I shuffled in slow and placid…outside
and rolled in fast and fluttery…inside.
The lineup for the nightwalk included
alleged and documented
perpetrators of poetry!
They looked shifty and dangerous to my naive and tremulous eyes and
I swear they walked on water with practiced ease
that would’ve made Peter turn green!
Their banter (actually friendly and gracious), sailor talk, for readying
a ship of poems to sail on the word seas, and they relished
movement, rhythms, the beat…
…and my own nervous and stilted heart…
they knew what lay in store for me! And laughed in joy.
All sorts of sailors…wearing masks of nice humans, open, zesty, at liberty to sing…
(see, in my anxiety I knew the ruse, from times of past troubles and other places).
Oh yeah…Miss Know it all…NOT!
Strange how skert eyes & throbbing thudding heart
pastes masks where open faces shine?
The ship launched with little fanfare, little ceremony and no pomp.
I was swallowing that lump in my throat as the dock grew small and distant,
and I was clawing at the air with my nostrils sharp, distended and desperate,
spooked land-legged horse tharn with own horsey-headed fears & spectral song.
The shanties, chanties, the riffs and skiffs, slings and throws and practiced ease
played around me, soundtrack to my panic and funhouse mirror fears.
It swelled and then…there! Those tight bands around
my scudding heart were loose…looser…gone!
Deck duties adjourned and Athena gave her summons to the kitchen
(at least that was what I was told by the big kids! They seemed to hear and see
and know and talk while I wasn’t looking, no matter how hard I stared!)
Then Ben brought out a big hunk
of pungent garlic laced sausage and plopped it down.
And Cassie brought out (ummmm!!! CASSIE!!!)
basil & oregano pinched rosemary’s butt till it’s fragrant self wafted our noses silly!
Threw in a bit of whimsey cheese for balance too!
(I thought it was chedder, but she said
the way of whimsy whey was far deeper and most effective
when hidden neath seemingly silly hats and jackets).
Eileen stepped on gusto’s back with sure foot and glinty eyes
and threw down the veg!
Shorn fresh in the last years were her greens, her tomatoes, her root veg and just
touch of hot pepper.
(and she added wine too…
1st/last/communion cup full and sloshy red)
Before I knew it I was forgetting masks
(which weren’t there except behind my own eyes),
I was smelling herbs and drawing comfort from bishy-basil breath of fresh promises,
dancing with rosemary…
like baby’s breath, if the baby were the god-child of dawn and dusk
…and then, there I was…
laying something down on that board of plenty for the pot (and poet-mariners)!
I still don’t know what I gave! Was it bread? butter? tofu? Onion/garlic/leek?
Or saffron, odd and small in gatheration and grip, to
send a strange and exotic note into this amalgamation of feastly elements
and everlasting never ending communion of low saints?
Whatever…I threw it down, and Holly gathered it in along with
the other things which glistened and pulsed
and muscled their tawny-throated songs
into ears itchy for relief and tickle.
Then came hunks! Josh flung ripped hunks of meat,
some beefy-lamby pungent flesh…
or was it a fowl and frosted with salty brine fine turkey…
Or was it that Ox of legend and lore Babe the Blue…yes, that must have been it!
Anyway Josh had this…this…STUFF! And it wanted to look bloody but
it really looked blue and ready and running to gather
all the wonder forgotten by the earth as she gave up her big-bounteous -booty
to our eager and fevered hands, plucking and picking and pruning and petting
and … and… yeah, that’s it! PRAISING…
of juicy and dripping wine from the Press of Creation’s well.
Christine put in this bitty of balsamic vinegar…rich and variegated
mystery hiding behind simple brown. Francis brought cilantro-garnishes,
for his was finding itself floating onto everything that was tossed
on the work table and gathered lickity split into the pot.
Holly put in her bouquet garni, to steep…
her hand stirred, mingled, her bundle of balance
gathered in all the parts and parcels and people into savory and diverse union…
Rochelle brought slow sweet sugar root, brown and molassesy and
lent a stable homing in reminder that in all things sour,
there is still sweet…a princess disguised as a scullery maid
sashayed up with a savory broth and mushrooms.
She said it wasn’t hers, but we tasted the longing and knew her
as a master chef to be…
…and Nancy Awwwwwwwd YEEE_YAH!
SALT BAYBEE!! With some habanero scotchy elixer…
(from a secret vial and of her own design, she told us conspiratorially!
I took her serious until she winked at me and helped one of my legs get longer)…
…and the spell of years and fears and tears and jeers finally broke,
and the scales flew off my scared and lonely heart,
and I saw the players in this kitchen sailing on savory seas of festive inner oceans
and rising on waves of
peppery piquant POETRY! poetry, dammit!
Those cats, those bouncy and ancient royal jesters
masquerading as sailors and putting
Julia Child to the boards of effort…
those sleek and graceful ocelots, those
madcap merry-andrews were damn poets!
And I was home and breathing!!
Wine was poured, and heat applied as Josh riffed and moaned his jazzytry and
Francis decanted peace and still harmony in his high and lonesome homey song and
Nancy poured oceans of ecstatic delight
from eyes that didn’t even PRETEND to not leak!
I left, half drunk half sober,
though I could not have said which was what…
and full of Poet Stew.