this is what it's like

this is what it means to be alive: 

coming in from an icy rain,

too petulant to be proper snow


you sit near a fire

with plastic logs that never burn

but are thankful

for the warmth and the view

 

this is what comfort tastes like—

a delight of mingled simple and familiar

flavors in a perfect bowl of rice

 

you eat and remember stories

about a god in every grain of rice

and a god of rice and foxes

 

for a moment you are a child again,

pretending you are a happy fox

in a den miles away from

human decisions and consequences

 

you eat slow, so slow,

greeting the god in every grain,

indie rock serenading the traveling gods

as their journey intersects yours

 

this is what it’s like remembering

you don’t want the jarrito

because even almost a year later,

it will still taste like tears instead of pineapple


the tears will come anyway,

so you may as well have the jarrito

 

this is what it’s like remembering,

laughter still exists 

and it feels so good to laugh with a lover 
about wisteria in the winter

although spring is so far away

 

you remind yourself

this is what it’s like to be alive,

warm, and sated—a blessing

 

of food in the belly,

music and laughter in the background,

in spite of the storm.




 

Song Choice: What a Wonderful World covered by The Ramones

 

26 comments:

  1. Now I feel all warm and cosy! Beautifully evoked, Rommy.

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  2. "...stories
    about a god in every grain of rice
    and a god of rice and foxes" Oh now I want to hear all those stories!!!

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    Replies
    1. I had been doing a deep dive on my books of Japanese mythology that day

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  3. "...in spite of the storm..." which is at its stormiest these days. Thanks for the respite.

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    1. We all need that bit of respite now and then

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  4. This is what my days amount to too, making the house warm, good food, stories/poetry and remembering. I especially like the line about laughing about wisteria in winter.

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    1. That line was based on a silly conversation my husband and I had. It started when he told me he had never heard of wisteria before and ended with both of us teasing each other.

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  5. plastic logs that never burn - amazing image!

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  6. I love your remembrances and the allusions to the food world.
    "comfort tastes like—
    a delight of mingled simple and familiar
    flavors in a perfect bowl of rice..."
    Mine would be a paper cup of "Ramen Noodle Soup", instant any flavor with added Shrimp, Meatballs, Clams, Chicken, or Hot Dogs, all cut up into small bites with Creole Seasoning and a lot of Frozen Peas added.
    My additions of the day would be as yours and others, some in keeping with Rosemary's suggested theme would be "Secrets".
    Literally, I buy them a dozen at a time and have them for evening meals. When by myself I meditate a lot.
    ..

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    1. We all love doctored up ramen around here. My husband is a genius at figuring out what we have that go well in a warm bowl.

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  7. How wonderful your poem made me feel .. no doubt, anyone lucky enough to read it {revel in the emotion, memories} will feel. Thank you for a true gift.

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    1. I am delighted that it resonated so strongly with you!

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  8. "Food in the belly, music and laughter in the background" who could ask for more! It conjures a peaceful scene.

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  9. wow! rommy, this is so good. i've read it 3 times now and just gets better. i really liked the god in every grain of rice... the communion that represents, the "what it means to be alive" and all the simple things that make life, the graciousness. i like the flow of consciousness, one idea leading to the next so naturally. well done! love this!

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  10. This is so beautiful.
    Alive means tasting pain and sorrow, warmth and love.
    " a god of rice and foxes" reminds me of Fushimi Inari Taisha, the shrine in Kyoto. :)

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    1. Yes, to all of this, including the reference to Inari. :)

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  11. This one seems to pull me from every angle and squeeze my heart, all at the same time. It's an uplifting pain, an uplifting poem spiced up with the kind of sorrow we can't escape (even if we wanted to, and we don't). This is bittersweet chocolate that burns the tongue and warms the hands, all at the same time. Life is a strange business to delight in, especially in those times when we are missing those who aren't enjoying the living with us.

    Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Relatable.

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    1. I think a lot of us are going to come out of this pandemic with a deeper understanding of the wonderfulness/ awfulness/ hysterical fabulousness of life. Even the sad parts are a blessing because they are a testament to the things that matter to us.

      Also, a well made bowl of rice really brings out the philosopher in me. :D

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  12. I never thought of rice as a comfort food. The midwest staple comfort food of meat, potatoes and stacks of bread were mine.
    But it makes sense with your words and I may not eat rice in the same way again.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem of simple pleasures.

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