Caffeine has long since ceased to stir me.
An addict with one sip
of a Starbucks frapp;
mugs and gallons later—
my hands stopped to jitter, my eyes stopped to flitter.
I drink it with the knowledge
that I can turn any cup of crap—
burnt, watery, Folgers, or all three—
into something I can swallow
Just as long as I'm just so with the sugar and milk.
Every night a cup before bed,
and I slide into sleep.
I work without a mug by my right hand.
A procrastinator down to the core,
all-nighters crawl up
in that space around midterms and finals.
Seated in that private little cranny
on an itchy green couch and with a lamp that won't turn on,
tiny computer on lap,
I guard my Beatles mug
filled with shit Folgers coffee
that fades cooler by the minute.
Maybe it's the smell that sticks in my nose
or the taste that even Altoids won't dissolve
or the occasional lean-forward-sip-grimace-set-down movement.
Or the memory of the hiss hiss sluuurp when the pot is filled.
But neither tea, nor soda, nor Red Bull
would have opened up the same clear tracks
in by brain, by which the Stone of Scone
or Salisbury or the War of the Roses flowed. I
am certain of little, but of that—of that,
there is no contest. Like my childhood blanket in disguise,
so warm with memories of home. Sip after sip of clarity.