Living in Bad Homburg is easy to do if you can afford it. Once you get here, you can relax and enjoy all the free things this town provides, things like good schools, an excellent public library, beautiful parks, the Louisenstraße and all the window-shopping you can handle. In the warm weather season, we get outdoor concerts, the parks become museums of modern art, and the street musicians come in droves (though the stout of heart stay and perform even in the snow).

Market Day in Homburg

Market Day in Homburg, early Spring.

Then there’s the farmer’s market, which comes every Tuesday and Friday. Those are special days for me. I can stroll along the busy walkway and inhale all the smells as I go: meats, cheeses, flowers, pastry, vegetables, more flowers and more vegetables. People chattering, exchanging, waving hello as they hurry past. Wonderful.

When I lived in Seattle, Washington, I learned to love coffee and espresso. If you didn’t know it already, Seattle holds the world record in two things: largest quantity of coffee bean sold per year worldwide and the largest quantity of sunglasses sold per year worldwide. The reason for these two trends is one-fold. The rain. It rains a lot in Seattle, pretty much every day. So people need a good kicker: caffeine; and they need sunglasses because on the few days a year when the sun does actually break through the clouds, no one can stand the glare of sunshine. They haven’t used their sunglasses in – maybe 312 days, have no idea where they might have put them, and so must quickly purchase a replacement pair to save their tender pupils.

Since moving to Germany, my eyes have grown accustomed to more clearly defined seasons. There are actually four! I know exactly where my sunglasses are. But I still love coffee and espresso drinks. What has changed for me is that I now prefer my espresso pure. No syrups, as I was wont to do in the US. I’m not sure if that’s because my pallet has adjusted to a more European taste or if it’s just because I’m getting older and syrups don’t hold any allure anymore.

 

Don’t Yell About My American Sweetness! (Ahem.)

I’d just like to point-out though that while Germans seem to be of the opinion that American food is sweeter, that isn’t always the case. Not in all foods. For example: there is no such thing as an Amerikaner cookie in America. That invention is pure German, and I believe it was named the American so that the German sweet tooth can be blamed on me personally. (See: me wink.) It’s ok, though. I’m a sweet gal.

Amerikaner

The very popular Amerikaner cookie, very sweet. Like me.

Also: ketchup. German ketchup is to my taste very sweet. American ketchup is more vinegar-based. Where American food is definitely sweeter is in greens and fruits. Generally speaking, fresh fruit in America is much sweeter than anywhere else. Florida oranges are just the beginning. Anything green I might buy (cabbage, lettuce, etc.) is generally more bitter here, which is good. It’s heartier and more difficult to digest than what you can get in America, and if something is more difficult to digest, you burn more calories while eating. Plus it cleans your intestinal tract.

 

Café vs. Bakery?

Lately, I’ve noticed a prevalence of more shops offering chocolates and special sweets. I like it. But my favorite places to go are the cafés in town. In Germany, a café is most often a bakery outlet. Not so in America. In America, a café is a place to maybe get a little snack but the primary products are the drinks. My favorite cafés then are in fact bakeries but I tend to think of them as cafés because of the way I use them. I go and very often spend a good deal of time there drinking coffee. I chat with people, sip wonderful coffee, and write.

 

My Invitation to You

If you are like me, you may well frequent one of the cafés (a.k.a. bakery outlets) I love in Homburg. You may have even seen me writing this little poem. Notice the extreme lack of reference to an Amerikaner cookie. Way too sweet. (Maybe too sweet for a poem. What do you think?) But I would like to invite YOU to write and post as a comment here YOUR OWN POEM about cafés and/or coffee. Tea is acceptable. I welcome the company.

(Just because my poem is in English,

that doesn’t mean yours has to be…

unless you are one of my students! Ha-HA!)

A dragon!Cowgirl in a Café

Sitting in cafes

writing

my favorite to-do. I am freed

from busyness

of my home, and far

from that chain-smoking, alcoholic, *!$%*?! neighbor.

I sip ahhh.

Relief with

the brrr and whrrr and pshshht of the

espresso machine, the

chatter of customers,

bickering of baristas and

ching-a-ling bell on the door as

people come

and go, the swish

of the door across the floor,

Welcoming

the noises from outside,

Enter the mix.

Enter the mix!

I can keep

Cup of Coffee                                                                all of this

at my elbow as I write

scribblings, clearing my head

I fill

white pages

with dark ink. Satisfying

stains on the page.

This with coffee,

                               Good. Strong.

Piping hot coffee well suited

a cowgirl, naked riding

a dragon, winged

waving her red cowgirl hat over

her head

she yells, “Wahoo!”

That’s how writing

feels

when

it just comes through, down

the arm and into

the pen, to wind up

cumulating into

something one can read.

A sentence

and then another, flowing

to another growing

pattern of thought

that feels like something

outside of me. And it is, the

all-the-things-that-ever-happened-to-me, everything

I ever did, coming together

at once and then

flowing, wiggling, swimming up onto

the page like a bitable, digestible

feeling.

I am all I ever was,

bit by bit my arm

or something around

it

brings that here

to the whiteness,

to make the pristine

go away,

to make it stained

imperfect and

at last

readable.

Words am I.

A cowgirl, gone fishing atop her dragon in a cozy café for strong coffee.

-Chazda, April 2013

 

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