Coffee: a security blanket, health-hazard, and world-tilting device.
Hey slushies, today we’re discussing Frank X. Christmas’ poem “Coffee, Ice Cream.” But first! Alien business people are descending on Drexel’s cafeteria (“the place… where people eat?”) and our editors are braving malfunctioning footwear and costume parties. Much mayhem at the top of this episode, Slushies, so if you’re eager to check out the poem and the critique you can skip ahead to minute [11.35]. Frank X. Christmas’ poem is both surreal and nostalgic. Somehow it acts on us the way a good cup of coffee does: we feel a little bit separated from space and time. The editors discuss how it drags us into a reverie where everything spins and flows. We are in flux. They then debate about the age of the girl in the photograph and the ways time seems to have collapsed. There might be feelings of loss embedded in this work, but there is also warmth, comfort, and the sweetness of a vanilla scoop. After their discussion the editors lay out a few of their recent reads including The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner and The Tradition by Jericho Brown.
At the table: Marion Wrenn, Kathy Volk Miller, Jason Schneiderman, Samantha Neugebauer, Addison Davis, and Joe Zang.
F.X. Christmas, a lifelong New Englander, was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied accounting at Bentley College and journalism at Northeastern University. His poems and stories have appeared in Northwest Review, Seattle Review, Manoa, Gulf Stream, Midwest Quarterly, and other magazines. Today he is working on linked stories, longer manuscripts, and more verse. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, his daughter, and the family dog.
Poem by F.X. Christmas:
Coffee, Ice Cream
Sitting here drinking coffee makes me shaky,
hasty for the minute in the hour of the day
when the three year old redhead with the mona lisa
smile in the picture atop an unadorned table just off
to the side of my unmade bed walks in with
inscrutable calm, the origins of which disarm me
as if the bowl of ice cream she orders with
cherries before even taking her seat is the world
and all it contains not to mention the sly and impossible
smile in that snapshot next to me here, real as life,
owing no doubt to the fact my composure is
off-beam and wooden, for one thing I’m low on
caffeine and as such prone to apparitions and
wraiths, now you see them now you don’t,
addition by subtraction.