April 15, 2021

“Botticelli’s Oranges,” The Poetry of Reed Venrick

“Botticelli’s Oranges,” The Poetry of Reed Venrick

Botticelli’s Oranges In an Italian port village near where the boy called “Allessandro” grew up, some thought his circles drawn must be made with a mechanical compass, so round, so fine, there in the Mediterranean sand, where Botticelli grew into youth, wandering through the orange and lemon groves of the Italian littoral; even then sketching lines of muscular trunks and extending arms branching into fingers of leaves, mixing into colors of rinds of reds and yellows. But when youthful fingers grew long enough to put a brush to canvas, he tinted the precious fruit In Madonna with Child and Angels, where she sat under blooming orange trees in spring, for the artist used orange trees to symbolize the virgin, because as he said: among fruits, only oranges are evergreen, “if one sees the mean.” So…

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April 12, 2021

“Kali,” A Short Story by Emily Chaff

“Kali,” A Short Story by Emily Chaff

“Is everything okay here?” “Well, it’s fine. But, can I ask you, I mean, I don’t know if you can do anything about it, but—” Kali waited beside the table, her fist tightening around the handle of the coffee pot she held. She couldn’t care less what the problem was. She wondered if her customers realized she was contractually obligated to ask them if they were enjoying their meal and if she could get them anything else. And with this guy, it was always something. He came in every morning the second the door was open. Breakfast started at 7am and she dreaded seeing his face peering through the glass, without fail, at 6:55. He sat himself at the same four-top table, table 32, and set himself up like a king holding court. Extra napkins….

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April 5, 2021

National Poetry Month: A Potpourri of Poems

National Poetry Month: A Potpourri of Poems

Editor’s Note: What goes better with a piping-hot cuppa java than a great poem that whisks you away to another world or makes you contemplate the eccentricities of modern life? If you agree, you’re in luck, because it’s National Poetry Month and we’ll be celebrating here at the Café all month long! To kick it off, here are a few words from our Poetry Barista, Yong Takahashi, followed by a biscuit of poetry from six different poets for you to dunk into your favorite brew. Enjoy!     A Little History In April 1996, the Academy of American Poets launched National Poetry Month to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry. It was inspired by the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March). Since its inception, it has become one of the…

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March 29, 2021

“Tress Theory, A Lesson,” by Kathryn Kopple

“Tress Theory, A Lesson,” by Kathryn Kopple

Charles gazed at the night sky and smiled. It appeared filmy, as if a giant sheet of wax paper hovered between him and the heavens. The hotel balcony, where he stood, gave him a sweeping view of the Gran Vía, the large boulevard that ran through the center of Madrid. Pulsing red, twinkling blue and violet, blinking yellow, speeding white high beams—the street swam with electric intensity below while above all was murky. Nothing shone or twinkled up there. Even the moon was less visible, something he noticed back in New York over a year ago. He didn’t make much of it, not at first, assuming that the moon’s disappearance was an effect of light pollution. Astronomers had long issued warnings: too much artificial outdoor lighting was responsible for transforming pristine darkness into an unsightly wash of cloudy denim. Charles experienced a sense of loss…

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March 25, 2021

“Amor Fati,” The Poetry of Vincent St. Clare

“Amor Fati,” The Poetry of Vincent St. Clare

Caption: Darvaza gas crater in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, said to be the Doorway to Hell. Amor Fati    I’d like to be happy in Hell  I’d like to wear my drill-on dunce cap  Stuffed to the brim with snakes and diarrhea  And all the same I could laugh all the while    Yes, I could smile  Like the Indian prince on his deathbed  Of stone covered in dysentery and then   Silence,     Despite it    But it won’t be by divine mandate   That I wash these walls  Or scrub the floors with a toothbrush  That’s got nails for bristles  Or a sponge saturated with  Brine and boiling metal    It won’t be by right or choice that I  Cross the fire and into the light  Or wander circle to circle all the way  To the big, bright gangbang in the sky    Surmounted…

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