A Poet's Place Is In The Kitchen

It's good food and not fine words that keeps me alive - Molière

Gotta cook a splendid meal tonight
for folks who'll come to see me
strut my stuff --
just can't afford to sink red-faced
in clouds of black and greasy smoke
that billow through the house,
better far to fly on wings that sing
of Mogul banquets, trail jetstreams
of fine spices,
all the aromatic wisdom of the East
writ somewhat small
in my cramped kitchen.

Oh hell -- can't find the cardamom
and fresh, unsalted cashew nuts
the recipe requires --
Pandit Gupta Lal and Rameez Singh
would have my guts for clay-baked garters
if they knew.  Let's hope my guests
don't mind -- damn, they will know,
sniff out my mistakes 
like half-starved bloodhounds on the chase
and then have me for dinner.

But where's the cookbook?  Disappeared
in kitchen chaos, my guiding light
extinguished for the moment --
oh Lord, I'm stuffed!
Guess I'll have to trust my nose,
improvise on wings of smell
and grind fresh spices, dice the meat
real fine but lose no blood of mine,
peel and slice and chop the onions,
chillies, pungent garlic, ginger,
all in some haste.  Again.

I usually like to take my time,
mess around to season things
precisely to my fine-honed taste,
simmer over well-judged heat
just long enough to merge the dish
in one harmonious whole --
can't do that now, can only hope
and even pray (a little optimistic there)
that Eastern colours, tastes and smells
will quickly join to make this night
a synaesthetic tour de force

all this before
those fussy buggers
reach my door.

© David Nourse 2010


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