The Coffeebeat Cafe™ (which is not really trademarked), as a make-believe place wherein I hold onto my creative experience, is expanding —
Wait, hang on—here’s my logo, for effect:
Anyway, we’re expanding our imaginary cafe to include a Substack, which is, from now on, how I’ll be handing my newsletter. And the newsletter will be focused on my future projects as well as—get this—be published on a weekly basis, with new content (ie, poems, never before seen short works, …like that) each time.
I know, I know. How can you possibly handle all this change?First global warming, now this?
Well, don’t worry. It’s all already been taken care of. You just sit back and enjoy the stuff and business. That’s how we roll.
“…I have always been so skeptical of the whole contemporary critical scene, in which the text is regarded as some immutable miracle, to be worshipped or dissected as if it were the story itself. What anyone trained as an editor and rewriter knows is that the text is not the story—the text is merely one attempt to place the story inside the memory of the audience. The text can be replaced by an infinite number of other attempts. Some will be better than others, but no text will be “right” for all audiences, nor will any one text be “perfect.” The story exists only in the memory of the reader, as an altered version of the story intended (consciously or not) by the author. It is possible for the audience to create for themselves a better story than the author could ever have created in the text. Thus audiences have taken to their hearts miserably-written stories like Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, because what they received transcended the text; while any number of beautifully written texts have been swallowed up without a trace, because the text, however lovely, did a miserable job of kindling a living story within the readers’ memories.”
About twenty-five years ago, one of my tonsils died.
It became a lump of dead tissue, joined with the other, still living, tonsil only by their shared infection in and around my throat. In the middle of a Friday night, I looked in the mirror and they were touching. My airway was completely closed off.
My wife drove me to the emergency room, where I sat for the next six hours or so, until their ENT specialist could be reached (and, I speculate, sobered out, but I digress). When he arrived, that Saturday morning (looking a little bedraggled), he settled in and looked at my tonsils. He then told me it was an abscess and brought out a tool by which he intended to drain the puss out of the infected tonsils. For all the world, it looked like Toilet-Aid Tongs for Self-Wiping.
This was to be the first of those three surgeries that the doctor’s note mentioned. He was sitting on a little stool with wheels, while I was seated in one of those wide-metal based dentist’s chairs with the attached armature and lamp overhead. After warning me that it ‘might hurt a bit’, he then proceeded to reach into my throat with the tongs.
This Church has apparently been named “Church of Christ Meets Here.” (See, for example, both signs)
Now, you might think that’s a silly name, but I am here to tell you: it could be worse. For example—for a while, there—a splinter group actually broke off from this Church. And they opened up right next door!
But, that new congregation never really amounted to much. Because they named themselves:
“Second Church of Christ, We Meet Over There, Too”
Me, to my wife, after several excellent life-suggestions she’d just given me:
Me, with sincerity, as I exit to go to the washroom: “Wow, ever since [you started using] the CPAP, you’re really on it! I’m just gonna step back and let you make all the decisions…” W: “Can I get that in writing?” Me: <long pause> “no.” <quickly closes door behind me> W: “Damn.” Me: <from behind door> “so close…”
She sleeps in folds of thin sheets and thicker meds— After twenty-four, then twelve more hours of no food or water. Like two friends jogging, her body stops to wait for her flagging spirit, redeeming no breath.
From the sidelines at home, I wait for the call. Halfway ‘tween fear and relief, I don’t go to bed. I stay up: listening to whistling snow, sounding like songs sung to us kids; watching shows we might have watched, had she wanted more.
In the empty chill of a person’s final winter, too cold and tired is regret, ‘cause suddenly it’s midnight. And the day has arrived anyway. And all I have done is miss the dream of a happier death.