dVerse: Haibun Monday

Today is Haibun Monday over at dVerse. Frank is asking us to write about Pleasant Surprises. We are being inundated with #Me Too stories. Good! I published my #Me Too story for Real Toads last week. This week headlines caused me to write this haibun. Coming along in the 70’s was rough for women in the food business, unless you were wrote about society dinners, recipes, and that sort of thing. Working towards chefdom was hard and sexually grueling. It has gotten a lot better now. We will see how the culinary world reacts towards older women going after their chef recertification. I think the world is changing for the better in that respect. I’m going for my recertification in the spring. I am 66 years old and can still lug huge pots and weild sharp knives with the best of them!

Old School Chefs
Today I was perusing USA Today online. I was pleasantly surprised to see that chef Mario Batali was “stepping down” and stepping away from various functions as owner, CEO, host, and Food Network star due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Of course he apologized for all his badness. He will be back in a few months with his dignity intact and his money still flowing. The women he groped and made sexual innuendos towards will not be as lucky. Many of them lost jobs or quit due to his “misconduct”.  My first food related job (https://kanzensakura.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/me-too/) I walked away from due to the extreme misconduct of one of the owners.

As a woman, coming up in the kitchen business was hard, tough, and often times sexually insulting. I was groped, pushed into corners, comments made…the whole gamut while I was working for my culinary degree and ultimately, my reign as head chef in various restaurants. Eventually I walked away from all of it to finish my engineering degrees. I had comments made towards me then but not as badly as the male dominated food scene. While working on my engineering degrees, I did food styling work and food photography for one of the greatest newspapers in this country to pay for my education. I was not harassed or groped while working for that paper. I was treated with respect. A first pleasant surprise! But women still have to work three times as hard as men to prove themselves.

my knife chops quickly –
outside snow falls – another
man has fallen – I smile

Cherry trees blooming in December

Today Victoria is hosting the dVerse Poets Pub for their Meeting the Bar series. She is asking that we use symbolism. See if you can guess to what I am referring. and it is true. At the office park where my husband works, cherry trees are sporadically blooming. I have ended a free verse poem with a classic haiku.  I don’t know if this is symbolism or metaphor but it hit me this morning as I took my husband to work.

 

Shizuoka – December 2015 – public domain image

Cherry Trees Blooming in December
December –
bleak and freezing –
But cherry trees are blooming.
Cherry trees are bursting forth into bloom –
a few scattered blooms along the bare branches.
One blooms
and another
then another
Until the tree is covered in sporadic bits.
The blooms are holding on longer,
it seems.
The cold preserves them.
The cold encourages them.
In a few days
the blossoms will drop their petals
and float onto the snow.
But I will remember in January
the cherry trees blooming in December.

cherry trees blooming –
snow is falling – winter palls –
brave blossoms tell all

s

Me Too

For the prompt at Real Toads. It is about the “me too” movement, feminism, empowerment. Until the world undergoes a massive change of hearts and minds, this kind of assault will continue no matter how many come forward.  Thank you Sherry!

The Writing Group
1976:
The year of the American Buyshit-tennial.
It seemed everywhere there was stuff to buy to celebrate.
I had become aware of the Feminist Movement –
1973 it was.
I had joined forces with a Lesbian-Feminist
writing group.
We were intense –
We were angry –
We were strong –
e didn’t take any shit from anybody
Including each other.
I had taken a part-time job
during the summers at University.
It was at a small deli.
I loved that job.
After I had worked there a few weeks,
the owner began to rub himself against me
as I sliced meats and prepared party trays
as I began to pre-make sandwiches
and salads for the rush crunch.
I began to hate going in early
to start the day’s work.
I knew he would come behind the counter
to rub himself and to hoarsely whisper –
Feel how hard I am.
I tried to ignore him.
His wife would come in sometimes.
She watched as he did this.
She said nothing to him –
She ignored him.
One day I picked up the big knife
I used to cut open sealed rolls of
Meat and cheese.
I whipped around and I said to him –
Touch me again and I will cut your dick off.
He laughed.
I threw the knife down on the counter.
I left.
“Me too” doesn’t begin to cover the half of it.
I loved that job.
I learned a couple of years later,
his wife left him for another woman.
I told my writing group about the assaults.
As one they said,
We’ll come in one morning.
We’ll cut his dick off for you.
I laughed. It felt good.
I loved that job.
Years later I gained my chef’s certification.
I discovered the head chef was terrorizing
one of the waitresses.
I confronted him.
He laughed.
I went to the restaurant manager.
That day I became the head chef,
She fired his sorry ass.
I loved that job!

chef’s roll of knives – public domain image

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