The café sells coffee and ambience and gourmet breakfast sandwiches. The walls are exposed brick and they sell nitrogen-infused iced coffee. The tip jars read, “Mayweather,” “McGregor,” and “Decency,” respectively. (“Decency” has the most cash.) Customers discuss boredom, Twin Peaks (the show), and the beef between Ryan Adams and Father John Misty (aka Sir Elton Asshole). “I like his lyrics,” somebody says. In the corner a customer who ordered a pour-over has been waiting minutes […]
They are repainting the crosswalk lines on the day of the eclipse. Kids gather in the park to stare at the covered sun. But it is cloudy. So they stare at their phones. I notice a monarch butterfly arc a wide parabola below the El track at Wacker and Wells. I read somewhere that their population is down twenty-seven percent from last year, which is scary if you think about it. My father emails me […]
There’s a diner I visit sometimes when sleep doesn’t come easy. Tonight I order corn beef hash and eggs sunny side up and wheat toast and OJ. Coffee, she asks. And I turn over the cup. The sound of the coffee pouring comforts me like the presence of a few strangers at this hour and the mechanical din of the soda refrigerator at the entrance and the fact that I’m sitting at a booth by […]
When we landed, the sun was an orange lip on the horizon. Now it is gone. We rode twenty minutes over runways, past blinking lights and descending planes. The pilot comes on the loudspeaker. His tone is that of a remorseful philanderer. He informs us that we have another twenty minutes before we can deplane. The man seated next to me is traveling to his father's funeral. He lives in Ohio. His wife and children […]
“What gives,” I say as we pull into the parking lot of an upscale mall. “Where’s the water?” Ten minutes later I cast my line, aiming for lengths of plywood in the grass beside the freeway. After a couple misses, my old man yells over traffic, “Give it more wrist!” Cars slow. Drivers begin to ogle. I assume they are confused by the sight of grown men with fishing poles on the side of the […]
2:17 am. I switch on my brights and drive slow Along a road I killed a deer on once. I hang a right past the Best Buy and Dollar Store and Taco Bell. After I fumble my order, the man asks me can I pull up to the window. He has tattoos on his neck and fingers and is super friendly. I apologize and he informs me that there is an upcharge for the shake […]
Sunday night I sit on my parents’ deck and smoke a cigar. There is a pond behind the house and I admire the water, the moon, the elms, and the clouds. You can hear crickets, frogs, and the occasional turtle popping into the water. I know it’s after midnight when my near-blind grandmother locks me out.
Following the meal, my mother, a Brazilian, asked her in-laws, two Cuban émigrés who had made a home in the United States, “How was the food?” “Exquisito,” my Cuban grandfather replied, while making the A-okay sign, index finger touching thumb. My mother blushed and asked her father-in-law to lower his hand. You see, my grandfather thought he said, “The food was exquisite.” But in Brazil, the A-okay sign is a very rude gesture, more appropriate […]