You just go on your nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, “Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.”
That’s for the writing poems part.
-Frank O’Hara, Personism: A Manifesto
It’s for the cooking part, too.
For years Frank’s quote sang to the poet in me. It’s one of those reminders I need
when I can’t seem to get myself to write. But for awhile, I thought the sweet singing stopped. I’m not writing, with or without this reminder, and I’ve been moping around earth feeling as if I lost me somewhere along the way.
I have to ask, why am I defining myself by the making or NOT making of a poem? What makes me feel Light the way writing does? Danny had asked me this, and I knew right away that all the light was in my kitchen. It was in the simple act of eating with you. The You being friend, family or love. The you being my love. The you whose interest and love for food rocks me. Very much like the you in Frank O’Hara’s Having a Coke with You (my favorite poem.) This blog was going to be called Eating with You. Until it hit me.
In the middle of making butter chicken, I realized…I am NOT lost. I am right HERE, intuitively putting things in my pot without ever having made this dish before, feeling the very confidence I thought was lost. I was buzzing. Recipe? What recipe. IGOTTHIS. (I glanced at one recipe he showed me). When we sat down and wiped our dishes clean with the last of our homemade naan, and he looked at me and said this was the best butter chicken he has ever eaten (he would’ve told me straight up if it was off) I felt how I always feel when jotting down lines for a poem. Filled with so much light. I cook exactly how I write, (and who is to say a recipe isn’t a poem? Or what I’m eating isn’t one? or what I’m doing isn’t leading UP to one?) This is the stuff of poetry. The living part. The growing part. The greens and the spices. Your gut.
So, GO on your nerve. That’s how I choose to live. What I share with you on this blog, I hope, will breathe just like that. With all it’s in-between messes and edits and finishing touches.