Coffee For Poetry

Entry by: daddy

25th March 2016

“The morning coffee. I'm not sure why I drink it. Maybe it's the ritual of the cup, the spoon, the hot water, the milk, and the little heap of brown grit, the way they come together to form a nail I can hang the day on.”
Ron Padgett

Ashton dreamt that he was sitting on the parapet of a sea wall somewhere in Cape Town and the waves were raging froth as a huge storm developed on the horizon. A young boy was strolling on the parapet with his girl friend, then suddenly he jumped down on the tetrahedron cement blocks in a show of bravado without realizing the perils of angry waves. Ashton shouted but his voice got lost in the howling wind, he got up only to be engulfed in a wave that broke on the wall and choked him. He could no longer breathe.

He knew it was time for him to get up and clear his blocked nose. He had a two-bed room apartment near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, a city that his father loved for reasons known best to him. Ashton had got so used to the apartment that it had become a part of him over the past twenty years or so. Today may be a beautiful day, he thought as he left the bed, kept coffee for brewing, and started brushing with vigor, realizing immediately that he had used shaving cream instead of the toothpaste. Disgusting taste of foaming soap! He cursed as he rinsed his mouth and prepared to re-brush. He poured out coffee in his favorite mug, which had smiling Buddha on one side and his name on the other. He took a long swig only to cough it all out in the next instant. It was cinnamon and not coffee which he had brewed!

He grabbed his laptop and rushed out to catch the bus to Mountain View where he worked for LinkedIn. He remembered that Mobutu had come in late last night and was still sleeping. Good for him, let him also choke on Cinnamon! Ashton had left the coffee maker as it was, without cleaning it and it still had lots of brew! In the bus, he began to doze leaning against the windowpane.

Ashton Wallis and Mobutu Wallis were real brothers. Their father, Dr Richard Wallis, was a doctor, ever on the move, saving humanity from one pandemic or the other. During his time in Congo, he had been crusading against malnutrition of children and providing them with iron supplements. However, medical science realized too late that many in African countries suffered from Hereditary Haemochromotosis (HH). The iron overload from supplements damaged the livers and led to their deaths. Mobutu was the name of his attendant’s son who became a casualty, Dr Richard decided to name his younger son Mobutu in his memory. Ashton however, knew in his heart that it was also in the memory of Mobutu, the Gorilla that they had befriended in Congo and Mobutu had also been fed iron supplements along with other bucket loads of vitamins and minerals that were close to expiry dates. Mobutu (the Gorilla), lived his full life, healthy and loving anyone who had time for him. Dr Richard had shared many hours with Mobutu sitting by his side, since his wife was working in San Francisco and could come only on holidays to be with him and her sons. Mobutu (TG) had taken instant liking to Mobutu (The Human Child) and both got along so well that it was only for sleeping at night that Mobutu (THC) would enter the house. While they shared a bond of perpetuity and unbound playfulness, Ashton brought Mobutu (TG) his daily jugs of coffee, which the gorilla relished thrice a day, and would belch and paw him once he kept the jug down and settled by his side. Their father shared with Mobutu (TG) a much stronger brew of rum tot each night.

Mobutu, Ashton’s brother, had one single aim in his life, that was to become a declared alcoholic at least after working hours, but he failed in it for unknown reasons, maybe he had ingested Mobutu (TG)’s DNA to such an extent that liquor could not budge his liver or his senses. Now in his late forties he had started giving up on his drinking and commenced on a path of reform by coaxing his friends to become alcoholics instead. Ashton could barely stand liquor and was happy with his daily coffees, two black and a large one with milk and sugar exactly the way Mobutu (TG) liked them.

Ashton woke up from his restless doze to realize that the bus was pulling in to a gas station to fix a broken fan belt, he had no choice but to request his colleague to pick him up and ensure that he is in time for an important meeting with Cynthia, an Anglo-Indian project director from England. He could trace cinnamon grating in his gums with his tongue and leaving its sweet flavor in his mouth, just to remind him of the mishaps in the morning. Cynthia happened to be a health freak and took him for a walk as they discussed most boring aspects of her project, he kept wondering, why today of all the days? Any way, after all the walking and talking, she expressed her desire to have Darjeeling Tea. Ashton had to take her to Lisa’s Tea Treasures where he of course had tea, his part in the project would be crucial in ensuring his next year’s holiday to Namibia. It was around 3.30 pm when Ashton finally reached his office and started looking at the large piles of project data for his action. He called for a large espresso, but changed it to Cappuccino.

(Mobutu (TG) was getting restive; Mobutu (THC) could sense the same as the gorilla nudged him down. Mobutu (TG) got up with some effort and started walking round and round in circles, Mobutu (THC) ran inside the house the moment he heard the hooting sounds, he rushed to the kitchen and saw Ashton pouring frothing coffee into the jug. Mobutu (TG) had smelled the aroma even when Ashton was still inside, he let out a small grunt, lest Ashton forget where Mobutu (TG) was. Both sat on the ground drinking coffee from their respective containers, genetically linked, so far in kind but so close in nature. Tranquility came by and settled in the shadow of the gorilla; afternoon had decided to hail dusk early that day. Passage of one more normal day at Congo in the lives of the two children ensconced in the lap of nature.)

Before his cappuccino could arrive, his superior called him for discussions. Cynthia had appreciated his suggestions and had wanted to hand over the US end of project to Ashton before taking the flight back to UK that evening.

Ashton finally reached his apartment by 8 pm, to find Mobutu missing. He rushed to the coffee maker, only to be greeted by the sweet lingering odor of cinnamon. There was no coffee in the jar and no refill pack either!!

(If you are a coffee drinker, you know exactly that what happened next was poetry in complex motion…..and if you are not a coffee drinker, just chill, it doesn’t matter to you in any case)