The New Yorxpedition: Day One

The Fox and the Crepes, mere steps from my temporary lodgings. Pictured: Lifesaving coffee. Not pictured: Lifesaving crepes.

Off the plane by a little after 7AM, bleary eyed stumbling through JFK, onto a waiting train to a waiting train to a wrong train to a right train to Brooklyn, where my host whisks me away to brunch almost as soon as my bags hit the floor. We’re diving back down into the metro and I completely lose track of where we are until we resurface and suddenly we’re in the guts of Chinatown, wandering past slabs of fresh fish on ice and noodle houses by the dozen. We walk until we find the intended restaurant is backed up out the door, his Toronto friends that have joined us recommend a nearby taco shop and before long I’m putting away banana-leaf-wrapped flank steak tacos and tall cups of coffee and staggering back to catch three extra hours of sleep before the evenings adventures begin. When they do, we’re navigating a construction-wracked warren of train transfers until we arrive at the Harlem apartment of one of my hosts classmates. It’s an exposed-brick sixth floor artist’s nest with books and scripts scattered across almost every available surface, the walls lined with hand drawn portraits of famous dead men (her “harem,” with King Charles, Kafka and Aaron Burr among her favourites.) Everyone there is sociable and welcoming, the conversation ranging wildly from the historical (did you know Aaron Burr tried to declare himself Emperor of Mexico?) to the bizarre (toilet paper versus paper towels, the ultimate showdown.) By the time the wine bottles are emptied and the guacamole consumed it’s nearing one AM, and the various train delays and long stretches spent wandering the platform waiting for an errant F train to materialize drag the journey out until it’s well after 3:30 in the morning by the time I stagger back and hit the couch like an astronaut suddenly becoming very reacquainted with gravity.
First impressions? I like it. I like it a hell of a lot.
More to follow once I get some coffee in me.

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Starbuckette Revenge Fantasy

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Sooner or later
in the inflamed gut of a mall near you
one espresso-caked, collapsing-on-her-feet
hour-past-my-supposed-break barista
has had enough.
She will no longer ask
if you’d like skim milk
or two percent.
She won’t offer the caramel drizzle
She’ll just pop the cap and dump
half a bottle of diabetes-inducing goop
into your diabetes-inducing drink
add a shake of chocolate rinds
a dash of chai and a healthy healthy york
of saliva and say “On the house!”
Order will disintegrate
faster than a frappucino morphs
into sugary soup, the furious clientelle
try to cling to the comfortable traditions of old,
but their coffeeslingers aren’t answering to
Tall, Grande or Venti anymore.
It was always Small, Medium, Large in their hearts.
As the Pillars of Customer Service
crumble like the Roman Empire
a hundred hundred Starbuckettes
frothing like the milk they churned
will tear their green aprons into armbands
and revolutionary flags
hijack the sound system and play
Nevermind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
as loud as they possibly can
while they create an ad-hoc war tribunal
and charge petty middle managers
with squandering their time and talents
making lattes out of lifetimes.
And as the Democratic Republic of Stabucktica takes shape
The other minor lordlings of the Old Navy and the Cell Phone Shack
nervously gulp down their ten-dollar thai food
and lope back to their fiefdoms
to hold a very urgent meeting
about teamwork.