Tom's, Saturday Morning
Facebook ad for T-shirts featuring the Buddha Shakyamuni: “Are you proud of being a Buddhist?”
I'm a Buddhist because my life is a mess and I have difficulty coping with the simplest ordinary problems and I'm a complete wimp about emotional suffering and my loving-kindness fits comfortably on a microscope slide, along with my generosity and my courage. I think I'll pass on the T-shirt.
Coffee traces the side of my tongue, warmth flowers in my throat, my soft palate resonates like drum skin. Oh, first cup of coffee! Earth hath nothing to show more sweet.
Glimpsed through the window in the kitchen door, and through the pass-through: the Mexicans in the kitchen, wearing moustaches and kitchen-whites. I remember how my clothes would stink of the kitchen after a shift: a rancid combination of fry-grease, onions, and vegetable blood.
But I loved it, working in restaurant kitchens. No past and no tomorrow. Like playing a video game, except you got paid.
Waitress: “I have that book.”
Self: “This one?” I turn it over so she can see the title. Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems, 1927-1979.
Waitress: “Uh huh. My brother and I were up on the phone last night till three, reading each other poems from it.”