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The Uncaffeinated Life

Ron Charach
From:   Dungenessque. Signature Editions, 2001


The uncaffeinated life is not worth living.

Why truck with existential extremists
who embrace a nervous life
to feel more aware?
No worse than white-water adventurers
who shoot the rapids in blue and yellow rafts
emblazoned large with "CAMELS,"
as if cancer sticks were a staple of training,
as well they may be.

Tonight I toss and turn
after coffee taken late at The Lombard,
the afterglow of a semi-tasteful "adult" film
repeating on me, unwelcome now,
the visuals nowhere near as good
as what one can arrange at home,
even if more extreme—and yet,
when one travels alone . . .

in shallows, like this attempt at sleep,
a drugged contemplation of whatever drifts by.
I try to push off with a mantra:
the usual prairie grasses
alternating waves of light and shadow,
but what chance has mindfulness
against chocolate-covered espresso beans?

My thoughts turn to German POWs
exported to Medicine Hat, Alberta,
forced to build the local dam,
and to the orphaned Jewish teen
corralled with them for no reason
until a Jewish family from Toronto
stepped in to adopt him free.

I think of the Jew who became a Baptist
after marrying an American.
On his deathbed, he converted right back,
then phoned around frantically for relatives
still willing to carry his pall.

And I think of ambitious limo drivers
high on bennies
who allow the car ahead an eighth of a chevron
for every 10 kph of their flight.

My last attempt is a counting song:
Type A on coffee/neutralized by sleep,
Type A on coffee/neutralized by sleep,

the result, a yawn so deep
it would make a coffee-grower weep.



Ron Charach's works copyright © to the author.


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