Zumwalt Poems Online

Black with Sugar

Black with Sugar

Loam-dark
A mellow companion, rich
Whose waving vapors indicate
The only friendly warmth in this
Orange-and-yellow plastic always open Tabernacle

Silent on the Formica
Sweet Latin scents caress the senses
Softening
Blows from the nicotine grayness
And insipid ceiling-speak Muzak

Smooth and sepia
Spirals down the throat, wet, warm
For a moment attention drifts
From the bleary graveyard denizens
        the three-day growth denim jacket derelict
        the greasy ember of a cook
        the scrubbed behemoth cop
        A granite waitress

A quiet witness
To a melancholy 3:00 am solo
Outside
        the neon punches holes in the glacial black
        splaying stark pastels across the street’s lonely void
Inside
        Indifference frosts the electric décor
The mug is chipped
But its contents fight the chill and bring a
Welcome, wistful
Smile

— Zumwalt (1977)

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Comments on: "Black with Sugar" (17)

  1. Your writing is wonderful and your imagery is brilliant! I could smell the aroma! You truly pull your readers in! 🙂

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  2. you paint images with a wonderous pin (keyboard) (~_~)

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  3. Stunning photograph and I agree, wonderful imagery in this poem.

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  4. Sheila Moore said:

    Outstanding word choices/descriptions. I love coffee! you portrayed the characters and setting with such clarity and brevity

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  5. great imagery. Love the grounding of the piece and that the richness of language was reserved for the coffee…the drinker only achieved a small mention at the very end

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  6. i take mine black without sugar…and after reading this…i NEED one… smiles…excellent!!

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  7. Congratulations, zum! You expressed so expertly, so rhythmically and poignantly WHY we writers love to hang out and write in coffeeshops! Can you beat the everlasting inspirations in those places? Hooray for java and sugar and chipped mugs and half-asleep waitresses!

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  8. I like my coffee string and black, and I long for the freedom to hang out in coffee bars and write………… but for now the kitchen or the living room will have to suffice.
    The poem zum is wonderful, it flows and ebbs wafts and waivers just like smoke from the coffee mug! xx

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  9. I like my coffee string and black read that as “I like my coffee strong and black! ” 😀

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  10. This was a particularly enjoying one. I enjoyed the description of the people, the granite waitress in particular, and the neon punching holes in the dark. It makes me want to start a story using these descriptions and the cafe setting. I may do just that. Thank you for the read and the inspiration.

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  11. The picture makes me crave it for some reason. Lovely imagery with your words. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 😀

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  12. Ah yes, I can smell it as Lauren said. A vividly compelling description of a beverage I otherwise have little love for. Your poem has much more flavor 🙂

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  13. sounds delicious. nothing compares to a cuppa at the right time. 🙂

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  14. I agree, delicious!

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  15. wow ! i am having coffee right now and reading this added a little punch to my poison 😉

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  16. I seldom get to go to a coffee shop. We do have a few neighbors, but they are outnumbered by cattle, coyotes, elk, deer, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, rabbits, an occasional lynx, and the rest of the local menagerie. But boy do I relate to the coffee smell in this poem. When I come downstairs in the morning, and Ethel has made a fire in the fireplace, and the coffee’s aroma is waking me up, life is good–sort of like this poem.

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  17. I can smell the aroma of coffee, goodness I love coffee, hahaha, and now better make a cup of it…

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