In which I discover the magic coffee maker

cheap k cups taste great

<3

I recently started a job in a corporate office.  I personally was very excited because it is my first “real adult” job in my life.  I love getting dressed every morning in sharp business professional attire and walking down the halls with my briefcase on the way to my very own cubicle.  If you couldn’t tell already, it definitely makes me feel a little self-important and extremely fancy.
However, one of the drawbacks about working in the corporate world is that I no longer have the ability to take my time getting ready in the morning.  I used to be able to dilly-dally and read the paper or watch the news while starting my day. This includes being able to surf the internet a little bit and brew a few cups of coffee before heading out the  door.  Now that I have a morning commute to worry about, as well as avoiding rush-hour traffic along that commute, I just don’t have the time to do any of that stuff.  I have to be up, ready, and out the door– fast.
That’s why the Keurig coffee maker was such a smart purchase for me.   I used to have to choose between brewing several cups of coffee at a time, or watching the pot to see when exactly enough had been made to fill my mug.  Additionally, I could never seem to get it right because my mug holds more than one cup.  It seemed like with my old coffee maker I was always making too much or not enough. I felt like the Goldilocks of coffee drinkers.
With my Keurig and the individualized cheap K cups, I no longer have to worry about that silly stuff.  I pour in exactly the amount of water I need, and exactly the amount of coffee I want comes out.  Not to mention it is totally delicious and takes less than a minute to brew.  When I’m rushing out the door and on the way to work, one minute can make all the difference on whether I am five minutes early to the office or ten minutes late.  Thanks to Keurig I don’t have to be stressed out about punctuality, because I know I’ll be on time every time.  The fact that the Keurig coffee cheers me up and gets me ready to tackle my day is just an added bonus.
Finally, I have been able to make a solid impression with my bosses at work because I got them to be the newest converts to the Keurig way.  In the office break room there used to be an old, poor quality, industrial sized coffee maker that spit out tepid brown water.  Once I brought in my thermos full of Keurig and had my neighbors down the hall drooling from how good my beverage smelled, the office manager purchased a Keurig of our own.  I may be known as the “coworker who is responsible for the awesome coffee maker” at work now, but hey, I’ll take it.

HEAVEN AS NOTHING BUT THE DISTANCE BY JOSHUA ROBBINS

Heaven As Nothing but Distance
Maybe it was enough to believe
the Zodiac’s blazing entirety
would be cast from the sky,
an effortless handful of salt

scattered to the Kansas plains’
red wheat. Out West,
souls every day were shedding
their Earthly inheritance—the refused

histories of cause and effect,
blight, hunger with a trace
of Santa Fe Railway coal
dusting grocers’ displays—

and so my grandfather, too,
who, having left Topeka
for Los Angeles’s early sprawl,
exits the train station’s dim

into day’s white flash,
takes one step onto his upturned
apple crate, a new Bible
in his palm, and he begins

to explain why all things are fire,
what it is that makes you ache
awake, and why this must
be so. Once, on a gritty

city beach in California—flies,
stinking strands of kelp
rotting, Styrofoam—he
and I sat watching a gull choir

first eyeball, then swoop,
then peck, almost in unison,
something tangled in a blue tarp
washed-in above the tide-pull.

A drowning victim, maybe.
A vagrant. And though unable
to see what was there, when he
put his hand in mine

I could not have even counted
all the things I wished
to believe in, and which would still
be true if what I remembered

was the sound of the waves landing,
but now there is only the lungless
hot breath of L.A.
on my cheek, the cries of gulls,

their wings ruffling into flight.
The night after his memorial,
someone dug a hole into
Kansas silt loam, dropped

into it the plastic baggie
with his ashen remains.
Nothing then but distance in every
direction. Above us, a satellite’s

beacon begged the horizon
for home, the heavens’ scales
measured the darkness, and that’s all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joshua Robbins is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Tennessee where he teaches poetry and fiction writing, and serves as Editor for Grist: The Journal for Writers. His awards include the James Wright Poetry Award, the New South Prize, as well as multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. His work appears in Best New Poets, Mid-American ReviewThird CoastHayden’s Ferry ReviewVerse DailyCopper NickelSouthern Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

GUMBO by George Comeaux

Gumbo

I

Oil and Water have always mixed well here –
Priest and prostitute; Anglo; Creole;
Plantation owner; wet nurses; sharecropper –
Gumbo stirring in everyone’s soul.

Acadians trapped in the swamps no one wanted;
Africans danced to the auctioneer’s song;
Battered by strong winds, and social upheaval,
Twice reconstructed, more fertile and strong.

II

It’s not Oil and Water, it’s Black Gold and Brine!
Treasures embracing, to taunt destiny…
Mother Earth pierced, lubricants flowing
In post-partem sorrow to Grandmother Sea.

Life from the past, dueling life for tomorrow,
Clouding the bon temps that want to roulez;
Wings weighted, grounded; gills suffocating;
Shrimp boats aren’t a’sailin’ on Ponchartrain Bay.

III

Blame the pusher, the user, investor, producer;
Add up to total, send out the bill.
God said He’d forgive human transgression…
I don’t think Mother Nature will.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STATEMENT

Oil and water have had significant impacts on my life. My parents grew up on Louisiana farms near the Mississippi River, My father worked as a teenager with his father clearing swamps for the levees near Baton Rouge. My spent his career at Humble Oil in Baytown, Texas, on the Houston Ship Channel. Humble income helped fund my college experience. My hope and prayer are that the perpetual inter-dependence and conflict between Nature and Industry will favor the health and well-being of the larger family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~