The Juice of the Bean

(To be recited at a steadily-increasing pace and pitch, reaching a manic screech at the end.)

I need that first shot of the morning caffeine;
It helps get me up for my daily routine.
I’m not really fit to see or be seen
Till I’ve had a hit from the coffee machine.

I churned out, one morning, by seven fifteen,
On eight cups of coffee, the verses you’re seeing.

And throughout the day, why I drink it then too
For all of the crises it helps float me through.
And when I’ve more work than one person can do,
I’ll drink it fresh-brewed or as thick as old glue.

You may think it debased, or a tad libertine;
But let me indulge in my vice of caffeine.

I’ve tried to swear off but I keep coming back.
Just when I feel cured then I have an attack.
I know that you think that it’s courage I lack,
But I say it’s coffee, please, I take it black.

It makes me alert while it makes me serene,
So make me a cup from that coffee machine.

While coffee’s the niftiest sin that I’ve seen,
As vices go, verses are almost as keen.
But this one must end ’cause—you know what I mean:
It’s just about time for my klatsch to convene.

So grind up the berries, fill up the tureen,
And brew up a slew of the juice of the bean.

Conundrum Equilibrium

(To be read pretentiously and pedantically.)

Reciprocity he knows:
Tit-for-tats. Quid-pro-quos.
He tallies up each debt repaid;
Strives to keep a promise made,
Costs defrayed, his options weighed;
Does the work to make the grade;
And always couples “free” with “trade.”
The duple logic of his mind
Would let no beggar go unfined.

Should disputations come to blows,
He always bloodies nose for nose.
Should passions wane, he has a knack
For handing failing friends the sack.
And so he tightens up the slack,
He fills the crack, he pays them back;
A balance monomaniac,
Settling each debt or grudge,
He tests the scales and weighs the judge.

Blocks of granite in repose
Have no choice but to oppose
Pressures delicate or coarse:
Granite’s something he’d endorse.
Basic physics is his source
In seeing life as countered force:
Matter, elbowed from its course,
Elbows back—in Newton’s writ—
Equally, and opposite.

An exegesis would disclose
The life he chose: like Latin prose,
Fixed, decided, preterite.
That ethics of exchange admit
No novel coin, no counterfeit—
He’s sure of it. And sure he’ll sit,
Sunk in his inertial pit,
By no assault his ramparts split,
By no new star his heavens lit,
By no means willing to permit
His thralldom to be manumit.
No will, no wish to overcome
Conundrum equilibrium.