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Having coffee with you (or I feel infinite)

after Frank O’Hara's Having a coke with you

by Amy Lynn Hardy

Having coffee with you


is more fun than late summer nights in Groningen when sunrise is at 4 AM and the city is both awake and asleep at the same time

or sitting at the edge of le Lez in Montpellier with a picnic of biscuits fromage and Chablis and a group of your favorite people (and mosquitoes)

partly because in your half button-ups you could pass for an Italian, but not really

or in your leather jacket you could pass for the Fonz, but less greasy

partly because of how fantastic nachos taste when you are sitting across the table from me

partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for Caffe Aroma

partly because of the way tiny libraries spring up whenever we walk around the city

like wildflowers and we pluck books we might read someday, echoes of voices like Jack Kerouac whose words are tattooed on your forearm

very serious very random questions about who you admire most or what’s the meaning of it all

how we sink in and out of deeply meaningful topics like destiny and then laugh hysterically about when

I got buttsick from street food in Vietnam and there was no toilet paper anywhere


and the fact that between us, possibility is a stretchy and molten lemniscate,

which I googled so I could tell you means ‘infinity symbol’ – I love the sound of that word

like hearing infinite waves crash against the rocks at Cueva del Indio in Puerto Rico

like infinite winds through pine needles or autumn fields – “that air feels great,” you say and I smile and roll my eyes at how you repeat certain statements

like when you say you always think I’m beautiful, how I infinitely want to believe it

the way we can stand on precipices together like Caspar David Friedrich’s wanderer and feel infinitely small but also infinitely alive because together we make each other more alive


Did the wanderer traverse the globe with an existential thirst the way I did?

France, Germany, Spain and so many more, searching for thrills and significance

trying to figure it all out while waiting for shooting stars on cold, dark nights

and marveling at clusters of purple-hued galaxies that reminded him

“not all who wander are lost?” That’s a Tolkien quote, by the way, which you’ve read and I never will because fantasy is more you and realism is more me, but together these genres can create magic

did the wanderer ever find love? someone he could write screenplays with? do a late-night cheesecake run with? binge The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with?

we seek adventures, but all we truly want is someone to laugh and lounge with in our cozy pants

maybe that’s what truly quenches my thirst


You told me

that poetry can sound like meandering thoughts (especially Kerouac), which scared me at first

and then set me free to experiment and taste every buttery sweet salty savory word

like this poem (even though I say I’m not really a poet)                               

but you find poetry in everything I used to ignore, like a rusty pipe or the rustbelt

it’s just

no one knows our world the way we do, and I love that because no one should

like a kaleidoscope we slip in and out of our pockets, we see everything in such bright colors

merging visions makes things 3D (or 5D if you’re spiritual)

how no one will know all the ways we’ve dipped into each other’s lives

and laughed until our bellies hurt and weaved a bit of our own poetry or prose or personal essay

I guess what I’m trying to say is:

coffee will always taste better when I’m having it with you – even from a Keurig -

and alone we can be great but together we can be extraordinary

and this luck will never be lost on me

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