cherry bourbon brownies and unabashed gratitude

This is how you enter July after a hellish June. You say Yes to whatever opportunity comes your way. You talk poetry with a stranger, with a friend, with new friends. On your way home, you think: brownies. But you don’t stop at thought. You run off the Q25 the second you see a grocery store and you BUY the stuff that’ll turn thought into chewy goodness and then you BAKE IT.

In between that will be the sort of rain an umbrella can’t do anything about, and you won’t care. Storm your way into July 2nd, into tomorrow, into next hour. Except, your husky cherry tomatoes and various herbs need protection, so you run out to move the containers, then run back in, feeling all heroic and shit.

Look at the way the storm leaves a sign that it has passed. They all do. They pass. It’s best you remember that the next time it pours.


While brainstorming writing prompts for a Newtown Literary event at the Latimer House with Steph, I asked the caretaker, Joel, about split-ear, the beloved squirrel that I met last time I visited this historical home. She’s been missing and it’s a shame. She was as sweet as the watering can he holds to uplift the green that lives here. Look at this limb of a willow still working hard at life. I’m keeping this tree in mind, hoping mind alone will rid of the rot and carpenter ants that are getting to it.


After talking squirrels and poetry, I said fuck it, Yes, when asked to be a featured poet at a Jamaica, Queens event Steph is working on. More info soon! Say yes when it feels right, and only then. While I aim to go on my nerve, I also know that pace is the trick.

I’m glad the storm came through on this day. It was windy and slightly cool, the very thing I needed to assure myself that it’s perfectly okay to turn on this damn oven.

Let’s talk ’bout these brownies. Let me note that the cherry bourbon was a wonderful accident. I ran out of vanilla extract and was like, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT VANILLA EXTRACT? Cherry bourbon is what imma do, and did, and will continue to do now that I know how beautiful it tastes.


Cherry Bourbon Brownies

8 tbsp (1 stick) salted butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 tbsp cherry bourbon
1 cup sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 all purpose flour
Pinch of kosher salt (I kinda wanna play with smoked salt next time)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter and flour your pan.

Melt butter along with the unsweetened chocolate til combined, remove from heat. Add the sugar and stir well.

Here comes the cherry bourbon. I know I said to use a tbsp, but I honestly eye-balled it. You can start off with a tspn and keep tasting it and add according to tongue. Stir in eggs til smooth, then add the chocolate chips, flour and salt. Mix well but try not to over-mix.

Bake for about 40 minutes. I like mine underdone. It stays wonderfully chewy, which is the most important part. (Besides the bourbon.)

I am filled with an insane amount of gratitude, and that feeling alone made me think of this poem by Ross Gay: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. You’ll be seeing this poem again, especially when I start talking Honey. BTW: on this very day, while feeling all the things, a fellow poet sent me a recording of him reading this poem. And then I read it back to him. Here it is: Crystal reading Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

Thank you thank you THANK you, every day. 


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