Laurita Dianita

Reflections and art on the topics of public health, social justice, and love

Archive for the ‘poetry’ tag

A recipe poem: Salsa Verde Para Mi Amor

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Salsa Verde Para Mi Amor

1.)  Boil the jalapeños:

Yeah, seeds and all.
I mean, I know you’re Colombiano
y no se come picante allí,
but you know that story your mama tells?
The one where your abuela
made the sopa without cilantro
“for Nachito”
and your mama put the cilantro back in
(she flicks her hand as she re-enacts it)
because she knew she’d be eating with him
for the rest of their lives?
Well,
since I’m your future wifey
and you’re the chaparro de mi vida
and I’m your aguacate tree
growing in Alaska
to whose roots—and fruit—
you will come flying back
and we will sit across kitchen tables
from one another
for the rest of our days,
pues, te tendrás que acostumbrar.

2.)  Slice the onion:
And try placing it in the blender
but poniéndome aguila
because before I know it
you’ll kiss me with that onion
on your breath,
whole slices tucked away
into your teeth.
I’ll say “¡Guácala!”
and never understand it,
how you find the sweet
in its so acrid flesh.
But I quietly admire you for it,
this iron mouth of yours,
the way you see through
even the worst.

3.)  Skin and mash the garlic:
And this too I must guard
from your habit of drinking it
with cayenne and
waiting to do so, of course,
until I’m soon to come over.
The smell of it:
“Ay, Oscar, ¿Porqué
lo tenías que comer ahora
before kissing me?”
And I search out the line
between asking you
to be considerate
and control.
Then toss the garlic in the blender
with everything else.

4.)  Enjoy:
Disfrútala, with fish, with sopa,
with cuidado, mi Colombiano.
I learned in the cloud forest,
the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca,
from a small woman who
cooked her beans in a clay pot,
to make salsa verde sin tomate.
Y así, mi amor,
when you eat it,
the sweat beads up,
glints of light over the
redenning skin,
across your brow,
across your nose—
your nose, mi amor,
that perfect bridge of shadow
and light
that bridge of indígena and
Castellano.
None of our ancestors
ate like this,
the people of wheat,
the people of potatoes.
But we are adaptors
and you sweat your way through it
like we work our way through
each other
building bridges across
continents and
spirits and
bodies,
from which we’ll create children
to pass the recipe on,
learning, over time,
to endure.

______________________

I was inspired to write this because a creative little girl who I taught in math was surprised when I told her that her poetry teacher, Ashley Skabar, was also a professional food writer. She asked, “Does Miss Ashley write her recipes as poems?” I replied, “I don’t think so, but that’s a great idea,” and I went home and began working on this recipe-poem. I am bringing the original to Oscar, drawings and cursive and all, for part of an anniversary gift. We will celebrate our anniversary together in Jalisco, México, eating comida picosa, camping, biking, swimming in rivers, reading the stars.

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May 18th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

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“Show me show me show me how you do that trick!”

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Loving you long distance

Can you be crying? My friend, my

–everything!…

How large and salty now is the

taste of that in my fist.

-Marina Tsvetaeva, 1924

My love, Oscar, left last Thursday on the ferry with his sister Erika and their friend Will to bike from Bellingham, Washington to Bogotá, Colombia. Or, as we are all trying to convince them, to take a train to California and bike from there.

Oscar and I held one another as thick wet snowflakes came down in straight lines from the sky all around us, the white illuminated by headlights, standing out before the heavy green of the spruce in that rainy town of Whittier, Alaska. Oscar said to me, “Look at the snow. I will always remember this hug by the snow falling.”

We pressed our faces together and he began to whisper sing to me the song by The Cure to which we began to fall in love at my sister’s birthday party: “Show me show me show me how you do that trick…” I answered back, tears warbling the notes: “…the one that makes me scream, she said. The one that makes me laugh, she said…”

And then tasted his tears on my lips.

Tasted my tears on his cheek.

Both on my fingers as I touched his face.

And I thought of Tsvetaeva: “How large and salty now is the taste of that in my fist.”

But sometimes we want to quote poets at the wrong moments. Tsvetaeva had “reached the end of ending” when she wrote that, and this goodbye is not an end. It’s the beginning of a journey that Oscar has been planning for years and needs to take, the beginning of our relationship and our communication being given new challenges. It is the beginning of certain kinds of growth, alone growth and growth as we explore and expand in the world, as I grow into new jobs and new friendships, as I learn to self-soothe and Oscar becomes more intentional about the ways he wants to live his life. It is the beginning of many love letters and a commitment about which neither of us hesitates.

So, while this long absence does, at times, feel tragic and I hear Tsvetaeva again in my head–

though the time of the train is set

and the sorrowful honor of leaving

is a cup given to women.

–I pretty much stay away from feeling sorry for myself.

Love has survived much harder things than this.

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January 19th, 2010 at 9:26 am

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a poem from late October (I just now got the photo developed)

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For mi fotógrafo, away in California

For mi Fotógrafo, Away in California

It’s wet outside and
my lips are dry as bone.
The light streams in
through the blinds and
sets the wooden slats
of the laundry door aglow and
I’m seeing light
I never saw before
because you’ve shared your eyes
with me          I
love how
you would see the drops
on the branches outside and
the cracks in my lips
the water glass we would
share if you were
here.

This way of seeing
is its own poetry now
and even
across the continent
I know
you move
like a child
to your camera.

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November 18th, 2009 at 11:36 am

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