I’ve been thinking
a lot about stretch denim
that doesn’t also have a stretchy waistband
(by which I mean nature’s cruelest disagreements)
and I’ve been thinking
about the slobbering of heat that is the promise of spring. Today, to wear out the woozy, to giddy the skittish dizzy into a steady simple rush of stillness I buttered
around the city listening to the Cranberries
as the air around me bounded
into its summer self
but literally two weeks ago there was a blizzard
that thawed into a song.
Plants have the most complicated biochemistry in nature—it’s not explicit, their influence, but powerful as passive aggression. Family
like a forest, like home it grows
wherever I go. Trees of forests of families gabbing at the root. Wild tobacco developing nicotine as a toxin to shoo away insects who feed on the leaves.
I guess this is a dirge
to the future I thought we could have
Not all plants were meant to grow together
in the same microclimate. Some things grow apart instead.
Walking the High Line not far from where we first met, in the seats by the popsicle stand. Blackberry ones were the best. Mango, second to the best. Coconut was trash. “I think you want to be with someone, so clearly so deep. It just doesn’t feel like you want to be with me.” Leo looked up at me full Eeyore face. “I been thinkin the same thing.”
Nations are always outlived by their cities
The train stopped running. Interstate trucking, global air travel, containerized shipping left the hanging train hanging And even there, to have engines of appetites in a city in a state in a nation in a world in a solar system in a galaxy in a universe where the only constant is change—body roll with the punches and the punch lines and the I can’t stand the rains. Yes, our High Line stopped running, but it didn’t go away
Because you see dear reader, in the garden
dry foliage from the previous year’s growth gives its sugars
to the new generation. Helps protect
plants from desiccating and freezing in the winter.
Shelter for birds, hibernating
butterflies, and other insects.
Death cycle interwoven with the spring.
It took time to forget
about who we were together, so we could come back
with intention and not surrender
Jiddy says that makes sense across from me at the Echo Park vegan brunch spot mid sorrel-bowl hoovering. Your pheromones have to recalibrate
Spring is a season of reconciliation, a suture
for the loss of winter and the summer’s sweaty
on the beach
It’s July 4th and we’ve said no
to imperialism but yes
to public sex
We drive for hours because it’s an excuse to sing
together and I forget other people
are around and we’re driving
to the coast and the radio is cranked all the way up
and our inhibitions cranked all the way
Our layered associations, our accidental landscape.
I’ve tended to the garden
of our memories, like a recipe
for feelings. The derelict railroad I see when I close my eyes
grown wild with Queen Anne’s Lace—
I’m almost always talking to someone but almost never seeing anyone, I say as me n Leo pass through the Chelsea Market Passage and our voices bounce around the thrum of the crowd shuffling about us now. Our passage between and through the gently stalling masses like an obstacle course of bodies. I mean the last time I really dated someone was ... I look up at him while trailing off, which is becoming a pebble feature of our patter. Anyway, the wedding looked gorgeous, from what I saw on Insta, I say like a Hawaiian shirt in the winter: not quite believable but go off. He shakes his head and eyes into me like shards of glass. That’s not what you really think. Stalled behind a double-wide stroller I stop and turn to him. Leo, for the love of god you had flip-flops made for the guests with both yr freaking initials on them. I was praying that I would choke to death on my own vomit so I would never have to see it again. Leo grins wide as the High Line
In order to see
what we would become, what we were supposed to be, we
had to abandon
ourselves. We had to go derelict,
go wild. Let the living dynamics
of the world outside us grow over us, separately—
and then recreate our wilderness
with a shimmery wildness
Not constantly recreating our memory
A roux, I’ve learned tonight in this mid-city dinner party apartment tucked somewhat safely away from asthmatic LA freeways, is the mixture of butter and flour used to swell sauces and soups and Paul’s baked sage mac n cheese that I’m whisking alive like an al dente Evanescence cheese-rock bop. Whistle while you whisk away the rage scrunched in yr boulders. I says to them around the table I says—
I don’t have food stories. With you, I say, I’m cooking new ones.
of yr recipes is only natural. Things get stolen.
So much butter. Butter, butter, butter, butter rockin everywhere am I rite?
One stick, two stick, red stick, blue stick. I thought maybe half a stick? No, it’s half a stick for the sausages, but a whole one for the tomato sauce. Butter the bread, get yr sea salt rocks off. The water shd taste Atlantic. Monica’s kid practically revs himself into the tabletop behind us in her Albany Park apartment with Popeye’s “come hither” musk wafting in through the open window. Says she didn’t know how to cook before she got married, that trying new dishes was a way she and her husband bonded. Keeping kids alive is some shit, I think while remembering when we’d duct-tape 40s to our palms in college.
Mom does not want to be hooked up to no machines she texts
day after Auntie passes That’s not prolonging life that’s extending death
The garlic the green
pepper the onion—which! I just learned how to cut: Claw hands. Cracked my first egg ever for a cooking show in Berkeley where I made a spaghetti and chard frittata to serve a boy the morning after we’ve presumably played dick-butt. The basics are my revelation. The andouille sausage, the bacon tips, the ham hock, the scallions, the smoked paprika bubble bubble’s the gumbo in Roy’s Concordia apartment by the bakery where the dad, just after a run, bought me a coffee while I was in line and slipped me his number
whale dies in thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags
Dear reader, let’s make a culture!
Let’s make a dough. Like anyone whose culture has been scrubbed
from history, you can scrub my apple crumble
But you can never scrub my hunger
Let’s get bubbling
Let’s get wet
Let’s bold the buttock loaves @ Kristina’s Bernal Heights abode
Jess pulls meat from the rib cage
like her grandmother
The most flavorful parts are
to the bone. Everything smells
like fuzzy comfort Insulin
is a polypeptide hormone produced by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas, tiny islands that regulate the metabolism of sugar in the blood. Insulin resistance begins when too many sugars are introduced too often into the body—the beta cells shoot their load so often the body is like, damn insulin! Why are you so obsessed with me?
Undigested sugar molecules rage around the blood, doing all sorts of crimes
Insulin, from the Latin insula: isle
Dad’s hair started to fall out. His long black trickster locks Tufts of it in the trash on the brush Auntie’s sister goes in to get her foot cut off
Auntie goes in for dialysis. They told her stick a needle in the orange for practice. It’s porous, like skin. Auntie, you’ve been injecting the orange this whole time? What the heck?
I am the recipe I protect.
We are in a pot.
One of us is the vegetables and one of us is the water. I can’t tell
who is cooking who, like a late 80s Aretha Franklin song—we give ourselves up to each other. Into each other. Throughout each other. Cutting
is decisive and precise. In what other context do you get to grip a knife like you do when preparing ceviche. Prep is so violent, right?
Scrape out the tomato
Smash the lemons and the limes
Rip off the shrimp tails
Slice open the cucumber, the onions, the chilies into smaller and smaller minces
the olives before shaving meat sleeves
from its pit. I can feel the chili seeds
from the backseat
of the maroon Honda in Santa Fe 25 years ago.
The ubiquity of garlic
I’m obsessed with softening, the going in between.
Simple ingredients orchid the kitchen-thing: an hour among the citrus and the onions and the cucumber and the chilies, shrimps bud from sickly gray to scrumptious punky pink
It’s about family. Everything’s about family if you have enough string. Sitting in yr little chair while aunties flutter about the stove, the butcher block, the cutting board. We’re a country club in Durango. We’re a wedding cake in Mexico City. We’re a hole in the wall in Tijuana.
Btw why’s it called a pie-hole? Why not a stew-hole? Or a hoagie-hole? Or a roe-hole? Apparently imagination is the wages of dessert culture.
Me n Becky nibble De La Rosa cookies and blast La India, art denaturing our circuit of gray matter.