Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009


Vic’s Boulder Cafe

I lived in Oberlin, OH for a couple years, 2002-2004. I tend to be somewhat snarky about them now, but they were pretty good years, all told. I got started in libraries while I was there, somewhat by accident, because Ohio has a server wage of some ridiculously low amount (like $1.50/hr and tips) and so suddenly my erstwhile career path as a restaurant service specialist seemed less reasonable.

When Ohio broke my heart, though, I headed back to Olympia and, aside from my stint in Montreal for graduate school, haven't left since. It almost didn't turn out that way, though, because on the way home I stopped off to visit a friend in Boulder, CO and very nearly didn't leave. Boulder is, in my opinion, everything a town should be. It's got a good college scene, a hip walking street, great cafes and shops, an excellent public library, and amazing scenery. Every day while I was in Boulder the weather was perfect, and then a thundercloud would roll over the mountains and it would rain for 1-2 hours, and then it would go back to being sunny and perfect.

I didn't stay in Boulder, of course, because I'm not the kind of guy to make a huge decision like that on a whim. But I still remember that visit fondly, and of all the places I'd be willing to move for work, Boulder remains one of them, and one of the only places that's not on a coast. Mrs. F, though, isn't interested in living so far away from the ocean, so Boulder probably isn't in the cards, after all, but that's okay. I like being where I am.

This is a poem I wrote while in Boulder at a cafe, watching a woman and her son waiting to make their order.

Small, blonde foreign boy;
agé de dix ans.
Already mastered the european casual:
lifts his shirt to scratch an itch,
shows off a tan stomach, unabashed;
scratches, stretches: fingers to toes;
lets his shirt fall and
without so much as a glance around
performs a flawless crotch-grab.

Later, as he speaks, his language
sounds northern: swedish or dutch.
His mother, a 6'2" twig of a woman -
all limbs, a long neck to put
swans to shame, a face unmarred
by time and childbirth – stands
still, graceful, waiting for heaven
to chase her down.

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Caffe Muse

This is, probably, my most famous poem, though no thanks to me. I wrote this in August of 2004 and, like many of my poems, didn't do much with it. Sure, I read it at some poetry readings and such, and shared it with friends, and then forgot about it. It didn't really take off until I read it to my friend Amy Krog, who liked it so much that she asked for a copy, and who then proceeded to share it with every barista she ever met (or so it seemed), and being that she was a traveling, cafe-going sort of girl, she met a lot of baristas.

It's been quite a few years, now, and I doubt that Amy still shares this with baristas (though I'm sure she still loiters at the cafes). Anyway, none of those baristas ever met me, so I guess it's a case of the poem being much more famous than its author. It's a pretty simple little thing, but I like it, anyway, even after all these years.

Your hair-fling bewitchment
beguiles me,
muse of hazelnut latté eyes and
a whipped-cream smile;
your kisses would satisfy
the most ambitious sweet-tooth.
That's my heart you're steaming to foam,
my mind you excite with your double-caffeinated flair.
Your siren's song has me shipwrecked
on a dry-roast wasteland.
I raise my mocha sails and set out
into the foaming cappucino seas;
I’ll be back again
in the java-toothed sunrise.

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Eulogy for a Toaster

If we're friends on Facebook then you may have seen this already. If not, then it's new! On Monday, I learned that the toaster of a friend of mine had passed away, so I wrote her (and the toaster) this lovely eulogy.

Though he had his ups and downs,
he was the toast of every town.
He saw everything from both sides,
and he always warmly offered rides.
So no matter which side you butter your bread,
weep, my friend, for the toaster's dead.

There is, actually, a lot more punditry that could go into this, but I wanted to make sure my poem stayed upper crust.

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