Inevitable Coffee Ring

Under the Dome


A poem

It’s good to get out, avoid cabin fever. Isn’t it?
Cue the music:
The Birth and Death of the Day.

My little friends, the snow keeps falling.
Doesn’t it? The snow just keeps falling; when it stops suddenly
everything seems to get turned upside down, and cue bitter
happenstance: the snow continues to fall some more.
And I — I keep on running. My legs are tense,
because my mind tells my body to brace itself
for slippage and potential falling, failing
and sliding backwards down a hill
(because running uphill in the snow is
a valiantly stupid thing) — and oh,
wouldn’t that be a sight?

It has to get done.
Somehow, somewhere.
I prefer the outdoors for an out-
of-body experience. Cue the music:
So Long, Lonesome.
The snow explodes from the sky?

The houses are classified, dignified
and separated singularly. They are set in their own
little worlds, inhabited by those people
who happen to live there. Some of them contain pets,
which peer from windows or stand motionless within
the white dunes, waiting for an object to be flung,
an object that sinks and blends in with
the rest of the confusion.

When what was thought to be lost is found:

And in a nearby bakery, hands warm up
around cups and mugs, or hands cup food
to be inserted into mugs’ holes —
consumption of both heat and/or energy.
As dishware clink, conversation voices
clank against each other. A mic squeals
with feedback.
Cue the music:
It’s Natural to Be Afraid.

At one table contrived collegiate cackles
of strangers at the door the night before —
Seriously, what happened? Like, oh
my g_d, did he really show up? For real?
Who does that?
The cops were not called? And falling
asleep on the couch
while all this was going on
was probably not the best
idea, considering
the potential

(Like, wow.)

Cue the music:
Catastrophe and the Cure.

After the conversation melted
— a couple spotty puddles of nonsense —
wipers cleared the surface puddles for more
flakes to coagulate. The engine kept whirring,
the wheels kept driving to the next …

After one flake landed
(the rest followed)
it spoke, mouth full, still wanting to
chew the fat. It uncertainly stated: I think
this has bacon in it?

(Who knew what the rest had to offer?)

And out the door, I walk; my eyes,
looking into the upward white abyss
of parachuting water droplets.
(It’s amazing: the frozen ones fall
slower than the liquid ones.)
And small down America
has its own, too. Its own realm,
its own designation. It has been
seen before: the serenity
snow falling and collecting around small
shops. A dog stands, cold
(e)motionless on the sidewalk.

It’s time to hit the road,
time to drive into the snow
flakes coming at the windshield
slowly but as quickly as stars
in hyperspace. Cue the music:
What Do You Go Home To?

Answer: a soundtrack. A CD. What makes that
soundtrack stand out? A feeling,
gut instinct? Inspiration? What’s the flow
of music? The titles of tracks, artists?
Where do you begin? Where do you end?
How do you crescendo? How do
you end?

[“What came first, the music or the misery? …
Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable?
Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?]
Nick Hornsby, his Rob Gordon.
Such High Fidelity. Point taken.

I should find that book
and finally read it.
What is not important:
the origin of the chicken versus the egg.
What is important:
the origin of the literature before the movie.
I stand up and stretch,
and I think:
Book shop: Have you been
captured and contained as well?
I’ve already managed
to drive by home,
so yeah. It’s a go.

Along the way: another coffee shop,
a second time,
a first refill,
a recollection.
Deja vu.
is moving,

Cue the music:
Welcome, Ghosts.
The pair of eyes
that peered from
the other side of
the bookshelf is gone.

Where I was?

[The record scratches.]


“Can I help you?”
Someone asks.

“No, thank you.”
Because I don’t know him.
I’m just looking.

Peanut parent mumble
emphasized by a guiding hand.
My eyes slide to right next door,
should the choice be wise, boasts
palm trees and sun.

“No, thank you.”
I say again.
Because floating sand is
not favorable, comfortable.
I know myself,
well enough to wake up,
to look outside,
to admire the fact

there is no glass dome


Christopher Malone plays with more thoughts and words at his blog, The Infinite Abyss(es). He also writes for the Skaneateles Journal.  Feel free to tweet at @Chris___Malone, or email him at [email protected].


The Inevitable Coffee Ring

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