Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's all about the food

Continuing the wrap-up from my NaPoMo poem-a-day effort, I found myself several times finding a way to turn the prompt into an fine reason to write about food. That was fun!

Here are those rough efforts:

After the Whole Day

Let me feed you
cheeses on a plate.
Let me roll for you
raviolis of gorgonzola,
swirled in a cream sauce
with walnuts, tarragon.
See how the water simmers.
See how the windows steam.
Let me serve you a salad—
frisee and pear,
delicate curls of pecorino,
a whisper of truffle oil.
I have in my kitchen
scallops to sear,
chicken to roast,
and a medley of roots
tossed with oregano, balsamic,
and then a little lemon tart.
When you come home
with the sound of the saw in your ears
and mahogany dust in your hair,
let me pour you a glass of Champagne,
let me take your hands
and lead you to the table you made.
Let me feed you, fill you.


The Job I Could Not Keep

March darkness patches window panes black
and the kitchen settles, sinks a little deeper
into early morning chill. Any step seems too loud,
an intrusion at this hour, but I measure flour,
warm the water, soften the yeast. I pare
fruit for a pie, cut butter for scones
to sell at the pizzeria down the street.
I stir and and I knead—quietly.
I lie down on the linoleum floor, stretch
to the back of the oven with a match,
but the brioche don't plump up into pillows.
The pastries are reprieved, mostly uneaten
in the clean glass case, and my dream of being a baker,
my solo roll into business,
rises only a couple of weeks
before I succumb to the market's reality,
my own lack of math, the stress
of silence, and a flat exhaustion.
Now the nurse who works swing shift
and lives in the basement
can finally get some sleep.


I Am So Over Dinner

On Sunday night, it might
be an extravagance, an event
prepared with attention
and the seven flavors of love,
but Monday I'm back to slinging hash,
fixing chicken or pork chops,
harried after a day of work
and a long bus ride,
the stop at the store,
heavy bags to carry home,
the television's yelling,
persnickity palates to please,
no meat for one, avoid avocados,
olives, and eggs for another,
a third prefers no broccoli.
The knife slides through an onion.
The oil heats. A sizzling begins.
The cops make an arrest
or the doctor makes
a diagnosis. I made
a mistake, but the show must go on
until I can set a plate
in front of each critical eye,
sit myself down
with a glass of wine,
eat quickly because I do,
while the pans wait to be washed.
This could be a ritual,
but it lost its mysticism
back in the last century.
Instead let's eat salads.
Let's just eat cake
or take-out. I've got
a drawer full of menus.


Time to Hit the Ground Growing

Try the cherry 100s.
That's the whole reason to grow your own tomatoes.
The Romas don't taste as good—but those cherry 100s.
That's what you want.
Saute them in a little butter
with some almonds and fresh basil.
You can't get better than that.
You can put the lettuce and chard in now.
For basil, you need to wait
until it's hot. Grow it in a pot
now on the window sill,
but don't sink it in the ground
until high summer—July.
The cilantro will bolt but sow itself
and then it will grow on its own time
like gangbusters.
You can grow potatoes now,
but wait for the carrots and beets.
Plant them in the fall.
I need to start some parsley.
We use up a lot of thyme.


Jane said...

Savory poetry for sure! Thanks, Joannie. Brings to mind a poem from a collection of children's poems.
How To Eat a Poem
by Eve Merriam

Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.

Joannie said...

That's wonderful!