Sat 12 Jun 2010
I am a creature of food and geography
I ran away from America
trading politics for a new palate
ate mushies on toast in the chill midsummer air
under the shadow of Big Ben.
Then, watching football at the hostel
my eyes strayed to your large, flop-topped form
as you swayed over a pot of top ramen,
and later wrapped me in your Dryzabone in the rain
before Pavarotti in Hyde Park.
In Paris, it was
tin after tin of red kidney beans
splashes of French dressing
our lives forever in
shared containers littered with utensils sharp and dull.
You followed me back to college,
San Diego’s meals were punctuated with your obsessions
one week, carrots, the next, raisins,
no matter how sweet or salty the dish,
we ate your fetishes.
Australia called you home,
so we endured years of frugal living
and expensive flights,
carting Ranch dressing and Vegemite,
until Tasmanian smoked salmon graced our wedding feast.
A year in an Oregon cabin feverish with love
we cranked the handle of our pasta machine
while cabernet flowed down throats
wide with innocence and naivety,
three tenors forced our arms aloft
and our breasts apace.
Returning to Oz via China,
we slurped over-the-bridge noodles in Kunming
lidded with chili paste, matching heat in our
loins and our bowels,
we stared wide-eyed at rows of suspended
roast dogs, and quickly learned
cài, cèsuǒ, and xièxie.
Having failed to share canine in Guangzhou,
we thought we’d try grasshoppers in Oaxaca,
deep fried, coated in chili,
only to watch them sweat in the plastic, uneaten.
We souvenired 7 kilos of Mexican chocolate instead.
Surrounded by exotic, erotic sculptures
in relief on high temples
there in small, significant
Khajuraho we ate alu palak with naan,
sweet curd in earthen bowls,
we discarded to shatter back to their source.
From the earth, Oscar grows
like a ginger flower inside me,
gifting me his palate, I gave up our favourites,
one after another, spinach, garlic, basil and cumin
a vegetarian could eat no vegetables.
Antigone’s term in my womb was more
about feast than famine
as I gobbled up sushi
and tacos, burritos and salsa,
we jointly asserted our love
of a Japanese dinner and Mexican lunch.
My final term as vessel for others’ tastes,
I remember nothing but burgers
slathered in hot English mustard
like Atticus, all solid and spice.
I chopped garlic in labour
And birthed him to the clatter of Chinese steel.
Our kitchens, taste genres of Socratic method,
rhythms of kneading dough, cranking pasta sheets,
and chop chop chopping endless globes of garlic,
the only warm spaces in unheated houses
where we share a taste for desire