You Don’t Know Me

I will be posting this on Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

You don’t know me
As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”Anthony Bourdain

You don’t know me.
I have listened to men making crude comments
about women in the kitchens I have cooked.
I have been beaten, stabbed, raped and robbed.
I have lost people I love due to
Illness, murder, and suicide.
I have been in the depths of despair,
I have danced on rainbows of joy.
I have loved deeply and been loved in return.
I have eaten the food from a James Beard Award winner,
I have eaten beans and beans,
I have starved.
I watched my mother dying
and identified the body of a friend dead by suicide.
I walked out on being a chef after having won an award
and almost hung myself that same day
but was saved by my little needy cat.
A year later I watched that cat being stomped to death
after my home was invaded and she hissed at the invaders.
I have seen lonely days and nights
And I have been alone by choice
And I have chosen my few friends wisely.
I learned the languages of water, trees and stones
and the language of the French and Japanese kitchens,
the language of the heart,
the language of cicadas at night.
I have dwelt in darkness of spirit
and darkness of the sweet night.
I have scars on my body and soul.
I have wept and laughed.
You don’t know me.

copyright kanzensakura
Kanzen in the snow 1957

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coalblack
    Jul 29, 2018 @ 16:30:54

    This is powerful stuff, and much of it contains reeling blows that could not help but leave a mark–hell, they would knock anybody senseless. But here you are, living and writing. I’m going to leave my comment there, because i don’t want to babble about such a powerful piece.


  2. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jul 29, 2018 @ 17:08:39

    Beautiful, poignant intense poem, Toni. I felt something that reached into my heart and wil stay with me. Thank you for sharing this moment of revelation. I ike this as an idea for a prompt title.


  3. annell4
    Jul 30, 2018 @ 08:51:19

    Yes, you describe “life,” like a penball machine. It is said, “If it doesn’t kill us, we will be stronger.” I believe you are a very strong person, but not immune to sadness, sorrow and grief. Like the Phoenix, you are struck and yet you rise again, just as “life,” should be. “Don’t let the bastards get you down!”


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