Friday, June 13, 2014


June 22, 1980

The bubbling, percolating sound from the stove reminds me of home, Not this home in Passaic, but the one I grew up in.
It is a strange sound for this place, and is a gift from a girlfriend who doesn’t understand me.
She thinks a coffee pot brewed at home will help ease my morning grumpiness and save me the two mile jog for coffee at Service Diner.
She doesn’t understand getting coffee is only the excuse for getting out of the house and visiting a part of the world I won’t otherwise see, feet pounding the gravel along the riverside, as flocks of geese rise from or fall to the surface of the river, and the arms of leaf-laded trees sway even without a heavy breeze. I even like the glitter of sun on the water, even though I am a rain person – although cheery skies here in this world of crumbling factories and newly constructed mushroom condos only makes me long for cheery skies above mountains and woods, where instead of wandering near a sluggish brown polluted river, I would cross over rapid, clear and bubbling brooks, and feel the cool provided by the shade of green, green leaves. Instead of condo mushrooms, I might even find real mushrooms, and instead of the caw caw caw of crows or the shrill screech of misplaced sea gulls, I would hear real song birds, and if I’m lucky, I would even catch a glimpse of deer.
But this bubbling in my cold water flat does not sound anything like the bubbling of a brook, and the air is thick with the scent not of moss or green leaves, but someone cooking greasy sausage somewhere else in the building, or perhaps pancakes,.
The smell of coffee here does not wake me as thoroughly as my jog could, but only reminds me of what I am missing, refusing to lift the current of sleep from my eyes completely enough so that I still drift in and out of sleep even sitting up.

It is a struggle to stay awake, so that I am engaged in warfare to maintain consciousness that I know will get no better at the day drags on. I will wander off to work, and come home weary, and maybe cheery – but it won’t be from this brew, but from the slow walk between here and there, across the very same brown river, and up the very same hill my family walked when they were kids, to a job I know I won’t get trapped, and will leave after Labor Day, and perhaps then, in the fall, I will shed this bubbling that wakes me now for the bubbling of the river and the sound of my pounding feet along a place Native Americans once strode.

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