Be careful what you say

There’s a new speech code

And the rules haven’t changed

It’s just a changed role

And if you’re surprised

You should’ve known

Be careful what you complain about

Or what you think

Or how loud

There’s a new PC code

And it’s a more more is less 

Kind of less is more reality

Kind of like let’s not agree to disagree

But jus be quiet if you don’t agree

Be careful what you pay attention to

Because the real bad news is going on behind you 

Whatever side you take someone’s lying

There telling the truth in parts 

The parts that will get to you

And make you cry and beg and pray

But they’re lying too

And the hidden price is one everyone pays

So be careful the sides you bet on

On this board everyone plays

A lot of useful idiots swallowing ideas

While the new wave rolls in 

Taking out all the pawns

Be careful what you buy into 

No ones getting a free ride 

cakeĀ 

100 hundred lashes 

Except this is America

We don’t use whips just fines

100 lashes

From the tongues of those who won’t be offended

100 thousand dollars is the price

Take down your business

And everyone is silent

Lest they be the next silenced

Take take take away

Don’t have the right cards

You don’t get to play 

100 lashes

But this is America

And we don’t use whips

We use economic battles

When you don’t agree

Baby there’s a new faith in town

And you must believe

Don’t care about the Muslims

Don’t care about the faithless

Or the Mormons

Or the new agers

It’s just you 

The new invisible nation is after

And watch us choke you out

And hear the silence

As we insult and degrade you

You know it’s the truth

Objectivity and free speech 

We dish it out but don’t take it

…. Can’t have our cake and it eat it too 

The Return of My Favorite Barista…

There’s a boy that works at Starbucks…No. No.No…I’m just kidding.
Four years ago a small business coffee/book shop opened right up the road from where I work. Becuase the stop had formerly been a Starbucks which I frequented, I did not shop there for several months. Instead I opted to go to another Starbucks. You know there are no shortages of Starbucks, Long Story short, somehow I wound up in Church Street one morning and found out that all their pastires were housemade, and some of them were actually really good for you. With the truly different pastry options, the location closer to work and the personalities of the business starters-I became an avid supporter. Like all coffee snobs, I had my favoite coffee drink and routine and my favorite barista. Sri. Sri Koduri is real, un prentensious, sweetheart of a human being and a genius at the espresso machine. No amount of money could be lost betting that he is the whole town’s favorite barista. He is that one that stands behidn the machine and gives you knowing looks about all the other customers. So of course you feel like you are the only customer he comes to work for. Genius.

My drink is not complicated. A soy au lait. Coffee and soy milk. After having a routine of dashing in and getting my soy coffee drinks and being late for work, I began to notice that they never tasted the same when someone else made them. Ever. I figured Sri put some vanilla syrup in them along with the milk. One day I mentioned it and he said he just put the coffee in after milk. Once I went in at night and requested that the young “I’m here because I’m a hipster in college and I need a part time job” make it that way. No difference. Even the owner who is also an exceptional barista, doesn’t make them the same way.I finally had to admit…I’m a coffee snob. I’m that customer that bugs people. As a bartender I know this…I despise people like me. But if Sri ever felt that way he was gracious about it. Sometimes during my years of work and school when I came in from a night of studying only to go straight to work, Sri would make something extra-probably a shot in the dark with soy milk for all I know, or a larger soy au lait. He would discount these at his own discretion when no one was looking and I had definitly not asked.

Last November I noticed that Sri had not been around for at least two weeks. I asked the new small framed person that Sri had been training where he was, had he taken a vacation? “Oh, he won’t be back for a while he has bells palsy…” Stunner. “What? How…when…what even is that? “His face is paralyzed…he really isn’t doing good’. I had to research this and all its unknown prognosis. Over the months we as a community kept up with Sri, who couldn’t talk and would send handwritten sign messages over his instagram and facebook. He and his partner started a gofundme for his therapy. I sent him a few messages and gave to his cause when I could. It became summer time and by then so many rotations of baristas had come and gone-or so it semed that way. I still supported my favorite small business in town. The tree hugger bars, the zuchini bread. An occasional chocolate cookie. The mixes on my coffee still sucked. I asked once for them to put vanilla syrup in it just to see…”ok..but the soy milk is vanilla…” Still not great. The litte person that had trained with Sri ,who also came the closest in knowing what I was looking for, had left for some reason. I asked about Sri from time to time and finally heard that he would be coming back , taking a few afternoon shifts here and there. Weeks went by but still no signs. I came in a few mornings would see a line, and realize I was running late for work and just leave. I can make coffee at work. The new person at the espresso machine doesn’t know me and the one at the register who I have seen for a month now still asks what size coffee I want. Finally Sri posted on his facebook that he would be back that week. I came in and asked a pair baristas who said yes he had been working the afternoons…but they still had not met him since they worked in the morning. “He has such a following..I mean for real…a lot of fans”. I answered “well yes he is very loved. No offense but it just hasn’t been the same”. “Well-what is it about him, I mean why…”

I could have answered “well he knows what he is doing” but that would be rude and an affront to the whole business. They do know what they are doing, and who can answer that question? Be you a barista, a bartender, the produce guy in a grocery store or the clerk at a bank. It is how you interact with people, because at the end of the day it all about people. It is also how you feel about your craft. There are jobs we have as ladders and there are jobs we have because we love them. Sri reflects all that. “Well..he is just a really sweet personality..he knows everyone and makes people feel good”. They gave me a blank look like that was the most generic answer to a lo of hyper emotions that they had probably already witnessed. They would be right. It was a generic answer. So I finally heard he would be in on a Sunday afternoon. Praise be to God I was off work and got to just go to Church Street for no other reason but to see a friend. He came in and saw me and gave me a big hug. Part of his face still unmoving and his speech a tad slower, but he still looked 99 percent better than his Facebook pictures from the winter, when the muscle/cranial shift had first happened. Yes, his was so extreme there was a cranial shift. He filled me in on the chiropractor/accupuncture/essential oil therapy that had taken months and was still ongoing. Hence the reason for gofundme. Alternative therapies cost and the danger of working with this type of extreme was really high. Fascinating and scary story. I told him about my promotion and of course he knew I had graduated. So he made me my soy au lait and slid it to me with a grin that said “I think you deserve that”.  I took a sip as I was walking away and there it was. That “whatever it is” that all of our favorite baristas or bartenders do to our favorite drinks. I’m convinced he puts syrup in it. But at the moment who cares-it was finally right. I turned and nodded to say “yes thats what I was looking for”  and he smiled. He told me that he told his partner about me and if I ever have to go into the Starbucks across town that he could make them the same way. (So there is a secret ).
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The gofundme page for Sri (w/updates)

And if you are ever in Mountain Brook Alabama, visit Church Street Coffee and Books. Great people!

Bell’s Palsy

As Long

She holds him even when she cant

even when she knows maybe

she shouldn’t hold him so tight

but she swears sometimes he pulls her close

in the late times of alone

in the middle of the night

when the world is spinning into maddness
and they know they will have to leave it sometime

for things that are more conducive to realities apart

but for the moment

they hold on even when they cant
as long they can

as long as they will

as long as it makes sense

I breathe in deep
still detoxing and thats the highest high I can get

a deeper breathe

all that oxygen in life

and its kind of scary sometimes

being nothing but alive
when you can hear your thoughts

and feel your feelings and there is nothing to numb that sensitivity
I sit and rock and tears at their own dicretion come to my eyes
and I pray and like when I was a kid

I know God hears me and He isn’t expecting me to be strong

or perfect and He knows I’ve been using crutches
and now He guides me to walk again
like a baby colt
or a butterfly beating at it’s cocoon

cocoon
thats what we do
wrapping our blankets around us
till we don’t feel the smother
and it’s scary sometimes
when we start tearing out

and see all that light
with no filters

distractions

or sedatives
to put on masks or hide tears

and being alone
without or stuff

is the vulnerable kind of fears

and knowing God sees you

and you cant pretend He doesn’t
and feeling the wholeness
feeling it fully

and wondering how
how it is

then understanding its life

as it’s giver would have it

Picture

Things I Don’t Want to Write

Throwing paint on this canvas

and seeing what it draws
maybe in between the splashes

people will see what I mean

more clearly then if it was just a picture
because these days man
what can be said that hasnt already been
what can be pushed that hasnt hit its limit

narcissisitc society
up on their self loathing thrones

begging the world to knock them down
but they would never get used to the taste of dirt
American haters

hating the veterans

the patriots

the old ones the new ones
making statements and making marches

like thats a new thing
on the eve of the last Independance Day

teething on the tethers coming that they dont see
burning down symbols

just like ISIS

ISIS

ISIS

ISIS

And I sat by the window
watching the world outside burn
and how they got so unbalnced
they rejected all their liberties and blessings
and swallowed the victims lie

and their teeth gnashing they talked about love
and they talked about peace
and objectivity

then they burned Bibles and drew lines

and turned on me

and talked about being progressive and somehow I didn’t fit in

and the respect for the any life that happened in our dark history

doesnt matter

and they made us pay
Like ISIS

ISIS
ISIS

on the inside
ISIS didn’t have to get us
we killed ourselves
so much freedom and liberty

they didnt see
all those words only spoken
while for a moment they were free
useful arragonce and ignorance

in a brand new marxist society

Thrwing paint on this canvas
pictures I dont want to paint
throwing aroudn words
and letters i dont want to write

cover my ears and hide in my head
cutting off from social media

and maybe I found some peace on earth

or at least of spirit

the things that are mine
they cant take it
and cant change my mind

just like the ones in orange

not conforming for ISIS

ISIS
ISIS

When’s the last time

watching as all of us spectators
listening to the agitators
and talking heads
leading a nation by hashtags
and social media campaigns
makes you wonder sometimes
when was the last time you heard your own voice
when it wasn’t repeating someonelses misery
aggravations or offenses
watching like a spectator
same things done every other decade and just gets louder
and makes less sense
nothing left to do so they just make up new ways to do it
and be careful not to judge them while they judge you
and bring you to court for the things you dont want to do
twisted words of love
now twisted the meaning of hate
words are just like everything else these days
subjectective and transparent and conducive to its speaker
makes you wonder sometimes
when was the last time we laughed
and was genuinely grateful
or did we get so blind on some kicks we weren’t getting
and so angry wanting someone to pay
and now the price is to high
and everyone is broke
made all these concessions trying to keep peace
but they still build fires
still make cases
still make speeches
and
cling to you like a vampires and leeches
makes you wonder sometimes
when was the last time we heard quiet.