Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords. I once read something about coffee. The thing said that coffee is good for you; it stimulates all the organs.

I thought at first this was a strange way to put it, and not altogether pleasant, but as time goes by I have found out that it makes sense in its own limited way. I’ll tell you what I mean.

Yesterday morning I went over to see a girl. I like her. Whatever we had going for us is gone now. She does not care for me. I blew it and wish I hadn’t.

I rang the door bell and waited on the stairs. I could hear her moving around upstairs. The way she moved I could tell that she was getting up. I had awakened her.

Then she came down the stairs. I could feel her approach in my stomach. Every step she took stirred my feelings and lead indirectly to her opening the door. She saw me and it did not please her.

Once upon a time it pleased her very much, last week. I wonder where it went, pretending to be naive.

“I feel strange now,” she said. “I don’t want to talk.”

“I want a cup of coffee,” I said, because it was the last thing in the world that I wanted. I said it in such a way that it sounded as if I were reading her a telegram from somebody else, a person who really wanted a cup of coffee, who cared about nothing else.

“All right,” she said.

I followed her up the stairs. It was ridiculous. She had just put some clothes on. They had not quite adjusted themselves to her body. I could tell you about her ass. We went into the kitchen.

She took a jar of instant coffee off the shelf and put it on the table. She placed a cup next to it, and a spoon. I looked at them. She put a pan full of water on the stove and turned the gas on under it.

All this time she did not say a word. Her clothes adjusted themselves to her body. I won’t. She left the kitchen.

Then she went down the stairs and outside to see if she had any mail. I didn’t remember seeing any. She came back up the stairs and went into another room. She closed the door after her. I looked at the pan full of water on the stove.

I knew that it would take a year before the water started to boil. It was now October and there was too much water in the pan. That was the problem. I threw half of the water into the sink.

The water would boil faster now. It would take only six months. The house was quiet.

I looked out the back porch. There were sacks of garbage there. I stared at the garbage and tried to figure out what she had been eating lately by studying the containers and peelings and stuff. I couldn’t tell a thing.

It was now March. The water started to boil. I was pleased by this.

I looked at the table. There was the jar of instant coffee, the empty cup and the spoon all laid out like a funeral service. These are the things that you need to make a cup of coffee.

When I left the house ten minutes later, the cup of coffee safely inside me like a grave, I said, “Thank you for the cup of coffee.”

“You’re welcome,” she said. Her voice came from behind a closed door. Her voice sounded like another telegram. It was really time for me to leave.

I spent the rest of the day not making coffee. It was a comfort. And evening came, I had dinner in a restaurant and went to a bar. I had some drinks and talked to some people.

We were bar people and said bar things. None of them remembered, and the bar closed. It was two o’clock in the morning. I had to go outside. It was foggy and cold in San Francisco. I wondered about the fog and felt very human and exposed.

I decided to go visit another girl. We had not been friends for over a year. Once we were very close. I wondered what she was thinking about now.

I went to her house. She didn’t have a door bell. That was a small victory. One must keep track of all the small victories. I do, anyway.

She answered the door. She was holding a robe in front of her. She didn’t believe that she was seeing me. “What do you want?” she said, believing now that she was seeing me. I walked right into the house.

She turned and closed the door in such a way that I could see her profile. She had not bothered to wrap the robe completely around herself. She was just holding the robe in front of herself.

I could see an unbroken line of body running from her head to her feet. It looked kind of strange. Perhaps because it was so late at night.

“What do you want?” she said.

“I want a cup of coffee,” I said. What a funny thing to say, to say again for a cup of coffee was not what I really wanted.

She looked at me and wheeled slightly on the profile. She was not pleased to see me. Let the AMA tell us that time heals. I looked at the unbroken line of her body.

“Why don’t you have a cup of coffee with me?” I said. “I feel like talking to you. We haven’t talked for a long time.”

She looked at me and wheeled slightly on the profile. I stared at the unbroken line of her body. This was not good.

“It’s too late,” she said. “I have to get up in the morning. If you want a cup of coffee, there’s instant in the kitchen. I have to go to bed.”

The kitchen light was on. I looked down the hall into the kitchen. I didn’t feel like going into the kitchen and having another cup of coffee by myself. I didn’t feel like going to anybody else’s house and asking them for a cup of coffee.

I realized that the day had been committed to a very strange pilgrimage, and I had not planned it that way. At least the jar of instant coffee was not on the table, beside an empty white cup and a spoon.

They say in the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. Perhaps if he has enough time left over, his fancy can even make room for a cup of coffee.

The Wait

It seemed

like years


I picked

a bouquet

of kisses

off her mouth

and put them

into a dawn-colored vase





the wait

was worth it.




in love.

– richard brautigan

Please Plant This Book

California Native Flowers

In this spring of 1968 with the last

third of the Twentieth Century

travelling like a dream toward its

end, it is time to plant books,

to pass them into the ground, so that

flowers and vegetables may grow

from these pages.


The time is right to mix sentences

with dirt and the sun

with punctuation and the rain with

verbs, and for worms to pass

through question marks, and the

stars to shine down on budding

nouns, and the dew to form on



The only hope we have is our

children and the seeds we give them

and the gardens we plant together.

Shasta Daisy

I pray that in thirty-two years

passing that flowers and vegetables

will water the Twenty-First Cen-

tury with their voices telling that

they were once a book turned by

loving hands into life.

Sweet Alyssum Royal Carpet

I’ve delighted to live in a world where

books are changed into thousands

of gardens with children playing

in the gardens and learning the gen-

tle ways of green growing things.


My friends worry and they tell me

about it. They talk of the world

ending, of darkness and disaster.

I always listen gently, and then

say: No, it’s not going to end. This

is only the beginning, as this book

is only a beginning.


I think the spring of 1968 is a good

time to look into our blood and

see where our hearts are flowing

as these flowers and vegetables

will look into their hearts every day

and see the sun reflecting like a

great mirror their desire to live

and be beautiful.


I thank the energy, the gods and the

theater of history that brought

us here to this very moment with

this book in our hands, calling

like the future down a green and

starry hall.

excerpt from The Abortion

an excerpt from The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (but published in 1970)

pg. 24

The 23

Ah, it feels so good to sit here in the darkness of these books. I’m not tired. This has been an average evening for books being brought in: with 23 finding their welcomed ways onto our shelves.

I wrote their titles and authors and a little about the receiving of each book down in the Library Contents Ledger. I think the first book came in around 6:30.

MY TRIKE by Chuck. The author was five years old and had a face that looked as if it had been struck by a tornado of freckles. There was no title on the book and no words inside, just pictures.

“What’s the name of your book?” I said.

The little boy opened the book and showed me the drawing of a tricycle. It looked more like a giraffe standing upside down in an elevator.

“That’s my trike,” he said.

“Beautiful,” I said. “And what’s your name?”

“That’s my trike.”

“Yes,” I said. “Very nice, but what’s your name?”


He reached the book up onto the desk and then headed for the door, saying, “I have to go now. My mother’s outside with my sister.”

I was going to tell him that he could put the book on any shelf he wanted to, but then he was gone in his small way.

Torpedo – aussie mag features richard brautigan

Torpedo is a 4x a year literary journal / magazine / printed object / whatever we call them these days.

The most recent edition is dedicated to Richard Brautigan. His daughter, Ianthe, wrote the intro and was involved in selecting contributor pieces. The magazine contains works of Richard’s (stories from Revenge of the Lawn, excepts from In Watermelon Sugar, Trout Fishing in America, A Confederate General from Big Sur and others)

The Book Show is a radio program from Radio National / Australian Broadcasting Corp and last week’s (April 20 2009) show featured Torpedo in ‘Fishing for Richard Brautigan’.

The show features a brief interview with Ianthe Brautigan. The majority of the program is talking to the the founder/editor of Torpedo and contributors of the latest issue of torpedo

probably the most interesting thing (IMO) is ianthe’s quote regarding not feeling like she needs to protect her dad anymore.

she also briefly talks about teaching ‘trout fishing in america’ to one of her classes. how cool would it be to be in one of those classes!