let us never be rescued from this mess

This poem by Aimee Nezhukumatathil reminds me of all the time spent in the kitchen, across my life and especially this past year when it became even more centered as a daily space for energy and deliciousness and escape from everything else.

Illustration below by one of my dearest friends since we were in middle school, Kristina Closs, a talented artist who has graciously agreed to illustrate some of my posts this month! You can see more of her beautiful work at @kristinapaints on Instagram or at WoodPigeon, her Etsy store.

“Baked Goods”

Flour on the floor makes my sandals 
slip and I tumble into your arms. 

Too hot to bake this morning but
blueberries begged me to fold them

into moist muffins. Sticks of rhubarb 
plotted a whole pie. The windows

are blown open and a thickfruit tang
sneaks through the wire screen

and into the home of the scowly lady
who lives next door. Yesterday, a man 

in the city was rescued from his apartment
which was filled with a thousand rats. 

Something about being angry because
his pet python refused to eat. He let the bloom 

of fur rise, rise over the little gnarly blue rug, 
over the coffee table, the kitchen countertops

and pip through each cabinet, snip
at the stumpy bags of sugar,

the cylinders of salt. Our kitchen is a riot
of pots, wooden spoons, melted butter. 

So be it. Maybe all this baking will quiet
the angry voices next door, if only

for a brief whiff. I want our summers

to always be like this—a kitchen wrecked
with love, a table overflowing with baked goods
warming the already warm air. After all the pots

are stacked, the goodies cooled, and all the counters
wiped clean—let us never be rescued from this mess. 

_

From Lucky Fish

Will we walk all night through solitary streets?

I realize more with every passing day what a distinct privilege and joy it was to be able to walk through the market, shopping for peaches, shopping for images, striding down the open corridors together. This infamous poem by Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) is of course about so much more than a supermarket, but it keeps rolling through my mind as we navigate the unease of meandering through markets in this moment.

peaches.jpg

“A Supermarket in California”

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Spring makes new the taste of lettuce

farmers market salad

I suppose we’re now enjoying the last salads of March, but I think this poem is still a lovely way to usher in the new season. Happy Spring, dear readers.

“The First Salad of March”

by Marge Piercy

Thinnings of the rows,
Chinese cabbage, lettuce, sorrel,
cress; nipped ends of herbs
returning, mint and thyme;
violet leaves poking up in clusters like armies
of teddy bears emerging
ears first from the earth;
the Egyptian onions that multiply
underground; the spears
of garlic shoots. The mixture
huddles, skimpy in the bowl.

The salad explodes in the mouth,
green romancandles.
It is succulent, dainty,
intense. It is crisp
as new money.
It lights up my blood
and urges fur from
the backs of my hands.
I want to roll in leaves
that are still lumps
on twigs. First salad
strong and fierce and plaintive:
love at age five. Spring
makes new the taste of lettuce
fresh as a tear.

from The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing