A Prose Poem in Honor of International Coffee Day

Ron Padgett (1942 – ) American poet, essayist, fiction writer, and translator. His first collection, a mix of poetry and prose called Bean Spasms, was written with Ted Berrigan, and published in 1972. Padgett has since produced over 20 collections of poetry and several collections of prose. In 2018, he won a Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America.


To read Ron Padgett’s “Prose Poem” – a cautionary tale about morning coffee, click:


Prose Poem

by Ron Padgett

The morning coffee. I’m not sure why I drink it. Maybe it’s the ritual
of the cup, the spoon, the hot water, the milk, and the little heap of
brown grit, the way they come together to form a nail I can hang the
day on. It’s something to do between being asleep and being awake.
Surely there’s something better to do, though, than to drink a cup of
instant coffee. Such as meditate? About what? About having a cup of
coffee. A cup of coffee whose first drink is too hot and whose last drink
is too cool, but whose many in-between drinks are, like Baby Bear’s
porridge, just right. Papa Bear looks disgruntled. He removes his
spectacles and swivels his eyes onto the cup that sits before Baby Bear,
and then, after a discrete cough, reaches over and picks it up. Baby Bear doesn’t understand this disruption of the morning routine. Papa Bear
brings the cup close to his face and peers at it intently. The cup shatters
in his paw, explodes actually, sending fragments and brown liquid all
over the room. In a way it’s good that Mama Bear isn’t there. Better
that she rest in her grave beyond the garden, unaware of what has
happened to the world.


“Prose Poem” from Collected Poems, © 2013 by Ron Padgett –
Coffee House Press

Bear with coffee – illustration by Lieke van der Vorst


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Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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