Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Reflections in a Coffee Urn

It‘s an El Greco face. The nose is string bean long. The lips are lush, marshmallow swollen. Twitches and grimaces redirect vertically. This is my morning face. I mug into the cylindrical mirror to see how much each distortion will be magnified. I try to restrict this perversion to my kitchen table.

If I do it at the coffeehouse, people will think me weird. They probably do anyway. They think everyone but themselves is weird. So who cares about them and their egocentric prejudices? Armed with indifference born of self assertion, I reject my inhibitions and start mugging in public. They can think I have a tic.

It is infectious. Day by day more and more mug themselves in the chrome column and join the facial feature fandango. I have unleashed a flood as unstoppable as a toilet flush. The coffee countenances take on their own reality. The images step out into the room and the people who spawned them segue like Alice into the looking glass. A new coffee-faced race inherits the earth. There is a radical new standard of beauty. The quicksilver look is attractive. Clothes follow. They are made of Mylar and emphasize sleek lines. Everything is serious, because spindle faces are somber. They don’t tolerate mugging into coffee pots. By their very engineering they disparage such depravity.

Coffee machines become short and squat. This is the undoing of cylindrical couture. A long-face notices the spherical surface makes his appearance wide. It begins again, a wrinkle here, a wink there, a see change in the opposite direction births incessant oscillation. There is no end. Style cycles between slinky and stumpy forever.

Author bio:

John A. Ward was born on Staten Island, attended Wagner College in the early 60's, sold his first poem to Leatherneck magazine for $10, and became a biomedical scientist. He is now in San Antonio running, writing and living with his dance partner. He has published in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Toasted Cheese, Green Tricycle, Alighted Ezine, Cenotaph Pocket Edition, The San Antonio Express-News, Antithesis Common, Apollo’s Lyre, Wild Child, Sentence, Sun Poetic Times, Byline, Quirk, ken*again, R-KV-R-Y, Cautionary Tale, The Smoking Poet and Long Story Short. Links to his work can be found at

No comments: