Time Study

Marvin Bell

 
The coffee was cold so I said so. I said,
my coffee is cold, and then I repeated it
but with a variation, something like, my
coffee is cold and I said so, and then, I
said I am glad my coffee is cold because
I get to say so, and I said my coffee is cold
like the Sahara at night, and I said the Sahara
is a lot like my coffee, which has cream,
and it is cold which means I have to say so
or someone will say to drink my coffee,
which is cold and the camels are asleep.

Let’s try it again, I said, taking a sip of coffee,
and then not taking a sip but still holding
the cup and I said look at the cup and see
if you can see the Sahara and then I said,
it was in there a moment ago but I took a sip
and it is inside me I suppose, and I said then
the same thing, my coffee is cold, and also,
this coffee is cold to make sure they knew
which coffee, not coffee as coffee but coffee
as a part of the whole and also immediate
in some sense, like waking in the desert.

I write a lot about coffee, I said, and I said,
I just need to see who my friends are, the ones
who will stay till the end, and I added, I do not
take death as a personal insult, and I said it was
good to repeat things but not ideas, and I said
it was not good to repeat ideas, and I said also
it was good to repeat things, and I said my coffee
is cold and I can say so and I said when I say
my coffee is cold it is part of something bigger
that can last as long as I say it is, still is, and then
I said my coffee is still cold at this time, still is.
 
Copyright © 2013 by Marvin Bell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 9, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Poems by This Author

Around Us by Marvin Bell
We need some pines to assuage the darkness
Bagram, Afghanistan, 2002 by Marvin Bell
The interrogation celebrated spikes and cuffs
Mars Being Red by Marvin Bell
Being red is the color of a white sun where it lingers
The Book of the Dead Man (Food) by Marvin Bell
The dead man likes chocolate, dark chocolate
The Book of the Dead Man (Fungi) by Marvin Bell
The dead man has changed his mind about moss and mold
The Book of the Dead Man (Nothing) by Marvin Bell
The dead man knows nothing
The Book of the Dead Man (The Foundry) by Marvin Bell
The dead man hath founded the dead man's foundry
The Book of the Dead Man (Your Hands) by Marvin Bell
Mornings, he keeps out the world awhile, the dead man
To an Adolescent Weeping Willow by Marvin Bell
I don't know what you think you're doing
To Dorothy by Marvin Bell
You are not beautiful, exactly
White Clover by Marvin Bell
Once when the moon was out about three-quarters


Further Reading

Poems about Language
Anxieties
by Donna Masini
Avoid Adapting Other People's Negative Views
by Sharon Dolin
Etymological Dirge
by Heather McHugh
Having Words
by Alfred Corn
I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone
by Rainer Maria Rilke
I Want the Certainty of Love in Another Language
by Christie Ann Reynolds
Lines on Nonsense
by Eliza Lee Follen
Making It Up as You Go Along
by Bin Ramke
Onomatomania
by Thomas Lux
Past Inclemency & Present Warmth
by Eryn Green
please advise stop [I was dragging a ladder slowly over stones stop]
by Rusty Morrison
Poem
by James Schuyler
Primitive State [excerpt]
by Anselm Berrigan
Reduction
by Page Starzinger
Series
by Geoffrey G. O'Brien
The Composition of the Text
by Adriano Spatola
The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart
by Jack Gilbert
The Long Hand Wishes It Was Used
by Jackie Clark
The Translator's Dilemma
by Ann Lauterbach
The World Seems…
by Gregory Orr
Tonight No Poetry Will Serve
by Adrienne Rich
Water Music
by Robert Creeley
What Is an Epigram?
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Yes
by Denise Duhamel
More Like This
On Poetry and Craft [excerpt]
by Theodore Roethke
All She Wrote
by Harryette Mullen
An Exhortation
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Anybody Can Write a Poem
by Bradley Paul
Dawn
by James Laughlin
Dear J.
by Kazim Ali
Ephemeral Stream
by Elizabeth Willis
Epistle: Leaving
by Kerrin McCadden
Friend,
by Jean Valentine
From Trance Notebook #2 [nerdy questions about exact pitch]
by Wayne Koestenbaum
Hospital Writing Workshop
by Rafael Campo
In Portraits in Seasons
by Danielle Pafunda
In the old days a poet once said
by Ko Un
Inert Perfection
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Language
by W. S. Merwin
Leo Said
by Eileen Myles
Light (an Ars Poetica)
by Michael Cirelli
Lines on Nonsense
by Eliza Lee Follen
Night School
by Micah Ballard
Night Theater
by Meena Alexander
Poetry
by Alfred Kreymborg
Poetry
by Marianne Moore
Poetry
by Amy Lowell
Poetry
by Monica Ferrell
Poetry is
by Emilio Villa
Potentially Interesting & Secretly Devastating
by Tina Brown Celona
Q & A
by Terence Winch
Render, Render
by Thomas Lux
Scandal
by Lola Ridge
Sky Burial
by Ron Koertge
so you want to be a writer?
by Charles Bukowski
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
The Bear
by Galway Kinnell
The Gift
by Chard deNiord
The Language of Love
by Rodney Jones
The Novel as Manuscript
by Norman Dubie
The Politics of Narrative: Why I Am A Poet
by Lynn Emanuel
To a Young Poet
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
What He Thought
by Heather McHugh
what it means to be avant-garde [excerpt]
by David Antin
While Writing
by Noelle Kocot
Why Poetry Can Be Hard For Most People
by Dorothea Lasky