All posts filed under: Poetry

Indian-Spiced Roast Chicken

When winter comes, I crave the warm, heart-reaching spices. Garam masala is made with my mortar and pestle. The bright reds of cayenne, chili, and paprikas are used more often to paint every dish. Pinches of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg in almost everything, from home-cooked meals to all baked goods. This isn’t to say I don’t welcome them during the warmer months; I do. This is to say I celebrate the hell out of them when trees loosen up and we find ourselves bundled up, head-to-toe. When we spent our first cold and snow-filled week at New Paltz, we ate plenty. But when we ordered take-out from their one-and-only Indian restaurant, Dan and I ate, like, well, animals, according to his father. It was a feast of chicken tikka masala, masoor dal, chana dal, chicken and vegetable biryani, meat and potato samosas, naan, sauces–one a very bright green which reminded me of pandan, something Tory and I discovered while eating Kaya Toast. This feast was everything we NEEDED, and some. It was the best …

When Friends Ask You to Pick Up Their CSA Share (Part 2)

You wonder if there is a poem out there that celebrates this moment. Between friends and between yourself and all the veggies, is there a poem? If not, perhaps you could write one, in the same breath as Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, about every saturated-in-color vegetable and fruit that comes home with you on the first Saturday of September–this year and last. But if there is a chance you’ve been feeling less like a poet these days, meaning, you haven’t broken a line in a long while for the sake of sound, silence, and meaning, then you become–you are–a poet in your kitchen, roasting tomatoes with whole cloves of garlic. The woody scent of thyme and rosemary from your garden when met with high heat can make you long for the long, deliberate drizzle of rosemary-infused olive oil, and flaky salt, which you know your tomatoes love. You’ve a mind and heart towards Tory and Jon, who shared their share with you as they made their big move into Corona. Think of all the dinner …

my harlem lunch hour

slabs of seedless watermelon lush pink and bright yellow next door i’ve never had the yellow but i want yellow i want something close to sun heirloom tomatoes all the way from his garden in Jersey sit on storefront windowsills sunning til a red he is fond of blooms to then be chopped along with cucumbers and parsley a salad sold for simple souls at a shop called 7 Grains i order my usual no matter how hot of a day it is split pea unlike any other split pea with it’s ham-less, Moroccan flare. he takes out a bottle of all natural soy sauce and taps it over your legumes tap tap tap 3 times exactly. “we don’t use salt here.” but they sure use spice. i taste cumin. cayenne. garlic. paprika. “do you want a spoonful of brown rice with that?” yes. and then a final finishing tap of cayenne before it gets it’s lid and i hand over $4.50. back at work, i asked my boss’ son what he’s having for lunch. …

One of Many Ways to Eat Spring

When Spring returned to us in all its young green finery, I wanted to eat it. To squeeze a little lime on it in broad daylight and find my way, past the beefsteak tomatoes, standing strong on the sides of heirlooms, the tall, bruised green of the earth. The day before Easter, I grabbed the first asparagus of the season at my mom’s local farmers market and decided I was going to create a spring feast, highlighting these thick spears along with other bright and deep greens, such as peas, spring onions, cilantro, thyme, arugula. I wanted fava beans but I couldn’t find any. I stopped by my favorite kielbasa vendor and he handed me the cutest, smokiest ham I’ve ever held, and tasted. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it then, but knew I had to leave with it. “You can use it as decoration for your Easter table,” he told me. I politely shook my head no. I can–and will–use it in everything throughout the week, beginning tomorrow. After tomorrow, …

Join Me for Queens Writes Weekend!

There’s this feeling you get when people from all over Queens (and other boroughs!) gets together to write all weekend long. It’s sorta like the feeling you get after taking the very last bite of a piece of bread delicately smothered in fig jam, at a picnic your friend or neighbor had thrown for no other reason than to eat with you. It’s the last bite where you think to yourself how necessary to the very core of you this was. There are a few things I love most about the borough that is my home: it’s people, Newtown Literary Journal which this benefits, AND IT’S FOOD. So it only makes sense that I put together a food writing workshop inspired by good eats at the Queens International Night Market, right? Join me in eating and writing. I will be waiting for you by the information booth at 6PM. There will be prompts geared towards the experience of eating, cooking, being around such a diverse community. Freewriting is an option. All I ask is that you pay close to …

where you are planted / bloom

I was a little tipsy on the dance of the velvety heart rolling in my mouth I was dumb-tipsy on the day. Connie and I didn’t know it yet, but walking first into Wave Hill’s Sunroom before lounging in all of it’s unabashed green was a high-five moment. We actually high-fived each other. I am writing about a summer day, nearing Winter, because of the chicken pot pie I had during this visit (I’ll get there soon). Anyway, if you know anything about my love of playing Skyrim (in which I live through my character who hand picks her flowers and shrooms for alchemical, kick-ass purposes), then you may begin to understand my excitement when I found this station of roots and flowers: That’s Connie, not hiding HER excitement whatsoever. What is there not to love about a hands-on, minds-off exhibition? There were bowls full of chrysanthemums, damiana leaves, angelica root, hops, lavender, rose buds, hibiscus and mugwort root. We were to take a mortar and pestle, fill it with whatever we chose from the bowls, …

some of what the earth says

Have you ever felt like rows of cut rainbow swiss chard and heads-down sunflowers, with skies of gray threatening an any-minute-down-pour? Yeah. That was me the moment October hit. I feel similarly now, and decided to carry William Stafford with me in hopes for a better mood. But, like my good friend Valerie says, “He’s so comforting and yet disturbs or awakens (awakens is a better word) at the same time.” Which is what I need. The earth says where you live wear the kind of color that your life is (gray shirt for me) and by listening with the same bowed head that sings draw all into one song, join the sparrow on the lawn, and row that easy way, the rage without met by the wings within that guide you anywhere the wind blows. Listening, I think that’s what the earth says. The earth was saying a ton when October hit. It was saying it in rain and darkened clouds. In the passing of my favorite neighborhood flowers, the cosmos. In the threatening of all outdoor plans. …