“When the Old Pilot Light Gives Out”


A CENTO – ((stolen prose fragments fromĀ The Control of NatureĀ by John McPhee))


The crisis was simple and economic,

decorated with a relief model –

to keep them from plunging through.

Fireworks flew high into their interiors,

molten, growling, and weighed

two-thirds of a mile a piece.


As it happened, the edge never being stationary,

one cubic metre of flowing lava, of

prescription beer, and the wind shifted,

houses burst into flame mechanically,

and never took no for an answer.


The volcano came loose, extending

like a finger halfway across the harbormouth.

Dad swims up to the glass in a “silent

scream of terror” and felt but a mild quake

when the living room imploded

and removed itself hereafter.



Iced Coffee

Isn’t it amazing? Sudden, intrinsic motivation to accomplish those secret goals without anyone’s asking. It is a lightning bolt that enters through the top of the skull, toasting neurons, and exits through the soles of your dirty old shoes. Burns your dirty old souls. If you had that metallic surgery for hip replacement, as well as spinal readjustment with steel rod, your body would be blown to smithereens. Pieces everywhere, no goal accomplished, aside from the ability to be everywhere at once.

Get out of bed without waking her up. Brew coffee like caffeine is not an addiction. Let stomach ulcers develop and teeth rot yellow. “The sleep was great, babe. Thanks.” Accidentally watery, remedied with viscous soy creamer, the black coffee brightens up through a gradient into brown, light comforting brown. Hot coffee on a hot morning is a mistake. I am too far gone, too impatient, to go through the process of creating iced coffee.

1. Brew coffee.

2. Pour into stove-top appropriate pot and let cool for 15-20 minutes as to not melt anything in the infrastructure of the fridge.

3. Place pot container lukewarm coffee into freezer and wait. Icy coffee chunks are rather nice but too much time in the freezer will cause a pot-shaped vat of black ice.

4. Pour over ice (chunks of frozen coffee or pure, filtered water), serve in a mason jar, with sugar and creamer as desired and enjoy.

Wonderful, right? Now I pause this instruction manual in order to burn my tongue on some lava hot caffeine on this lava hot morning in this volcanic valley.

The motivation to create interesting, beautiful things is out there. Some days that little whispering voice, the one that will guide you through to new territories, new inventions and mete out tiny quips of information outside the contents of your consciousness… some days that little voice is lost in the wind, the sound of cars, the sound of coffee brewing… and all is lost. Don’t allow that inner monologue to fade.

I am listening. Birds are chirping outside. Communicating. Flying.