Cafe Royal 06/08/2018

This is a poem I wrote while I was working on my PhD in Fine Arts. I am re-posting it here today with revisions. Why? Because I have been deeply depressed and this poem suits my mood. This poem is part of my Dorian Gray series, written along with a thesis about Oscar Wilde and his times.

Cafe Royal 06/08/2018
“…your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” ― Anthony Bourdain
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”  – Oscar Wilde

The third cafe mocha of the morning,
the young man with the antique face
put down his cup and stared at the handsome waiters.
The Café Royal always had the most…delicious waiters.
His eye was arrested by one of the waiters
taking an absinthe to someone –
It was 11:00 am in the morning.
Surely too early for absinthe.
He spotted her.
At the table alone, grief in every inch of her body
She put down the newspaper –
Lowering it down slowly as if,
as if it were a baby or a mortally ill cat.
The waiter flamed the absinthe for her.
He said something to her.
She raised her eyes to him and then lowered them.
Picking up the absinthe,
Picking up the newspaper.
The young man with the antique face
continued to stare at her until
she looked up and saw him.
For once he was ashamed of his actions.
He stood and walked to her table.
She looked at him from head to toe
and said
Nothing.
She lowered her face again and
one of the gorgeous waiters came
with another absinthe.
Don’t, he spoke. Please don’t.
He put his hand lightly on her wrist.
I know grief he said. I know pain of loss
and heartbreak. I’ve watched my friends dying
One.
By.
One.
She put her head down and began to read the paper again.
Upside down he read:
“Anthony Bourdain, 61, found dead by suicide”
For once he was almost human.
For once he almost paid for her drinks and walked away.
Dorian Gray sighed. What the hell,
One only lives forever.
He sat down at the table and looked into her eyes.


Reeve Darney as Dorian Grey in Penny Dreadful

 

 

Forgiveness

The Poets United Mid-week motif:  Forgiveness

Forgiveness
“The darkness of death is like the evening twilight; it makes all objects appear more lovely to the dying.” –
Jean Paul

As I take my daily walk I ask questions
in the silence of myself.
My footsteps are almost silent,
my breathing regular and my heartbeat rhythmic.
The wind is a brief breath
and the sunlight is beginning to get thin,
losing weight as the season progresses.
Can I forgive the leaves for dying,
for falling softly to the ground?
Can I forgive myself,
my mother dying, her faint breaths stopping…
just stopping.
Can I ever forgive you hanging yourself,
for the violence of your death,
for the thinking yourself unworthy to live
any longer?
For the grief you held in yourself,
for the sadness of your every day?
I stop in the midst of my walk
and look up at the sky,
like a river between the trees.
I stand and watch the leaves falling
one
by
one.
Will I ever forgive?
I will throw no stones into that river,
silently flowing overhead.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

The Dark Side

For Poets United mid-week motif – the food we eat. For dVerse Poets, Open Link Night. Sorry for the long ass poem. When it comes to cheffing and cooking, I have diarrhea of the mouth.  As an aside, I am 4’10” and weigh 95 lbs.  When I was cheffing, I weighed 80 pounds.  This is for Jeff, Tony, and Jose.  Wish you were here.

The Dark Side
“And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees” Paul Simon, American Tune

I walked out of the restaurant forever –
my knife roll in my hand.
I was burned out, drunk out, coked out.
I worked 14 – 16 hours a day, six days a week like many a chef.
My body was old before its time –
from standing long hours,
from lifting heavy stock pots, and sides of beef,
from putting up with bullshit from
a lot of male owners, waiters, lower chefs.
Every day in America at least one restaurant worker
commits suicide – I lost close three friends in three months
in 2018 to suicide – two by hanging,
one by purposeful drug overdose.
The food comes out to you all clean and arranged on a plate,
put down by a polite runner or waiter.
You don’t know the chef who prepared it.
You forget there is a human behind the food.
People who work in restaurants often do not
fit into Corporate America, Mid-America,
Family America.
Restaurants are like families – some
are totally dysfunctional, there is abuse, there is substance abuse.
Others are well organized and run like clocks,
some are supportive and kind.
I attempted suicide twice.
I finally bottomed out and got myself
to a 12 Step Meeting.
After being out of the industry for 25 years
I finally felt safe enough to volunteer
at a soup kitchen and food bank –
as one of their three cooks.
I am finally talking and writing about being a chef.
I am writing about my life as a chef –
before and after sobriety.
35 years drug free and sober.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Stepping into Darkness

For Laura Bloomsbury’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub – Making Much of Madness. Most of you know I have been grieving the deaths of my mother and two friends who committed suicide last June.This is a poem I wrote earlier and have taken it and revamped it. The suicide in this poem is the late great chef, Anthony Bourdain. a good friend. Graphic Suicide Verbiage in Poem.

Stepping Into Darkness
“I know, too, that death is the only god who comes when you call.” ― Roger Zelazny, Frost & Fire

No one knew his thoughts
as he stepped off the edge of the tub
and fell into infinity,
the tie around his neck,
his legs kicking,
the breath being cut off from his heart and brain,
his last thought as his heart lurched and stopped –
*you can keep my things, they’ve come to take me home.
It had been building through the years –
Depression deepening,
The spaces between pure laughter
and love of life widening.
You could see it building in his eyes.
One day, he did it.
He ripped off a tie from the hanger in his closet.
He tied it around his neck
And then to the shower rod –
you can keep my things, they’ve come to take me home.

* line from Solsbury Hill

WE CAN ALL HELP PREVENT SUICIDE. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255

Mermaid Tears

For the Prosery prompt at dVerse This week the line is “you will love again the stranger who was your self” from Derek Walcott’s poem Love after Love. Maximum of 144 words.  Mermaid Tears is another name for sea glass.

 

Mermaid Tears
“Even when I’m dead, I’ll swim through the Earth, like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.” – Jeffrey McDaniel

Her lover of many years had died, leaving her alone. Her grief overwhelmed her. One of her friends told her, trying to comfort her that “you will love again the stranger who was yourself”.  She looked at the basket on the cocktail table containing the sea glass they had collected together. Putting the basket into her car, she took it to the beach. She walked in the waves sowing the sea glass again for others to find. Sitting on the beach she cried dry tears. At last she arose and walked into the waves. She kept walking until she could no longer feel the bottom. Rolling over she gazed at the moon. She allowed herself to sink into the depths, the first piece of sea glass they had found together in her mouth.

 I

Haibun: June 25th

Haibun: June 25th
“It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown

Today would have been Tony Bourdain’s 63rd birthday. But he was dead by his own hand, hanging himself in a French bathroom. But today was a day of celebration. declared by his two closest friend – Eric Ripert and Jose Andres. So I am celebrating it in true fashion. I went to Waffle House and had a pecan waffle. This was introduced to him by Charleston chef Sean Brock. I then went to volunteer at the local food bank and soup kitchen where I have been putting in time cooking for several years. Most people do not know Tony volunteered a lot of his time – teaching, cooking, sorting foodstuff. He encouraged the lower echelons of the kitchen – dishwashers and was their most fierce advocate. After which I went home and began preparing our meal for the night – pommes frites in duck fat, steak au poivre, ceasar salad with an appetizer of uni on toast. His favorite meals seemed to be at someone’s home among the residents of the city or among the restaurant workers. So I lift a beer to you Tony. Happy birthday. You left behind many of us who knew you and loved you, although we couldn’t save you.
birthday celebrant –
another year without you –
here but sadly absent

 

Although this is from Waking Ned Devine, it is one of my favorite songs, sung at my grandfather’s funeral as his casket was taken out of the church.

#Bourdain Day

 

Too Many Tears

For Bjorn’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub – Proesy. I don’t know if I did this correctly. I don’t do fictional prose but I tried.  I don’t know if I care for this fictional form.


Too Many Tears

“Hey! If we can solve any problem, why do we lose so many tears” – Paul Young, Everytime you go away

You set off to parts unknown to charm us. You gave us yourself in limited doses. We traveled behind you and laughed, were horrified, were sobered to tears or shook our heads at our own foibles.

We do not know what you heard – what called you to your death. When far away an interrupted cry spoke to you out of the darkness and in its stopping, starting, stopping and starting again it finally called your name. We cannot know the sobs felt only in your chest or puzzles in your brain or the grief felt only in your soul. we knew your smile, your laughter, your wise words, your compassion. But did we really know you?  We only know we heard your silence as you hung there quiet and aloof.  We only knew the end of the story – the big surprise of the year.

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