On Coffee


photo by Victor Romanyshyn
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• A Tibetan monk picks coffee cherries near a wooden temple painted red and gold (the Big Island).

• A boy smells coffee being ground in an A&P (New York, just after World War II).

• A frail white-haired woman in Becky’s Diner is asked if she’d like coffee. “OH GOD, YES!”

• A Panamanian man holding a machete looks up a hillside of evenly planted coffee trees. He is medium-sized, compact, wearing jeans, a work shirt, baseball cap, and high rubber boots.

• Balzac, in a bathrobe, writing steadily, pauses to pour another cup of coffee from a silver pot.

• Bach plays a short theme with his right hand, composing The Coffee Cantata, the universe amused.

• Van Gogh, 15 cups in one day. Another masterpiece.

• Trollope looks at a pocket watch, puts his pen in its stand, takes a final swallow of coffee, and leaves for his day job.