One cannot think well, love well, live well, If one has not dined well—Virginia Woolf
Don’t assume responsibility for making
the essentials like mac & cheese,
stewed chiecken or collard greens,
the old hands got them covered.
Expect the whole fam there, or,
at least, the oneswho return emails,
phone calls & don’t have personal beefs.
Expect to find the men lounging on living
room sofas, watching Saturday night ball
on the flat screen, debating the MVP race;
the women crowded around the kitchen
table passing gossip with a bottle of wine;
kids tearing from room to room ’till some
sharp parental looks send them outdoors.
Come expecting your grandma, aunt & uncles
to give you a tight embraces that leave back &
shoulders aching; the dense scent of meals slow
cooking in the oven, on the stove or waiting pre-
made in tin plastic trays. Expect some names
to shine more brightly than others in your mind
& to discover a new life here to replace the one
seas, continents &distance of time has left behind.
Midday shadows converge on the
Grape that fell from the vine.
On fallow ground its crimson body is
Soiled by the loam, bruised by scattered
Rocks & roots, mocked by circling aves,
Disowned by the vineyard master himself.
In that noon hour, the grape is squashed by
A foreknown heel, its juice flowing out on
Fallow ground as shadows converge once more.
The frigid Highveld air had contempt for your anxiety.
It was an opening audience observing
Your scenes of fear and uncertainty.
A higher purpose flew you to Azania’s* ebony arms,
But on that first night you wanted out––
Back to the self-security of the homeland.
At a crude coffee table lit almost like a darkroom
You repeated your parent’s promise like an
Undeveloped exposure: We’ll only be here for a season.
Instead of critiquing the meaning of these words
You let your quarter of a KFC Family Feast become
A greasy morphine dulling your sense of uprootment.
* South Africa
There’s exploded coffee
on the floor, walls,
ceiling and sink
The bathroom reeks
of virgin coffee grains and
aging liquid congealed on the floor
The scent bites hard like Humean
musings on our natural lust
for dollar-fisted elites
As a layman of honest words
I observe them as a passive
thinker with silver-plated dreams
They are the culmination, the ambition
in many of my folks’ lofty sights.
Ever looking they be beyond
this post-modern reality
where the ideal of the self-made
is held by the fortunate few
while absurd cycles of crime,
racial violence and poverty
do death dances around them
From the vantage point of the
double-disadvantaged, I watch them
as I watch the fluxed coffee of the floor
Ignited toward action, yet stalled
by uncertainty of where the income
ladder leads and leans
Where sweet things reside
In the midst
of current tasks,
I’m drawn back
to summer afternoons
at Grandma’s flat.
Atop an amber-lighted
sleep in tin foiled safe homes;
dream in sealed plastic wrap,
Cathedral of the Holy Cross
along the way.
Fruits of the vine,
produce of the earth,
packed in air-conditioned chambers.
along the way.
No WICA Acccepted.
We are what we eat.
Green in a post-color world
Have we done it?
Are we still doin’ it?
Have we roasted the emerald dough
till it explodes?
Have we scraped the remains together
to be consumed like cracklin’?
Has it satisfied our material hunger
or do we yearn for more?
I once heard the news say of a Brazilian baron
who lost + 1 million a day
who still proclaims his fortune will not abate
even while green blood drains from his palms and veins.
I’ve seen the dollar string up citizens debt-ridden necks
choking them till their financial lives are half-dead;
hold hostage economies
with the threat of default and social unrest.
Such is life linked to the twisted key to prosperity.
For just like the proverbial fool and his money
we held it blindly too hard and too long
without realizing it had already gone.
Method of Consumption
Those who dine
at the table
hold fork and knife
over a plate of old wounds,
ready to tear into targets
of unresolved pain.
Time, the immortal chef
serves his courses
bitterness, vengeance, self-destruction
all covered with rusty platter-tops.
Like food mingling with burnt tongues
and spoiled palates,
we feed, ignorant of the different tastes
textures and qualities.