Sometimes it’s important to shut your fucking mouth, like in public places where your faces are busy misplacing the pastries you’ve paid for while the air escapes your veiny throat and what’s more heinous is the fact that you’re draped with the same shit that killed your uncle James, kid, and you don’t even savor it, you favor it gone in a second like you came with a mission to slay shit, to eat more food than a buffet filled with different stages of diabetic patients, my patience is thin and the more you linger the more anxious I am to flip the one finger on my hand capable of distinguishing me as foe or friend, you annoy me to no end, you’ve destroyed my trail of thoughts and that is my last strand of straw, you’ve ended all my plans to stay calm, I’m erupting from the skull like my cranium’s gone, you pathetic scu – oh, he’s leaving. Ah, back to writing.
It’s midnight and I need to find a place to write. A little coffee shop called Madhouse Coffee is still open. Outside youths sit on chairs like their spines have been kicked in by their overzealous Christian parents. Vape smoke lingers and the smell of vanilla and licorice is strong enough to lure the most strong willed unicorn down from its rainbow. Off my bike and I collect looks – you know the kind. The only clean shaven man with a ring on his finger to be found within a five-mile radius. They can smell the monogamy on me. I enter the establishment and the place is crowded – I forgot people my age like to stay up late. Why aren’t they burned out yet like the rest of humanity? Why aren’t they tucked into the creases of a couch somewhere with their brains smashed against the screen of a TV watching the 18th season of a Netflix original? The walls are plastered with abstract graffiti art and cult film references. They have two tables, a bar (with outlets, I notice immediately) and these weird stairs that are supposed to double as a seating area. I claim my outlet and set my laptop down. Nobody here will steal it. The only risk I run here is getting bombarded with a conversation about neorealism in a governmentally sabotaged reality. This generation is well trained in the art of hypocrisy and so am I. I walk up to the counter and every male barista has their hair grown out and tied into a bun. Rebels who have breached the macho-male stereotype only to fall deep within their own. Every trend starts out like this. He greets me with a nod because he probably thinks I don’t speak his hipster language. I don’t. I ask him if he sells iced coffee because when it snows outside my blood still boils too hot. Yes, he says, obviously. I’m too scared for further judgment so I just take it black and I know he judges me for that too. I sit down and notice I forgot my headphones again. I fucking forgot my fucking headphones fucking again, fuck. I need a moment to prepare myself for my fate. Dance music wasn’t made to write to, I get too caught up with the recycled lyrics. But after some coffee my hyperfocus kicks in and it doesn’t matter. Time to write.
I’m surprised their napkins aren’t made from recycled hemp compost.
The sounds of coffee ground by the pound surround me and around me the nouns speak so loudly so proudly of how we are bound to be clowns or clones or clones of clowns, it pounds into my jaw but I choke it down because I’m just another joke in this broken town.
art source unknown
Picture this – it’s deep winter and snow is packed on the forest floors like dandruff on a homeless man’s shoulders. The moon is full but not visible: the empty branches stretch overhead and block out any potential light. All you have is a torch in your right hand. The heat is intense but you prefer it to the alternative, and so your face sweats while your toes freeze. You have one goal and one goal only: write an interesting blog post.
You tremble and struggle through the forest until finally you see it. Your inspiration, tucked away beneath the talons of a large, golden eagle that sits atop the tip of a mountain festered with werebears and grufflemuffins. You twist your fingers around the hilt of your pen and draw it with the intention of spilling ink. You leap forward, penning through drafts like your wrists are made of seismographs. But as you get through crumpling you latest draft, you look up and notice you are nowhere nearer your inspiration.
Your frustration is crippling. You roar into the sky with mad determination. In an effort to reach your inspiration, you circle around the mountain in a previously trailed path, full of drafts already bleeding with red ink. But these drafts, as polished as they are, only hold you back more. You are reminded of how many drafts you’ve had to scrap already – how many wrong turns you’ve taken in the past. Maybe your inspiration is gone now and forever in the claws of a golden eagle and its posse of werebears and grufflemuffins.
Tsing. That’s the sound of your pen sheathing into the ground. You kneel beside it, sweat dripping from your forehead. What now?
Low and behold, next to you a young man in a black polo and a green cape waving in the wind. His face hasn’t met the challenge of shaving yet – I don’t even know if his balls have dropped. It doesn’t matter. For all his youth, he is already an expert at his craft. He wraps his cape around him, into an apron, and with swift determination creates 32oz of magic in a cup with a single green straw. He hands it to you, and you see your name mangled in sharpie. You smile – the effort counts.
You retrieve your pen. Tsing. The battle has only just begun.
Cue ominous Latin church chant.