Life Percolated

I can’t drink real coffee anymore.  I guess.

I’ve percolated a lot of life through my insides.

So much stuffed down there, so much acid.


I see the old-timey coffee pots on the gas stoves

in their little kitchens in the Project:



and in the bigger kitchens in houses

in Munhall and West Mifflin and Duquesne:





So much love, so many women.


I just wanted a beer.

There were too many of them

and I didn’t know how to be in their world,

in their houses, in their lives.

Lots of food and always coffee.


But mom and dad’s–



“Turn off the light”

not enough food.

Here I fit in, but I didn’t want to.


I wanted to know

how to live

like a grownup,

how to mother,

how to wife,

how to make real coffee in a percolator instead of decaf

in a Mr. Coffee that’s reheated later in the microwave because

we sure can’t pour that cold shit down the drain.



I started to learn

from other women who had to learn once upon a time, too:

how to make real coffee in a Mr. Coffee

and that sugar can make feelings bearable

after I learned I had feelings

like anger and joy and fear and love.

But those women thought I was okay.

And they helped me see I could be funny and silly.



I don’t drink real coffee anymore.

A while back it made my stomach really hurt

and my doctor described a bleeding ulcer’s risks

and I said OK.  Damn it.  No more coffee.

So then I tried decaf.

It didn’t taste good, any kind.


So I tried green tea.

It’s good for me.


but strong enough to be good enough.


Like me.




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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. :: GOOD sigh::
    especially for “but strong enough to be good enough.

    Like me.”

    deep and humble bows of thanks…

    • Thank you, Lisa. I hope your resting is going well and that you are at peace.

  2. I still love my coffee. In fact, at night sometimes I look forward to getting up in the morning just so I can have my coffee. I also love your poem. But then it’s not really about coffee, is it.

  3. One word for that poem. Fabulous. OK another word. Awesome. And maybe one more. Stunning
    I swear this is the last one. Insightful
    OK I’m being a bit corny for my first visit to your site, but I’m a bit giddy because I see some talented work. Makes me want to return…again and again.
    Makes me smile
    And it makes me want a cup of tea!

    • Thank you! I wonder sometimes if anyone actually reads this stuff.

  4. Robin – I can’t believe this is my first visit to your blog, and now I see how much I have missed! This poem is absolutely lovely and astounding. I have read it again and again. And will, no doubt, return to read it again and again. Thanks for penning this beautiful poem.

    • I’m glad you found me! We’ll have to catch up at Kanuga.

  5. Okay, I’m a fan… wonderful, incredible! We’re definitely going to be writing friends. I went to Chapel Hill also, by the way. Great, great work!!

    • Sounds good! UNC–small world once again. Maybe we’ll cross paths for real one day.
      Thanks for your encouragement!

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