Chinese Coffee Mugs


Nothing less complicated than a coffee mug

Yet how complex it truly is


I know nothing of its beginnings


How it was made

How it can be so smooth

Or how it got so white


And those beautiful designs placed on that same smooth white surface

What are all those colors made of

What gives them their majestic brilliance


What’s the substance of any of it and where did it come from anyway


It was simply placed in my hands

I never really have much choice


Only know that I’ve used it and many others like it

Never anything more…and never anything less


Nothing less complicated than a coffee mug

If I can’t understand that…well how can I possibly know the world


Someone whispers in my ear –


It was Made in China


Oh well that’s a start I say

What do we know about China and her people I ask


Someone whispers They drink a lot of tea


Oh I say I think somehow I knew that


Yes but they’re steadily switching over to coffee


Really I gasp and how do we know that


Because they’re making a lot of these mugs


Hmm I say tasting my coffee

Nothing’s as simple as all that I suppose


In the end the Chinese may turn out to be the coffee baron’s biggest customer


Amazing I say truly astounding

I continue to sip my coffee in my Chinese mug


Someone whispers I believe the stool you’re sitting on is Made in China too

All of a sudden I’m nervous and it’s not just the caffeine


Nothing more complicated than the Chinese I say

Feeling as though the only one astonished in the room is myself


Why do I know nothing of their beginnings

Or how they got so white

Or what gives them their majestic brilliance


Or how we became so Oriental in the first place


The stamp is on the bottom the voice whispers again


Hmm I say turning the smooth white mug upside down

The coffee spills all over the table but the stamp is indeed clearly visible


The voice chuckles as someone tosses me a rag

I make a grab for it but a yellow finger is pointing at a little snippet of white sewn to one corner


I choose not to read it


When we turn everything upside down there we’ll find the Chinese


I stare at the coffee mug and those colors still so vibrant


The voice whispers one last time


The coffee is also Chinese


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