Archives for posts with tag: coffee

lost parrot nancy l. stockdale
Morning Ritual
by Jonathan Yungkans

Open the front door at six a.m. See if the dead still stir. They never keep to a regular schedule.

Swallow hard to move sinus pain from skull. Keep swallowing. Eventually, it might work.

Walk into bathroom. Splash face and back of neck with cold water. Whatever you do, don’t breathe. Gasp for oxygen, your face buried in a towel, once you’ve finished.

Do not notice the dead, laughing.

Make coffee. Two rounded scoops of grounds, three cups water, and who knows how much gravel from ancient water pipes.

Close eyes. Thank God the neighbors are quiet. They dragged trashcans along their driveway, dropped boxes from their second-floor balcony—all of this well after midnight. Hopefully, not even the dead are up over there. Purple nightshade twists through chain link, the fence one solid bloom; the vine has wrapped itself around the plum tree in a backyard shotgun wedding.

Pour coffee. Take it black. Sip. Feel tiny gravestones down your throat.

Notice seven large parrots perched on a line between two phone poles. Their feathers glow green, brighter than money.

Fill large salad bowl with Cheerios. Add milk. Shovel mechanically into mouth.

Do not notice the parrots are now shiny black, look more like falcons.

Ingest two pills of sanity—one nightshade purple, one bleached bone—and a multivitamin, just in case you should live so long as to enjoy that sanity, whenever it might come—you’re pretty sure it’s not going to be today. The pills feel like larger chunks of gravestone going down.

Do not count the parrots. Do not notice there are only five now, or the two large splatter patterns below them, like when liquid-filled balloons are dropped from high above.

Drink more coffee. Keep drinking. There is only so much solace in the world.

Previously appeared in The Chachalaca Review, Vol. 5 (Fall 2019)

PHOTO: Lost Conure, Tarzan by Nancy L. Stockdale, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is how to get through the morning on days I have to force one foot in front of the other. This happens a lot more often than I let on. The weights of depression and unreal expectations for myself can be crushing in themselves. Together, they become almost unbearable. Thank God for coffee.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer who earned an MFA from California State University, Long Beach, while working as an in-home health-care provider. His work has appeared in San Pedro Poetry Review, Synkroniciti, West Texas Literary Review, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and is upcoming from Tebor Bach Publishing.

Censured at Seattle’s Best
by Ellaraine Lockie

A book bumps my
Swiss chocolate bar off the tiny table
to the freshly wiped wooden floor
Where the carefully rationed quota
of daily decadence
winks cocoa bean brown eyes
in clandestine persuasion

I’d pick it up
and plop it in my mouth
The life expectancy of most germs
being less than sixty seconds
If it weren’t for the three-year old boy
watching like a dog-in-waiting
to see what my next move might be

Role model mindful
And with maybe meagerly concern
for castigation from customers
old enough to consume coffee
I proceed with the picking up part
and place the chocolate by my thesaurus

The implied trip
to the trash can in the corner
is obscured behind a need to write longer
than a three-year old’s attention span
and a clientele’s turnover
When I can carefreely complete
my consummation of the culinary act

SOURCE: First published in The Centrifugal Eye and later in Coffee House Confessions (Silver Birch Press, 2013).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every morning I write in a coffee shop while sipping espresso and consuming an ounce or two of dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa. There is a ritual to this that I highly recommend: after each sip of coffee, place a tiny bit of chocolate on your tongue and let it melt. Never chew. This allows the 600-plus flavor components of chocolate to penetrate your taste buds like a fine wine does. The process can take fifteen minutes, and when you’re finished, you’ll feel like you had a most sumptuous and satisfying dessert . . . and also like you’d never really tasted chocolate before. Try it! P. S. And I almost never eat it off the floor.


Ellaraine Lockie
is a widely published and awarded author of poetry, nonfiction books and essays. Her eleventh chapbook, Where the Meadowlark Sings, won the 2014 Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. She is currently judging the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers.

by Laura M Kaminski

I open the top of the river-blue
box, remove a wide flat cube of sugar,
replace the paper cover over all the sweet
remaining gravestones

I pour fine-ground coffee, nearly powder,
into the steel pot, its pouting lip stained
brown from habit, pour fresh water over,
set it on the fire, stand with my hand
wrapped in a handkerchief
upon the handle

I watch the pot until it boils, have learned
despite the warnings and the tales
this is possible, this kind
of waiting.

The sugar cube is solitary at the bottom
of the green chipped stoneware cup. Beside it
on a napkin, three seeds of cardamom
still hidden in their husks
are waiting.

The water heats into small streams
of bubbles, steel releases acid scent, reacts
in ways that smell, at first, like fish
and then like bile, the bitter grit churns
through the liquid

I lift the pot to pour the brew
over the waiting headstone, tilt gently
to pour liquid only, leave
the saturated grounds. I float
the seeds of cardamom
upon the thick brown surface, three
lotus buds cast on the muddy
Ganges, just beginning
to open.

I place it on a small wool mat within
easy reach of your hands. Now you can
wrap your fingers around the warm mug,
welcome your coffee with Domino
sugar. Lick your lips to wet them
before you take a sip. I know
they are dry. I know you’ve been

IMAGE: “Turkish Coffee Poured from Copper Ibrik” by Eaeeae.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura M Kaminski is an Associate Editor at Right Hand Pointing, and the author of several poetry collections. You can read more about her poetry at

By Edward Hirsch

I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.
No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.
It’s like this: just when you think
you have forgotten that red-haired girl
who left you stranded in a parking lot
forty years ago, you wake up
early enough to see her disappearing
around the corner of your dream
on someone else’s motorcycle
roaring onto the highway at sunrise.
And so now I’m sitting in a dimly lit
café full of early morning risers
where the windows are covered with soot
and the coffee is warm and bitter. 

SOURCE: “Early Sunday Morning” appears in Edward Hirsch’s collection The Living Fire (Knopf, 2010), available at

IMAGE: “Cup of Blue” by Sebastian Lartiste. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote the national best seller How to Read a Poem. He has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of work. He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City.

Morning Poem 
by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

I want to describe my life in hushed tones
like a TV nature program. Dawn in the north.
His nose stalks the air for newborn coffee.


Find more poems by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in BRAIDED CREEK: A Conversation in Poetry, available at

Illustration: Label by Ray Troll for “Wicked Wolf: Raven’s Brew Gourmet Coffee” available at

by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

How attentive the big bear resting his chin
on the bird feeder, an eye rolling toward my window
to see if he has permission for sunflower seeds.

…Find more poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in BRAIDED CREEK: A Conversation in Poetry, available at

Illustration: “Grin & Bear It” label (by Ray Troll) for Bruin Blend® coffee, available at, where the product description is pure poetry…

Bruin Blend®
by Raven’s Brew Coffee®

Decadently luxurious. 
Heavenly syrupy body 
in a laid-back orchestration 
of pleasant earthy, 
herbal and warm-spice flavor notes 
creates a pool of deep ponderance 
for your palate.


Congratulations to Ellaraine Lockie — author of the Silver Birch Press poetry release Coffee House Confessions — on her latest rave review.  Written by David Fraser — who calls the collection “unique…quirky, entertaining, and meaningful” the review appears at ascentaspirations and ragazine.

For her admirable poetry in Coffee House Confessions, Silver Birch Press is pleased to nominate Ellaraine Lockie for a 2013 Pushcart Prize. To celebrate, here’s a poem from the collection:

by Ellaraine Lockie

He asks if I’m Carol
A serious man squeezing a paper coffee cup
and smelling like an ad for Calvin Klein cologne
My denial so devastatingly disappointing
that he dashes straight to his Porsche convertible
And in despair peels out of the parking lot
Or his expectation so exceedingly unmet
that he chauffeurs disillusion and any further gamble
to his wheels of fortune and spins out of the game
I don’t even know the rules
But finish my iced Italian roast
Feeling like a woman who lied on her resume

Find Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie at

Cover photo by Nick Warzin. Find him at


I have measured out my life in coffee mugs
by Dale Sprowl

I have measured out my life in coffee mugs
Mornings I choose my mug based on my mood;
Today it is grandma MJ’s shiny, black mug
which sits just right in my hand
and holds the coffee (and me) perfectly.
Another day may bring the distant warm waters of Caneel Bay,
While tradewinds stroke my face and queen palms dance.
The family mug reminds me of Christmases long ago,
And Conky’s mug reminds me of the yellow rose of Texas
Who made the best breakfasts.
But some days, I choose the stainless steel Harley mug
as I ride up the coast between Laguna and Long Beach. 


Photo: Caneel Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands, mug available at

by Gary Snyder

There are those who love to get dirty
and fix things.
They drink coffee at dawn,
beer after work,

And those who stay clean,
just appreciate things,
At breakfast they have milk
and juice at night.

There are those who do both,
they drink tea.

Photo: “Sara’s Dirty Hand Holding a Coffee Cup” by Benjamin Stone


Congratulations to Ellaraine Lockie on the stellar reviews for her poetry chapbook Coffee House Confessions (Silver Birch Press, 2013). Reviews are featured at the Winning Writers Newsletter site ( and also  included below along with some additional blurbs.

“I know no one else who manages to combine quantity of poems with quality the way Ellaraine Lockie does. She is a font of creative ideas and brings the ultimate in craft and experience to the realizing of those products of inspiration, observation and research.” Gerald Locklin, Professor Emeritus of English at California State University, Long Beach

“It is official; Christmas has arrived early this year with the publication of Ellaraine Lockie’s latest book Coffee House Confessions. I knew the merits of this book before I cracked the cover but each poem gave me an enjoyment that so few other writers can muster. This is a wonderful book by a talented poet. I recommend it highly, especially for those summer days sitting outside at your favorite coffee shop.” Ed Bennett, Quill and Parchment

“I am enjoying Ellaraine’s collection immensely…the settings for these moving short stories in poetic verse are international in flavor and tone (Spain and Portugal, for instance) and there are universal truths aplenty, from musings on the unkind aspects of aging, to the self-justified apathy toward the less fortunate in society (and on the sidewalks and outdoor patios of coffee hutches that we share every day).” Rodger Jacobs, Journalist

“This collection deserves a wide audience…once coffee houses were locales for galvanizing live poetry readings, now we can achieve almost the same nirvana by reading this witty book.” Christine Pacosz, FutureCycle Press

“…a very well done collection of poems… there’s something for everyone in this collection. If you love contemporary poetry, you are sure to find some gems here that speak to you. If you don’t know if you love contemporary poetry, this might be a good place to start finding out.” Marcia Meara, Bookin’ It

“…a really great read.” Jessie Carty, Review Wrap-Up,

Find Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie at