Tag Archives: memory

because poetry will criticize

because poetry will criticize
the legacy of my hands,
the erratic way it repressed,
undocumented a people
brown and proud— shame
crowns my head. my failure
to commit, neglected children
without milk and cookies,
left outside without blanket
or shelter… i pray for you
who dismembered the character
i embodied from head to toe;
you left entrails of my passion
scattered on the freeway, bumper
to bumper traffic, where i inched
forward endlessly to gather divine
inspiration as the heavens yield
it for its black birds circling
above me, waiting for my soul
to abandon completely the
tenderest of meats with a heart
still throbbing underneath
and make true the prophecy —
i shall feed before the enemy’s feet

poem©mrg 2/16/17

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.

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

the light bestowed

the light bestowed,
the enormous responsibility—
God in His iridescence
communes with us,
closer than we perceive.
He is in every petal
of each edible flower;
He exists in the pleasing
disagreement between
sweet and salt upon
tongues… the granules
of sugar underneath fingertips,
occasionally, sweep across
stainless steel tables
in a race with the clock
against temperamental chocolate—
what cocoa i manipulate
from your agitated crystals,
only God knows…
only God knows…

poem©mrg 10/19/16

Note: My ode to pastry where kitchen life really began; where no one told me chocolate wasn’t the only one temperamental, but the French chef who tempered it. A rude awakening no doubt, but all good. Plenty of lesson there. Been revisiting some old poems. Wrote this one about a year ago. Didn’t realize until now why I had written it because entering it now feels a lot like letting go. So be it… only God knows a whole lot of these “goings-on.”

there is a light in you

there is a light in you
i never quite revived.
i switched you on and
i switched you off
never quite as bright
never quite the same as
moonlight. how i regret
never following through
with your eyes, why you
withdrew from my vision,
stare at nothingness when
i am in front of you
mesmerized— i wish to
take you in whole, swallow
you entirely like two
tiny pills to make me
forget, make oblivious
about what remains
unsaid between us

poem©mrg 9/9/16