Arise By Any Other Name

## Coffee Blood

I wake dazed. The coffee comes out of the percolator like out of a vein and looks like liquid rust. It smells of gasoline—the smell through the worn down seal of a gas station pump, through lips like Victorian cuffs. This is how I keep waking.

Already standing in the kitchen. I wake incensed, in sea, into the wet insomnia of caffeine. I do not wake: I am rebeginning. I am pulled by the waking world, drawn as by something celestial and dense into the punctual periodicity of higher-order bodies. Into indulgent regulated time. Into sleep. Into wake.

In Diebenkorn's coffee, she sits beside a sky so close to blue it'll have you believe that colors are the tendencies not the guarantees of light. Because this is Diebenkorn's gift, a green room that isn't green—is instead the color of room. And she is around her cup like a window. Though she has yet to sip—it is only smell, the warm hot breath from the tilted ellipse lips. Coffee, that blood of blood! The cup a circuitless heart from which the river water, making it past all the drinkers and the sun and the stagnant pools, reaches at last the sea.

The cup already against my lips, I feel as though I am being recalled—not as though out of a dream but as though the dream were the one pulling and stronger and all the stronger for being opposed.

I stare at the underside of my wrists like I am looking for the opposite of time, but what I like is the plough lines of my veins; these secondary satellite hearts thrumming and auxiliary and I feel the warmed cup under my palms and it feels very much like I am holding something alive. And I pour the cup into my lips.

Coffee is not, as they will try to have you believe, the antithesis of sleep. For to drink coffee is to awake, which means to invent a sleep from which to rise. An imaginary repose, which is coffee, and its shedding (as of a coat), which is also coffee. But this, coffee as some comprehensive, broad-sweeping allegory, is insufficient. Coffee is subtler, too: the slight accents of life, liquid moorings without which "being" is a sentence where the letters have lost their ears, stems, bars, accents—an austere, ambiguous thing. Language in fall, where the letters have lost their leaves.

In Diebenkorn's coffee, he sits. He stirs his cup with a spoon the color of his blue suit. He stares out with his no-eye eyes, into himself. Give him more than those suggestions of eyes, and we might feel like he belonged to us; we might see his eyes look past us and think ourselves capable, too, of sitting and looking past things. And so, he would no longer have been stirring his cup, sitting in the early morning, staring at nothing in particular. We would have liked, too much, to take his eyes for our own.