Still Poetry Thursday: Talvikki Ansel

Eating, from the collection My Shining Archipelago (1996 Yale Series of Younger Poets)

They fed us soft-boiled eggs, six
in a basket covered in a dishcloth. Our mother
with one swift crunch could slice off the tops.
Ralston, grits, cornmeal mush; steel-cut
oats, cooked for a night on the back
of the stove; split-pea soup, heaving
and gumming in the iron pot; cole slaw:

cabbage shredded, peppered and tossed
in mayonnaise; and someone in the kitchen
gnawing on the cabbage stub (for years
I thought it was “costs low”); cod and potatoes,
the fishy-smelling box with the sliding lid
that we all wanted, and the cod soaking
in a bowl, a chunk of dirty snow; the pot
of minestrone our father dropped

coming into the dining room, spectacular,
noodles everywhere, the dog ecstatic, and us
staring down at our placemats not
daring to laugh. And kale, kale
that stayed green and bitter until November,
leaves frosty when we snapped them from
the woody stems. Our mother splitting pods
of cardamom on Sundays and baking
pulla; rowing with our father to an

island where we waded in the chill salt,
pried mussels and periwinkles
from dark rocks, and steamed them in weeds
on a smoking driftwood fire, but that
was long ago, when we crouched
on the beach, sharpening rose twigs
and digging out the meat.

Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory: Stories, p. 4

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Perhaps every can of cashews has a fake snake lurking, but you keep opening them, stupidly, because in your heart of hearts you still believe in cashews. And every time you discover the cruel fiction of the cashew can, you swear to yourself you’ll trust a little less next time, you’ll be a little less open, a little more hard. It’s not worth it, you say. It just isn’t worth it. You’re smarter than all that. From now on, you’re going to be smarter. Well, I’m here to tell you that this time will be different, even though I have absolutely no evidence to support that claim. Open this can and everything will be okay. The salted circus cashews are waiting. They are so savory and delicious.

Anthropology of Food: Doreen G. Fernandez

Doreen G. Fernandez was self’s Freshman English professor at the Ateneo de Manila University. Her greatness was in her writing. She wrote beautifully about her subject: Philippine food, and its long history.

Recently, self began re-reading her book Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture (Anvil Publishing, Philippines, 1994)

Her Process:

My teachers are all those who give me information about food: market vendors, street sellers, cooks, chefs, waiters, restaurant and carinderia owners, farmers, tricycle drivers, gardeners, fishermen, aficionados, nutritionists, readers of my columns, friends, food critics and historians, fellow researchers, authors of books (and cookbooks), writers of columns, food anthropologists — everyone who eats and cares.

— Doreen G. Fernandez, 13 June 1994


For self, the biggest, most interesting stop in her very brief late December visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico was the Farmer’s Market. It was bitter cold, snow lined the tracks of the railyard just adjacent, and inside a vast warehouse were smells, the indescribable smells of chili, pine, roasted coffee. Oh, heaven.

20191228_125705

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

San Mateo Farmer’s Market: Meeting Fellow Warren Campaign Volunteers

The California primary is March 3!

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 77: 2019 FAVORITES

Great theme!

In 2019, self traveled the world. Her life triangulated between home in Redwood City, California, to England and Ireland, to the Philippines. Side trip to Prague with her niece, Irene!

Here goes, all the images that mattered most to self in 2019, arranged from most recent — December 2019 — to the earliest, January 2019: Starting with her home in Redwood City in early December; to London’s Blackfriar station; to Manggapuri Villa in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Philippines; to Prague; to Oxford University’s Exam School for Alice Oswald’s first reading as Oxford’s first woman Poet in Residence; to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park; to the Main House of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig; to the fire pit in Manggapuri Villas; to the Daku Balay in Bacolod City, the Philippines; to self’s bedroom; to the Blue Room in Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland; to Fowey in Cornwall; to Courthouse Square, Redwood City; to the cover of last winter’s issue of Prairie Schooner, which included her story Things She Can Take

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: ONE BASIC COLOR

Excited that it’s ALMOST CHRISTMAS!

Excited, too, to be able to participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this weeK: ONE BASIC COLOR.

Here are some pictures self took earlier this year, in May. She was in London and then joined her niece Irene in Prague, her first-time ever in that wondrous city:

  • The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Field, just off Trafalgar Square, London
  • The London Eye
  • St. Martin restaurant in the Mala Strada district of Prague, just a few doors away from the American Embassy

Self just realized, looking at her shots and comparing to Cee Neuner’s, that self’s are extremely monochromatic. Ah, well!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: Angela Narciso Torres

If You Go to Bed Hungry

(an excerpt)

If you go to bed hungry, your soul will get up and steal cold rice from the pot.
Stop playing with fire before the moon rises or you’ll pee in your sleep.

Sweeping the floor after dark sweeps wealth and good fortune out the door.
Fork dropped: a gentleman will visit. Spoon: a bashful lady.


Torres_author-photo-1024x1024

The poem in its entirety can be found on the Poetry Foundation site.

About Angela: She is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books, 2013). Her second collection, What Happens is Neither, is forthcoming in 2021 from Four Way Books.

Perhaps that is why good things never last long with self: she is always sweeping the floor just before she goes to bed!

Stay tuned.

TUESDAY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Common

I adore this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.

  • Common… Whether it is the every day, common object or the things that you have in common, or crossing the town common…

There is such beauty in everyday things.

Tee-Hee, Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room is so in-your-face, so sassy.

It mentions Carol Doda and there is indeed a San Francisco institution called Carol Doda. In fact, on self’s first family trip to the United States (She was 13), her father was super-excited to get to San Francisco to see a Carol Doda performance. But Carol Doda was already pretty old by then, so he was vastly disappointed. In fact, when self asked her father when he got back to the hotel later that night what he thought of Carol Doda he had this look on his face and said only one word: “Old.” (Come to think of it, it is pretty wild that she, a convent girl from the Philippines, was asking her father what he thought of San Francisco’s most famous stripper. Wilder is that he thought self had asked a perfectly legitimate question because he answered in all sincerity)

Since The Mars Room is set in San Francisco, self wondered if there was an actual — ehem! — establishment. She guesses not because the only place she could find after googling was a Mars Bar and Restaurant on Brennan.

In Rachel Kushner’s novel, the manager of the Mars Room is called D’ARTAGNAN.

RUDE!

Self loves it.

Stay tuned.

2019: Grateful For

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