poetryandbreakfast

An offering of poems and breakfast recipes

collision

wet my mouth +
squint against the sun.

peel to sweet green lashes
a soft blow to the temple.

throat   sponging, my tongue is a pink nib of doubt
stiff pallet.

dip my mouth to ink this
verse of spit.

our hips are not clean lines:  we clash
collide into one/another.

she opens out her eyes + legs to me
she coaxes my thighs.

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entrails/flying

photo (1)
The membrane of a blood orange, when held up to the sun, begins to resemble something that lived underwater[1]. A sister of the urchin or sea anemone, it becomes translucent, and any remaining pulp glistens magenta, fuschia, pale yellow.

Its skin unfurls on the kitchen floor looking like the entrails of the sea creature that has loped off down the hall. His daughter leaves it there all morning, watching the light shift across the room as the fruit itself ferments, digests, and assimilates inside her body. She is curious about this external evidence of what she has eaten in sections, incorporated internally as nourishment. This discarded protective layer for that soft, seedy fruit.

She is crouched in the corner with her spine against the wall, eyes shut, furrowing. She wants to know the relationship between the way her muscles contract around undigested matter and the holding, tensing of a grief that lodges & refuses to move.

*

The pool where her father drowned was a shallow container, just deep enough for her small body to dive. It is shadowed with tiny purple flowers and beneath the surface, his body lingers.

For the funeral, his body was lifted on a plane and landed 3, 660 kilometers west, on the coast of India. His daughter was taken on a plane that landed 12, 823 kilometers east, on the coast of Canada.

In the space between, the purple flowers floated, blossomed in the humidity. The pool was drained soon after, but they would not tell her this. She would remain with the memory of those innocent curling petals, the instants before his death.

When she sits on the balcony above his childhood home and the light pours in, this is where she chooses to stay. Here, with the tremor of the petals on the surface of the water.

 

 

[1] Eden Robinson, “Terminal Avenue” (1993)

coffee on the stove

she asked if she could make the coffee and i refused. without relinquishing, i offered a simple apprenticeship in the ritual, using an italian percolator. she was patient with me:

  • grind the beans until they are like dry sand: fine and soft without powdering. if you have a weak little machine like mine it helps to pulse once for a few seconds then shake it around and go again so that the beans are ground evenly
  • fill the lower half of the coffee percolator with cold water until just below the valve
  • use a small spoon to scoop out a miniature mountain into the piece that holds the coffee grounds
  • once full, lightly pat the grinds with your thumb, making an even plane: too much compression and the water will struggle to percolate through
  • dust off any remaining specks around the rim
  • fasten the top of the percolator on tightly and place it on the element: my stove is quite hot so i bring it to 4.5 (medium-low): any higher and it boils too quickly and the flavour is weakened, any lower and it doesn’t boil at all
  • listen for the bubbling and remove from heat once it spits up the last of the crema

 

////

the sky slides across the field to lay down white and bare
I am staring through cedar boughs for an answer
for a sound that swallows

rain comes and I slip
beneath the mud,       floundering

I want to dissolve like salt
in your bowl of water and be emptied to a receding
tide.

cardamom cake with orange blossom

The recipe is here:
http://www.breadandbarrow.com/blog/2014/10/16/cardamom-bundt-cake-with-orange-blossom-glaze

We followed it precisely. We spread a wool blanket on the grass as the sky grew dark and ate with our hands.

what  lets  go:

this morning flesh softens to let tenderness in,
soft like apricots bruising in my pocket, warm blush.

there is nothing
simple about this state of mind,
a tending toward some certain
refinement of attention that expresses just how much effort,
just how much strength and struggle is actually needed
to unearth and excavate all of the dense and bitter matter
that has settled here:

somewhere between the rib cage and this small, ballooning diaphragm
where breath and laughter live

the whirring of the fan overhead brings me back to all that’s left of me
thunder in the chest, and a recollection of Georgia’s words about life,
seeing it bleak, knowing it is so and walking into it fearlessly
because one has no choice, and enjoying one’s consciousness.

I move slowly. I move slowly. I am so close to tears,
I rest at the edges.

sweet potatoes at 8am

peel, chop & steam one sweet potato. grind a mix of sesame, pumpkin and hemp seeds and mix with nutritional yeast. heat a some raw sesame oil in a pan and add chopped kale and a little sea salt, maybe sing a song. once the kale gets bright green, add the sweet potato and seed mix. cover the pan for a few minutes, add a sprinkle of water for encouragement. 

eat with a piece of toast or cooked millet.

the wind bites. rest the weight
of your head between my shoulderblades
raw snow slashes at the cheekbones
how is it that it falls so soft
impossible, impossible

gesture forward
eyelashes freeze into starlashes
your knuckles split
at the seams

behind a glass window all i can see
are your hands, receiving
receding
the sky bleak like chalk

three years in, and coping
moments of warmth to withstand the winter
your daughter’s blue socks
from her perch on your shoulders

heated rooms and underground tunnels
obscure the truth of sub-zero temperatures
yet in these transitions from door
to sealed door
glimpse some signal of our mortality

the sharp awareness that this is a cold
to suck the life from you
and to make you come alive

the remains of a brown, speckled pear in one hand

pull it apart
like meat
to the cool, white wet flesh of it

sinewy fibres enclosing four hard, black seeds
and two that never matured
clean them with tongue and teeth, lay them on the table with the stem
the rump end that was home to a flower
pear blossom long withered and fallen
for the fruit to be bought,
kept in a cupboard then washed, bitten, swallowed
to ferment, digest replenish

//

this is why i woke up this morning
to plant a pear seed in the folds of my pillow and see what sprouts
what takes root beneath the floorboards and muscles up the walls,
branches that bend into corners and up across the ceiling to blossom in spring
sweet, white petals all on the bedroom floor and the surfaces of the desk

but it is december
we wrap our bodies around our own bodies
it is impossible to nest there.

Miso sesame oatmeal

Put the oats to soak just after waking up. Whenever you’re ready, bring them to a boil, then to very low heat until soft. Meanwhile, roughly grind some sesame seeds. Take a very small amount of miso and a spoonful of hot oatmeal and stir/smash together in a bowl. Then fill your bowl with oatmeal & stir in ground sesame. 

 
Above and below the city things fall apart
and we are also bound
to one another    I see you’re drawing pictures
of the Šalinac Grove in Serbia: Шалиначки луг
we are gliding over oceans    across invisible lines to reach each other

see how the colours turn outside my window   suffused
with light
I am steeping your hand-picked medicine in a cold glass jar
wrapping the threads you wove around my wrist
and have eaten the fruit:
wet strawberries, mint
and green grapes
you sliced into halves

Friday morning figs

& handfuls of blueberries

In resisting swallowing rage when it rises
I’ve cried twice before noon today
caught visions of swift kicks to the soft places beneath the
arrogance and entitlement of white men:

cutting through red lights on sleek vélos in the morning
packs of them swarm across the sidewalks
like every traffic light
was made to let them pass

pull her by the hand across the street, you
touch me on the shoulder when you speak to me, you
glide past the arrest of one man of colour by three white cops, say,
“un vendeur de drogue, j’imagine”
white lady with a loose perm on a park bench
nods her affirmation.

I do nothing:
feel my pulse reach my throat and my jaw stiffen
my diaphragm shrinks and I flee to the nearest public bathroom stall
the only dark, silent place in the heat of August in Montréal

I splash the tears from my face
at the cool, white sink.

Sesame bread & za’atar

Toast bread full of sesame, serve with a spoonful of za’atar made by Hoda’s grandmother in Lebanon. She passed away in the last weeks, and I never knew her. Olive oil, tahini, & a spring each of mint and parsley from the balcony. Black tea.

written June 25th:

Yesterday marked my twenty-fifth birthday
In the morning, listening to Horses loudly
singing & thrashing around my bedroom
I ate a mango in my underwear
on the balcony in the rain
made plenty of coffee and nibbled ruined pink birthday icing.

On the other end of the country,
Claudia went under general anaesthetic in preparation for brain surgery

At 2:58pm we popped a bottle of champagne and toasted to life.
My life. This life,

and the downpour outside brought friends trickling in and dripping wet all afternoon, and we crowded around my living room sharing songs an enormous salad and cool mint tea.   Daylight dimmed, friends drifted home and those of us who remained washed up, slipped our shoes on and went dancing in the rain, spinning through the streets, and I’m thinking of Hoda, and her grandmother in Lebanon, and how a year before she and I walked barefoot in the rain after my birthday, came home to share tiny raspberry cakes cold from the fridge.

She brought me a musical box that sits on my desk
and must be cranked with your fingertips to emit the tiniest tinkling sounds.

Hoda, do you hear it?

Eggs, bread & olives

All on a plate, all in the sun.

Insistent at dawn
with the light between the cracks in the blinds, your bed is too soft & high
eyes full of wonder, draw me to the sun
the crows are calling,
the coffee is boiling on the stove
boughs of cedar drag across the ceiling, and we are awakened
to the heartbeat of the field,
the hard, round buds of dandelions close to the ground

The ocean is good for healing and I will learn her integrity, her force
know that fools would think that the quiet licks at the sand reflect her torque
and velocity
churning and bellowing depths,
ancestor ocean
we are children admiring your gentle surface,
slow and patient grace
See sweet ripples, sea gull playground
wet muck low tide barnacle

Great mystery, deep thrum, infinite depth

Great teacher, I soften and bow to your knowing.
Great Ocean! Great Sky! Great Wind!
whipping through the branches all night
and into the morning

rouse me from beneath the covers,
shake me from drowsy comfort
take me shivering and impatient.