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Sep 2012
I shouldn’t be drinking coffee.
I shouldn’t be reading the news.
It makes me anxious, and it’s not only the chemical interaction.
Somehow, I associate it with “adulthood”—reading the news,
Drinking coffee—I can’t tell you how many days of the last few
Years have been spent entirely in this fashion. The coffee
Growing cold and the news colder still. I don’t even taste the
black, fluid drops. I don’t hear the screams of people I read
about. I just want to hold on to something—so I raise the glass
to my lips. I can’t say

the shocking words when my mouth’s full; I can’t tell

about my experience, my privilege, when I’m drinking it.


The production of the commodity

creates a line from some equatorial region
to central America, and my mouth.
I think about the Autumn I worked in a corn-seed
sorting facility. What a short experience—
and yet,
something that weighs heavy on my imagination.
I was a temp worker.
I chose to work there out of shame and guilt for having
missed the deadline for college enrollment.
I could have done anything else; but there were people
there who wanted nothing more than a job. They needed
to be
there.
And I think of the people involved in producing coffee beans

in much the same way.
Removed
from the thing they’re making, as the raw materials are shipped
to places you pay workers more.
Why shouldn’t I swallow with difficulty when faced with the pro-
spect of a person supporting their entire family with the type
of work
I did
reflexively, as a choice?

Now I sit here, reading about North African riots,
a region, where coffee is produced—
ARABICA COFFEE— and I think about what’s sitting
in my cup, how I have
spent more money than they make in a day
to buy
one container

and sit here
for an afternoon
doing nothing but reading about their families’ misery.

I am a human parasite.

And like the bedbugs that have crawled meticulously
between my mattress and bedframe, hiding in a safe spot
until they can come out, undetected, and **** my potency.

I sit here, in the comfort of an apartment furnished
and paid for by my father who grows corn in a highly-
mechanized, agricultural society. I take more and more,
festering to the size of a blistering, red dot
blinking in the dark, in the form of the record light on
my voice recorder.
I expect so much more from myself, simply because of
this position of luxury.

But I don’t take time to think about my reaction to these
stories or how I am involved in them, in shaping their plots.
I’m even eating more now
as I’ve nearly lost my concern with avoiding certain super-
markets.
I smile at the greeters, make small talk with the cashiers
whom I am openly exploiting. But it’s ok, because
I worked for a month at a cornseed manufacturing
facility
and I read Marxist Ideology,
and I know about the Arab Spring
and I was against American intervention in Libya
and I disdain the air strikes from robotic planes
(unauthorized by congress)
and I disdain congress
and I support gay marriage
(I stopped eating chicken).
I don’t drive to the suburbs of my city.
I walk and ride my bicycle as much as I feel like.
I use public transportation at times.
I try to get to know women.
I practiced safe ***, once.
I write poetry.
I tell my mom I love her.
I bought my nieces birthday presents.
I’m not overly nice to people of different
ethnicities.
I voted for Obama.
I’m trying.
All these things make it seem less bad
to smile at the cashier.
But then I think about my black studies Professor
who used a walker to come to class
because she fell
and spelled the word Amendment “Admendment”
on the board when talking about Reconstruction.
I think about the war in Syria.
I think of people dying from cholera in Haiti, in 2012
A.D.
I think about fracking and oil spills and …
irrevocable damage to Indian reservations.
I think about football coaches molesting children
and people eating fried butter.
I read about people
upset
with a movie
who protest in the streets for days.

It makes me realize I shouldn’t smile at anyone.
I shouldn’t be drinking coffee.
I shouldn’t be reading the news.
Sansara Justinovich
Written by
Sansara Justinovich
  4.6k
   C M S, K Balachandran, Lucky Queue and Naiha
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