from which so few of us ever
manage to escape.”

COFFEE ROASTING

They dance defiantly
denying gravity as they
tumble through the air.
They cede
their color reluctantly,
Now a beige, but soon
a defiant chocolate-brown,
milk turning slowly dark.
They entice you,
their perfume perhaps
too strong for some,
but it draws you in
and you cannot help
but imagine how the thought
of them will rise
as you do from the bed
and together you
will beckon the day.

DOUBLE ESPRESSO

Buddha walked slowly into the coffee house

and ordered a large mochachino.

He approached the sofa in the corner

and folded himself neatly and precisely

into and among its overstuffed cushions

to the delight of a five year old

pulling at his mother’s sweater

as she struggles to finish her latte.

“The body,” Buddha says

to no one in particular,

“is the finest form of origami

for even the great master Tsujimoto

has yet been able to duplicate it.”

He watches the comings and goings

constantly sipping at his always full cup.

He picks up a dog-eared copy

of the Analectics from the table

and breaks into a wide grin,

good old Con, he mutters, they never have

figured out how to translate you.

An old man, stooped and half blind,

shuffles over and, in what must

approximate a bow, says “Master

where can I find enlightenment?”

“My child,” Buddha responds, unfolding

and refolding his legs and arms,

“why do you seek it— it won’t bring you

much beyond what you have seen –

but if you truly wish to find it,

it lingers just behind you, so stop

looking, for surely it has found you,

now you let it catch you.”

The Buddha unfolds herself slowly

pressing out the seams

of her plaid skirt and shuffles

quietly into the traffic along the avenue.

My cappuccino is now cold, I think.