Mean Bean Coffeehouse

Springdale, Utah

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At a normal time but in the edge of time zone darkness the two men wake up. An iridescent blue aurora divides the starched rococo pattern of the curtains. In the shower he looks out an open window. The canyon walls materializing out of the dark are drenched in a rolling ambergris front. A thick mist of drizzle is visible before the rock. His eyes are nearly swollen shut and his neck, as has been growing the case, is welded with paralyzed sleep.

Mean Bean Coffee House

I stand in the field beyond the motel watching the vent in the curtain of their room. He is coming down the stairs, stops, maybe to look back at the blinded brown horse and the blinded white horse in the back field, but is gripped presciently by the aromatic charge of the air, or the sudden pressure around his head of his cap soaking through, or the clouds slumping down the slate cliff and pooling into the empty field around the corner of the building. I am still standing there watching the vent in their curtain when they breach into the field. He and I wince, though somewhat relieved; we don’t recognize each other. This can happen but once in such an empty tract.

Up the road he asks them to burn the coffee and they oblige. First they burn the beans beyond the still unfathomable process of their tender and slow roasting. Then they place them in the bottom of a copper vessel on a high fire whose smoke is indistinguishable from the fog but for its odor. A second, more acrid smoke arises from within the copper and that he breathes deeply. Only the breath, the gasp of the recently destroyed is of complement to his palate. They oblige. When they make coffee of it he breathes its steam. He watches out the window as a vague change in the face of the rock registers the day risen. In the gravel road he dumps the coffee. A vague being like him needs only its breath, the gasp of its odor.

Mean Bean Coffeehouse

He wears faded blue boots with a gray flannel shirt and slacks that were creased as if to define him in them when they fluttered. Water quickly beaded and collected in stalactite waves rolling back and forth across the bill of his cap as he walked away. I lost them in the fog as they headed up the canyon road until it stopped. From there they walked into the canyon where it rose and narrowed. His companion put on a poncho and when his shirt no longer beaded the rain but drank it he did as well. They swayed like two blue ghosts, as a descending woman called them. The rain tapped on his hood and on his shoulders in unrepeatable code. Nagging fingers of water ran down his plastic raiment and fogged his neck. Juniper berries drifted against the canyon walls. Some had blossomed into little urchins of soft new scales. Wild turkeys strutted into a clearing. The half-eaten cactus pears bleeding onto the sand lay unclaimed. He stopped at the base of a high segmented cliff missing a cleft like the shim from the eye of an ax. Slots of the jelly milk sky eased between the segments and forth from them visible only before the black face of the cliff a much finer rain came than he expected from the tapping on his poncho. The vague droplets fell in flagellate swerves like a mistake in his eye when he looks into a blankness like the dead and flushed ochre wall of his enormous motel room.

Mean Bean Coffeehouse

I have gained access to their room. Where he had not been I became the landmark. A key had been left in the door for him the evening before and therein a second key was left on the small table against the doorside window. This I took before posting in the field for the night. Where they are not now I become them. The expiry of the window air conditioner rushes out into the room and stalls. That sound is protracted and repeated. A freshly vacated motel room is miraculous. It is coupled only with the funeral parlor in its capacity to bilocate the human individual into a setting that whatever is known to primarily compose them has fled. It also competes with the funeral parlor in the thickness of its lit air. Something too revealing is concealed behind meticulously pleated curtains. I began in the arm chair beneath the window but was so compelled by the vast field of bare carpet between the unmade beds and the far wall that I spread out there and read the bracketed passages in his dog-eared book ‘Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth’: Billions of bacteria, I am told, live in our intestines alone. Every one of them has a mind and seeks happiness. The curtains in the funeral parlor keep death in, not the light of the sun or the wash of the clouds out. I had always believed that the barring of natural light from the parlor was to protect the memory of the vacated corpse from the pale probe of the sun laying bare its failure to flush and prickle. It said here is a translucent body that could no longer live. But it is to keep that thin pallor from taking wing on the air and dusting the rest of the walking and blissfully alive with the foundation makeup of what seems a pathetic afterlife. I throw the curtains overlooking the canyon road. The clouds have feathered up, draping the far high crease of the canyon. Sheeting rainwater on the dark cliff straight out reflects the sky. For a moment I am ten million years hence in the erosive death of this canyon. The ochre of the room smothers me when I see the fleshy white sky. These colors are too close to the colors of the mind. I often refuse to acknowledge that the sky is the blue that it is. It shocks me too much. I rush out of the room on foot up the canyon road. He can pull the curtains shut again when he returns.

Mean Bean Coffeehouse

I have lost them but I climb the canyon floor as it rises and the sand yields to rock and clouds sail around me, then beneath me. The clearing out to the white sky is intermittent. Less frequently the canyon floor materializes. I catch views to the opposite canyon wall where folks stumble up a trail that appears to be etched lightly onto the rock. The people look cut out of frayed cloth. Like me their akathisia is rooted in an unknown. I have tried to give it a body at least. He steps out of the trees into the sand dimpled by the swelling rainstorm. I stand at the edge of the trail with smooth shear rock glossed down to him.
The will to live is like the belief in vision. I believe it has been with me always, that I see even when my eyes are closed. I know that something else exists, a tendency, that something else can be obtained. In that sudden binary where always there is one and the other is its opposite, I feel the magnetism of the canyon floor. My brain liquid in my skull lurches forward as if to leap out on its own into the rain and cloud. This tendency reaches around and blinds the capacity to see life eternal, pulls me to the edge and evokes in me the crunch of my skull quickly and simultaneously eradicating him and the canyon and the sky into precious disparition. But it is a vacuum that is the conjecture of the living. It is a charade of death because the emptiness of death can’t be known to the living. My doctor would accuse me of professoring myself out of suicide, but overthinking often has its merits.

Now completely alive I wait back against the rock wall for them to climb to me. He looks up into the clouds vaguely winding about me and thickening across the knobby tops of the cliffs and it begins to rain more earnestly. Thunder or jet engine stalks the valley. He and his partner turn back, visible walking far down the valley, then disintegrated beneath Velvet Ash canopies.

He sat up late by the low stave fence with an unopened can of Black Label ogling a prone cow. Her head of curly hair swirled in ringlets from the damp. An enormous, brown, ill-proportioned spot ran up her neck and down her snout shy of the mouth. It was a blemish that would relegate any human woman to a shuttered apartment or at the very least some oddly plastered hairdo. She sat there peacefully as the dusk swelled. Rather often she would creak deeply and kick out her hind legs straight across the ground to what a cow might want for an ottoman. I sat within a break of stocky, black cypresses across the pasture. I slept there too.


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Mean Bean Coffeehouse

932 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, Utah 84737
http://www.meanbeancoffee.blogspot.com/


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is a compendium of literary, anecdotal musings on coffeeshop and cafe culture.
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