Monthly Archives: February 2017

Bacon Doesn’t Need Anything

Everyone is familiar with that particular scene, co-workers gathered around the coffee machine at work and just chatting it up, talking about the boss, catching up on the latest gossip or sharing advice on life. I like to think that it’s the same in the kitchen, but it’s different. Often times, my colleagues and I find ourselves hovered around a 200 perforated pan full of bacon, where each thinly sliced pork belly smoked with apple-wood is stacked one on top of another. The layer resembles a fanned-out blanket and if this pan was a bed, I want to sleep on here. And if I had a lover, I want to sleep here with my lover… underneath this layer of bacon goodness with drippings and all.

I need BACON!!! Photo©mrg 2017

Our phones have made us ambitious photographers all. We take pictures of just about anything. Selfies, our dogs, french toast with sausages on the side, flowers and sunsets. Everywhere is opportunity. Mine just happens to be the bacon. Bacon from one kitchen into another, whether stripped, chopped or raw. Looking at bacon even swimming in its own liquid goodness seems gratifying, more so after it’s drained. And it sits there, atop a rack, dripping as the sliver of pork belly gets a little more crisp from the residual heat. The perfect piece of bacon for me is when the cook has achieved that crispiness of both meat and fat that it just crumbles in my mouth. With all the limp bacon I’ve witnessed over the years, from bacon being cooked haphazardly to feed hundreds of people, acheiving that crispiness seem fortuitous at times. And so as a cook, I stand back on the sidelines and wait, until the batch of crispy bacon is brought out. Often times, these are the ones left behind because no one else is more discerning than me when it comes to bacon.

I know I shouldn’t fawn over bacon this much, but I do. I wouldn’t call it a super food, but it’s one of those perfect foods. By that, I mean it can stand alone. Its cured, smoked goodness make it a meal on its own. There’s the balance of meat and fat, sweet and salty… tastes which touch upon all sides of the tongue and cajole us in a way that we are drawn to pick up one more and another and then another until the guilt of cholesterol and having too much sets in. Bacon is irresistible; it has a charm of its own. For the most part, it doesn’t need anything, but everything seems to want to pair up with it. If bacon was a character, I think I’d liken it to Kerouac… that lone beat poet who embodied coolness travelling from New York to San Francisco and back just absorbing life, writing it down, not needing a whole lot but to be able to just write. And bacon or pork belly, more or less, is this figure in the culinary world, absorbing all sorts of flavors from brown sugar to maple to every kind of spice, in the end, to be thinly sliced and fried up to a crisp so it can give us either one great sandwich or one great breakfast. Because bacon doesn’t need anything. But our eggs do. Eggs need bacon as much as we do.

you are the sun

you are the sun
while darkness floods
my bitter heart,
risible thinking
the opposite was
true of us…
the inherent nature
of our light is
still unclear to
me… the nature
of my flesh is
still uncontrollable
to me. the rage and
its persistent
complaints, and
how it infuriates,
thinking me less
and less, a waning
moon beside you,
incapable of rays

poem©mrg 2/22/17

The Wall

The laughter surges from talk of the wall. It will be erected between two countries. A great wall. Perhaps, a great one like China’s. But walls like this only invite invaders. Even when the purpose is to deter, others will only see it as an invitation to a challenge. Same way hackers have learned to grow more highly evolved tactics through the years. The better the encryption, the more they seek to infiltrate. The men laugh because tunnels can be built. The stealth in which tunnels were built was probably only privy to the Germans during World War II. It had been unprecedented until recently where a network of elaborate tunnels helped one of the world’s most dangerous individuals escape prison. And if tunnels can do this, then what purpose is a wall? A canvass for graffiti?

“No wallz gonna stop the people’s from comings over! We more smarter than that! If they built a wall, we gonna fly over!” Her tall, moustached co-worker from Guadalajara says this. There’s a thud-thud-thud sound resonating form his cutting board as he chops bunches of parsley with a knife on each hand. His notorious opinions on politics seem to always have an underlying comic tone in them.

Everyone laughs and it reverberates in her. But Norma finds it strange. She can’t. The laughter ceases in her, as though there was a duct for joy which suddenly became clogged. The absurdity of walls and tunnels is definitely laugh-worthy. But it’s difficult. It won’t seem to drain from her.

She grabs more bread to slice and lines them up along the trays. Five by six to make 30 sandwiches on each tray. As she reached for the last dozen bread on the far corner of the stainless steel table, she accidentally knocks her serrated knife on the floor. She stared at it for a few seconds before she felt a tear emerge from her left eye. It surprised her how sensitive she felt. This kind of sadness usually afflicted her around the time of the month when Aunt Delia came. Not really an aunt, but code for her menstruation. But she finished a week ago and usually this sort of feeling abandons around the same time. But strangely, more than sadness, a melancholy stays. For the life of her she cannot seem to pinpoint the origins of where or when it arose.

She ignored it when she first took note of it. The more she ignored it, the more it seemed to persist. She was 27 after all, a master of her own emotions. However, everywhere she looked, whether the cabinets at home or the walk-in refrigerator at work, this crestfallen weight seem to chase and grab at her. It doesn’t want to be left alone. Yet, this is all she wants lately. She wants to be left alone. And this misery somehow wants her company.

One of her colleagues notice the fallen knife on the floor. Norma is still staring at it. She isn’t moving. Her colleague bends down and picks it up for her. “Are you alright?” he asks.

Norma nods her head yes and takes the knife from him. “Thank you,” she tells him. Her voice is heard through the pronounced silence as everyone glanced at her, the forlorn look on her face well-noted by everyone.

She casually brandishes the knife in the air and announces to everyone, “I’m going to dig a tunnel!”

There is a blank stare from everyone before each one started to laugh. They always appreciate it when Norma participated in their conversation and how she sometimes interjected with her brand of comedy.

Norma elicits a smile. She’s in on the joke. But she means what she just said. She’s going to have to dig a tunnel soon because the melancholy was building a wall around her. She is worried. She doesn’t know whether she’ll be able to break it down on her own.

my deplorable ego

my deplorable ego
here screams with
vengeance. tongue-
tied outbursts and
cursed lashings
make for a supernova
come alive with
a thousand bolts
striking down
innocence as
though words are
a machete which
will cut through
your tongue and
pierce the very
heart of you to
redeem my pride
instead of
forsaking it….
i’ve forsaken you,
dipped my hand
in the same water
as you, and i know
i cannot escape
the turmoil swole
inside of me, this
inherent nature of
madness shaming me
through and through
as it plunges me
into a chasm
i’ve never known
before… this
culture of rage and
fury well inside
of me, multiplying
like cells dividing
in mitosis, only
i’m the only one
not replicating—
i’m the only one
not yet grown

poem©mrg 2/21/17

When Someone Leaves…

The details of our lives need observation. These are the sentences, after all, which can rightfully say what’s going on in our lives. To hope is one thing, but to hope when we see the rightful answers before us is another thing. And the answer probably lies in acceptance of a situation, why certain people are uprooted from our lives and why others stay. It’s a gift either way. The idea that someone stayed means that there are lessons still to impart while someone leaving may mean that they have done exactly what it is they are meant to do in our lives. The latter is bittersweet, but the more I agonize over the why, the more I’m left to flounder in the neutrality of the non-answer. It is what it is. They left, uprooted. They are not meant to stay. And if this is God’s answer, then I’ve stubbornly questioned it to its demise. The silence is humbling, He is patient with me. And if I am to respond to this silence that slightly stings when I wonder about that person, I must respond with compassion. Extend the greatest patience upon myself… do not recoil, do not withdraw from the world. Simply accept the currents and motions of the rivers and follow it. There’s no use going against it.

the torment you leave
behind rattles my skin.
nervousness, anxiety
creeps into every crevice
denying me tranquility
which i have sought long
before you arrived and
monopolized my mind;
but you leave me without
trace to find even the
subtlest sound your voice
have teased me out away
from my hiding. and now
that i have shown my face,
revealed all my cards…
you throw down so easily
as though i’m a bet
not worth gambling for

poem©mrg 2/20.17