Umami Dreams

Spokes and Petals has never been a food blog, but after watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi I’ve had the greatest urge to share this fantastic film with anyone and everyone. It is one of the most inspiring films I’ve ever seen, and tells a lot about what it takes to be truly masterful of anything. Also, it’s delicious. And it’s streaming on Netflix. Hope that you see it and enjoy!

Advertisements

A True Account Of Talking To The Sun At Fire Island


A few years ago, while I was visiting my old home in Maine, my friend Chris left this poem of Frank O’Hara’s on the doorknob. It was a little gift for my host, Laura, handwritten in ink with some watercolor embellishments. It was beautiful. And this morning, with a whole brass section of sun staring me down in the kitchen, I remembered.

The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying "Hey! I've been 
trying to wake you up for fifteen 
minutes.  Don't be so rude, you are 
only the second poet I've ever chosen 
to speak to personally
                       so why
aren't you more attentive? If I could 
burn you through the window I would
to wake you up.  I can't hang around 
here all day." 
              "Sorry, Sun, I stayed 
up late last night talking to Hal."

"When I woke up Mayakovsky he was 
a lot more prompt" the Sun said
petulantly.  "Most people are up 
already waiting to see if I'm going 
to put in an appearance."
                          I tried 
to apologize "I missed you yesterday."
"That's better" he said.  "I didn't 
know you'd come out."  "You may be wondering why I've come so close?"
"Yes" I said beginning to feel hot 
and wondering if maybe he wasn't
   burning me 
anyway.  
       "Frankly I wanted to tell you
I like your poetry.  I see a lot
on my rounds and you're okay.  You
   may
not be the greatest thing on earth, but
you're different.  Now, I've heard some 
say you're crazy, they being excessively
calm themselves to my mind, and other 
crazy poets think that you're a boring
reactionary.  Not me.
                     Just keep on
like I do and pay no attention.  You'll 
find that some people always will 
    complain about the atmosphere, 
       either too hot 
or too cold too bright or too dark, days
too short or too long. 
                      If you don't appear
at all one day they think you're lazy 
or dead.  Just keep right on, I like it. 

And don't worry about your lineage
poetic or natural.  The Sun shines on
the jungle, you know, on the tundra
the sea, the ghetto.  Wherever you
    were 
I knew it and saw you moving.  I was 
    waiting 
for you to get to work.

                        And now that you
are making your own days, so to 
   speak, 
even if no one reads you but me 
you won't be depressed.  Not 
everyone can look up, even at me.  It 
hurts their eyes."
       "Oh Sun, I'm so grateful to you!"

"Thanks and remember I'm watching.  
  It's 
easier for me to speak to you out
here.  I don't have to slide down
between buildings to get your ear.
I know you love Manhattan, but 
you ought to look up more often.
                                And
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely and with 
the appropriate sense of space.  That
is your inclination, known in the 
   heavens
and you should follow it to hell, if
necessary, which I doubt.
                          Maybe we'll 
speak again in Africa, of which I too
am specially fond.  Go back to sleep 
  now
Frank, and I may leave a tiny poem 
in that brain of yours as my farewell."

"Sun, don't go!"  I was awake 
at last.  "No, go I must, they're calling
me."  
    "Who are they?"
                   Rising he said "Some
day you'll know.  They're calling to you
too."  Darkly he rose, and then I slept.

Art, Craft, and the Coywolf

Lacy

While poking around WordPress for posts having to do with coyotes, I came across this piece on Janice Wright Cheney at::soulexposed::. Cheney has done some awesome work regarding coywolves, those creatures which are the offspring of the ever-wandering coyote and Canada’s eastern wolf. (A very great many of the coyotes of the east coast fit that bill.)  As she explains in this Archive 7 profile, she took wolf taxidermy forms (the mannequins upon which tanned hides are mounted), and covered “the creatures in cloth and dressed them in the furs of other animals, including coyote pelts. It’s as if they’re trying to pass themselves off as something that they’re not. They’re like little old ladies, but they’re dangerous.” I very much enjoy seeing coywolves approached in such a beautiful, thoughtful, and unique way.

Cheney has other pieces focusing on animals, and her profile describes how this work concentrates on and explores “the idea of vermin — creatures that are not wanted. Bear, coyote, rat, insects, they are all intruders on human territory, and Cheney is fascinated by the casual violence we condone in the name of wildlife encroaching on human-claimed territory.” All of these animals – even the bear – are living things that can be happened upon in the urban landscape. May our interactions and dealings with them be as nuanced and imaginative as Cheney’s.

Lists of the Lately

(Source.)

It has been too long! But I am here, and as the season of growing things continues to ebb I’ll be coming back and posting much more often. In the coming months and years I aim to find the gumption to keep up with S&P, even in the madness of April, the thick green heart of July and the satisfying everything of September. I will do it. I think the secret is shorter posts and a less-anal attitude. Difficult, but possibly attainable?

As it often is, my time is mismanaged and short. And so, I shall offer some egotistical lists of the lately.

 
What I’ve been seeing:

Praying mantises on the mums – with an egg sack on one, and what we assumed to be a dying mother on the other, her body ravaged with the perpetuation of life. Another grand Dillardian drama!

A lot of gleeful kids picking out a lot of ridiculous pumpkins.

Warfare waged by squirrels in the canopy while I rummage for shagbark hickory nuts on the pasture’s edge.

Ember-colored leaves lilting past the window.

Autumn crocuses precociously busting out of their bulbs, entangled in their retail packaging and albino from a cardboard darkness.

(I brought it home for free. We’ll plant it in the garden in the rain and someday I hope it will bloom a light magenta.)

Tasting:

Apples. Mulled as a hot cider (a work perk), simmered into sauce, melded into butternut squash soup.

Cheese. And other animal fats. (They are All I Want.)

The last of the tomatoes. Sitting like asymmetrical harvest moons waiting to ripen, dappled with bulgur in a tabouli, dancing with cilantro in salsa.

Amazing Goan engagement party food! Curries, sausages, and, um, fancy cupcakes. (The latter’s a bit less Goan and a bit more Andrew and Melissa.)

Reading:

Tolstoy. A lot of Tolstoy. (In fact if you’d like to join my little Anna Karenina book club you can do so here.)

Research on coyotes and wolves in the American landscape.

The private lives of bullfrogs. (Completely mind-blowing – stay tuned for more on this in the future.)

Making:

A hat with a sperm whale on it. (Shameless plug: I’m taking orders for fingerless gloves, mittens, and hunters mitts (fingerless gloves with a mitten flap). Email me if you’re interested in a pair!)

Spiced plums and bourbon peaches.

A lot of jars of dried herbs – sacred basil (Tulsi), lemon thyme, mullein (flannel leaf) and Cascade hops flowers. (I don’t make beer, but I do like falling asleep, so sometimes a pot of hops is made before bed. It works wonders.)

(I want to point out that the scientific name is improperly represented in this image, as the genus is capitalized. Faux pas!! Source.)

Anyway. It’s good to be back. Tell me what you’ve been seeing, too.

%d bloggers like this: