consuelacooks

cooking, poetry, and unapologetic intense moments in a life

Category: Memphis

Coke cans and Swiss cake rolls

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When I was six I decided to run.
So I made a plan  for a decent getaway.
Saint Peter’s uniform was really more of a jumper.
A plaid v stemming from my waist and covering my shoulders.
I had not yet mastered buttons,so no undershirt was applied.
I could not reach the sock drawer, and did not yet
know how to tie more than one criss-cross
So shoes were moot too, I was sure.
I retrieved a hefty bag from under the sink,
and kissed each stuffed animal as I plunged them into the plastic.
I went to the soda drawer, figuring I would need at least a six pack
I had miles to go after all, and a new life to start.
It was heavy, and I knew it. I packed light after that–
only pringles and some swiss cake rolls.

It was a sad thought, leaving everyhting I’d ever known,
But we are all writing our own book, and I knew
I couldn’t take this for much longer.
Who could?

I said goodbye to my Mother’s door. I would miss her.
I could hear him snoring off the Scotch, still.
I thought of Christmas coming, and maybe I would miss presents.
I welled up at this, but knew I had to follow through.

Into the night I went. No shoes, no shirt, and a Catholic School jumper.
My hefty bag of supplies to carry me into the new world.
I stepped out into the hot Ybor night, brave.
The humidity licked my face, reminding me of the coming sunrise.

It must have been a couple of hours before Mother found me sleeping
a street over, in a neighbor’s convertible. I had stopped to
momentarily rest, seeing the plush back seat.
My bag ripped when I had to start dragging it, only a few houses away from my own
and gave my mom the trail of stuffed animals, coke cans, and swiss cake rolls
that led her to my oasis.

I didn’t know how many more hefty bags I would fill by 44.
I didn’t know how welcoming a plush oasis felt.
words wash welts and whelping clean away.
And Summer makes it all new again in Memphis.

 

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May, 2018

you always loved, despite the art
the impetuous
the impoverished
loved the submissive, smaller, quieter version

made regular retreats to holy landings
awash with dolls, records, bad dinners, and holocaust
replete with sanitizer, blood, spinal fluid, and remorse

we couldn’t find that signal
looking, days, mornings, fire, from behind
in crevasses, tantrums, fantasies and heroic feats
of cosplay she-roes, of mystical magical beasts.

You went down slow, imperceptible.
Carrying the porous bones through sand
wishing them lighter, but more important
wanting a simpler story
for us, you said.

catcalls and dance halls,
you took me in ecstatic arms
and showed me what forbidden was
in the mist of the midst of
that ocean sadness, that Mack truck of

fuck, I can’t.
I need to fly, you know?
I won’t endure the thumb
or the girl boy her they him madness

love me, and see my dark rooms
all I ask, is twenty seconds of this
thirty or more, and I’m done
whisper your prophecy so only I will hear.

And say my name, sweet, sweet one.
Sing it like a howling Memphis

July heat.

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Tami Sawyer said

memphis-statues-come-downTami Sawyer said

So we start again.
Nathan and Jefferson came down.
The newspaper said,
“Mayor Strickland, City Council and city attorneys deserve much credit for their years of patient persistence.”

(A pause to let it sink in who was credited for the win)

Tami Sawyer said,
“–they felt they were superior to black people and their treatment of black people was odious at best, no matter what Nathan Bedford Forrest did when he got dementia. Don’t Give A fuck, and you can print that. ”

(A pause to let it sink in who was responsible for this win)

And before they came down, she said,
“I don’t care what happens to them. If you pull them down and they turn to dust, I’m sorry. People want me to be politically correct about it, but I do not care as long as they no longer stand in the city of Memphis.”

(A pause for you to consider who was responsible for the longevity of these statues casting shadows on children)

It turns out we don’t need a Delorean for time travel
just a flight delay, a scent on midday breeze.
A plush pillow with a thread bare
a freckled kid with an AR-15
a random Memphis flurry on a cold morning
looking into the shooter’s den at the Lorraine
staring at the beautiful barista who looks like Erykah Badu
dancing with family at a night club, then praying for your life

Let’s get back to wildness in this year.
Talking back, taking back, taking the opportunity cry out against
a hooded man who calls hismself supreme, forgetting his pseudoscience
when he unknowingly sings that Marvin Gaye song
to his silenced manicured fearful Stepford wife
before performing the fornication that he believes will spawn
the dominant race.

Let’s wear defiance like a wound that when opened strikes the bigots blind
paint Memphis like Kehinde Wiley would
Languorous, wealthy in fabrics, grace
Melanin in swirls, libidinous in words, grace
Let our lens be warped for hope
we are the new world.

You, poets, write a man, gynic, maverick, fertile and bursting
You, poets, echo a woman, jock, gallant, resolute, full with new life
You, workers, create a tactile masterpiece of rage,
then keep it from those who want it, need it.
You, Queers and Queens, parade your music of the spheres,
teach us your bloom, your elegance
You Spartans, sharpen your swords, and your pens. It’s time.
You, students, walk out and let them know you are done
being fucking afraid to learn

We mix our bloods in our babies making rainbows,
both antidote, chemical warfare
We, two-fisted, pound our history into the backs of those
who, head-hidden, die off like chanting raptors
ripe for the welcoming rebirth of earth that will only remember them
as fertilizer for hydrangeas.

The cynics say there is an art to stocking the cache.
Reaping repose and required wealth with a click.
Substituting stuff for status, serving rapacity before the homeless
Serving rapacity before those who are differing shades
of brown, black, cocoa, tawny, fawn, ginger, amber
Before those who love differently, learn differently, worship differently
Forgetting mouths, hands, bodies, that serve,
forgetting that they are strong,
forgetting the danger of
thier inherent and righteous brilliance.

You fill your mouths, coffers; the artists in avarice.
You have no idea what is coming.

The bridge still stands, majestic.
The statues are coming down, Delta town.
The poets still go to the theatre, the welfare, the doctor, and the judge
and we sing a song of
judicious enchantment.
A song of glory now,
and surely glory to come.

 

twenty and six

Zooming through some hill-town we were invincible
dirty Berkshire kids loving company who could talk Shakespeare,
love, loss, and the best dance music.

Zooming in that emergency room we knew it was coming
the inevitable snip rendering an absence
it created space, though. We all knew it would.

A righteous anger blanketed us in some Maine town.
You had sealed that deal with a tequila shot
a kiss, a flower, and a promise.

We played football in the snow.
We built fires.
On time went, and distance crowded into some car and went.

Winter’s tale-like years passed.
A call, a drive, a union, warriors, changing everything
and we were Southern, perfect and thick in cats.

Delicious pines dotted days of wars,
paintings of memories, and ice storms
that tree divided your house, brought love in three to my flat.

But the cats fought.
The neighbors complained.
And again, snip snip went my brain.

In the midst, some cousin made love to me
laughing, blatantly, unapologetic-ally rife
with mischief, then roses.

Again, space was made, we filled it with birthdays
walks and talks and locks on doors
that only we held keys to.

We all went to school
We sat in cafes, singing loud
We wept, fumed, sighed and lived wide.

I fell off the world awhile
There was too much escaping and I couldn’t find my feet
I lost play, I lost love, I lost mirrors and beauty

When the heartbeat ceased a moment
I saw the three of us in that amphitheatre
40 kids battling at agincort

I wasn’t done, I guess.
We all weren’t.
There are still records to listen to.

Zooming to Memphis
we came to the compound
we played, talked a little

I saw more cats, more fire
the creations, sublime, you two molded
in observation and questions- your best art.

We had a meal again.
Again, it was all shifting for me.
My feet were hazy, nearly gone, but the shadow was all.

The sunset reminded me we were young.
And so it was.
It was all right.

At least it was for me.
There’s an equal elegance to sadness, joy.
I’ve always known. I had to admit it, though.

It’s raining in Memphis,
so don’t zoom.
Take the road easy and make sure to breathe.

You all know I’m here, same as it ever was.
Still short, still unsure, still the worker bee.
Still pushing, shoving, defiant and scared, but

My feet are in full view.

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Flurry, Memphis 2018

So we start again.
It turns out we don’t need a Delorean for time travel
Just a flight delay, or a scent on a midday breeze.
A plush pillow with a thread bare
or a random Memphis flurry on a cold morning
(Brings me back to laughing in the Berkshires
in some house in some hill town
recovering from some deviant switchback
and becoming pure again.)

Let’s get back to wildness in this year.
Talking back, taking back,
and wearing defiance like a leopard-print thong.
We are like the women in Mucha,
Languorous, wealthy in fabrics, grace
Sex in swirls, libidinous in our words
Our lens is warped for hope
we are the new world.

We write a man, gynic, fertile and bursting
We write a woman, jock, gallant, resolute
We mix our bloods in our babies making rainbows
We, two-fisted, pound our history into the backs of those
who, head-hidden, die off like white-hooded raptors
ripe for the welcoming rebirth of earth that will only remember them
as fertilizer for hydrangeas.

We close our eyes and let go.

The cynics say there is an art to stocking the cache.
Reaping repose and required wealth with a click.
Substituting stuff for status, serving rapacity before the homeless
Filling mouths, coffers; the artists in avarice.

The bridge still stands, majestic.
The statues are coming down, Delta town.
The rock stars still go to the theatre, and we sing a song of
judicious enchantment.

A search for soul, worship and welcomed weakness in the new year.

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12:06 AM, Irma, Fire and Verona.

It’s 12:06 Am and there are quiet hours at Gatito Vito’s salon except
there is no quiet to be had, but vague ethnicity and troubled
dreamers wondering where supper is next week and where the
next handshake will emerge in this orange drowned town north of Mississip-

And fire burns and ash churns and so many foxes and hawks find silence
in cubbyholes and sand traps made for scorpions but now they house
refugees of fur and far and hope and wet and the new world in spades
and Trump(s) and storms, cataclysms, conundrums, holes of comfort.

There are not enough water bottles to sell, enough aid, not enough
purifiers, too many diapers to hold feces, piss of fleeing babes,
not enough gas to fuel the flying multitudes. It is dangerous, you know.
The storm will come, you know. It is here. IT IS PRESENT. It’s now the

bedfellow you needed to look in the eye, only the electric is gone and
the water is red with cruiser escapes filmed for the pleasure of
so many internet wanderers, and they know their time is limited, so
precious this time they have to bear witness to it all, bone and marrow,

and we write each others’ books, we do. Like some kind of Victorian
journalist, bearded and boheme. Finding the chinks, the holes. and
calling it all for scandal. It’s a business, these days, the scandal.
it’s all we can do to keep up, to sleep and strum, to remain upright and

here we are, at the cusp of eternity wondering who we can be in the wake of it
all, is all, is some, and we love each other don’t we? Don’t we? Or rather yet,
Do we hope for the moment we understand melody again? Do we pine to wake
and know that we have become enough, and the screen is safe to close?

Your body surges with the cancer, looking for a sweet spot, and you, warrior, let it
know the eye is near, and it will have to stay the interest until Tuesday. You
smooth tiny Evan’s hair with promise as you board windows, knowing the wind
cannot rival this year, this trial, this manifest of scars. It is a day, a week of

wheat from chafe, light from stark, wonder from womb, and tender lullabies.

 

Today there was Tea

Today there was tea.
Some lavender, a few magnolia blooms, a siren and a song of sorrow.
It steeped with fever, waiting for the moment
It slipped into the cup, subtly steaming
with fog of uncertainty, ultramarine
It blinded her as she sipped,
accompanied by the Memphis Sun.

This day curled, doleful in her dressed lap
Purred with necessity, yawned with thirst
Blinked in the same Sunbeam,
Forgetting the smell of Maine Solstice
the taste of  Midsummer madness in the barn.

She drank it down, only wincing a bit
at the scattershot sensation happening inside
her petite mouth.
Brown, red, and smooth,
The dregs spelled
SYMPHONY.
and
SERVICE.

Startled, she bounced slightly, purging her lap of her familiar.
She was left with only the Sunbeam,
this Delphic message,
and the aftertaste of sorrow, tart, like Ohio Blackberries.

Her lap, still warm with need of rain.
Cooled by the Four O’Clock Tennessee breeze.

 

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Painting by Rob Hefferan

 

How many synonyms are there for affection?

On a Saturday morning, effortless
We were 18 year-old forty somethings.
unmistakable giggles
stories of bloodsheds and watersheds
bedheads, retreads, some reds and blues and my God
the unsaid, the apparent, the ready the resonance.
The path of the empath, the love swelling scenes of midnights and
florida forlorn kids, pounding those warrior days with
what it took to keep breathing amidst the certain uncertainties that
left us breathless, those crazy albatross pains
the colic of adolescence, the way we wove
our secrets into each day
and let them set with humid sun, burning in
shades of city and wreck.

Our sides were burning with want, all of us.
All we knew was heat and water, spaceships and tree swings.
We were bred for this. This. This
shade of indigo. some desire of the unmapped, the
Chartless seduction submerged in the
sweetest trust of childhood playfellows
now with the most minute of wrinkle lines.
the new breath of honey
A lexis of kisses, lost loves,
car payments and some self-examination:
really the only true distance, you know?
I can’t explain the pull, I don’t need to.
The propulsion, palpable, makes it easy.
The conversation, easier.
The same eyes, mouth, and laugh
The history of us, the heart journey to Mercury,
Mars, Africa, Eden, Abyss of
trying to figure the fucking thing out.
the solid ground under our feet we can stand on
hearing a familiar voice, (one I adore)
without losing  balance
without trying to qualify why we find it comfortable to stand still.
why it’s enough to understand the shape of your hand
and remember it in mine while singing together
on some stage at 16 feeling our feet under us, even then.
Even then, even now, the ease is all.
The curiosity is filling the cat.
Willing travel, and a feeling of flutters.
A thought of a what-if-butterfly kiss
a hand solidly resting on the low of my back.
a slow dance in some music hall, or a walk in the rain.
or maybe, just a hunt of Memphis Town, and a friendly tour guide.
I really don’t have any idea what this urge is.
I’m not going to question. I’m not going to shove it down.

The clearest expectation for us all now is to stay alive until we don’t, and find each others’ eyes. We find the hand and hold it tight for dear life, because by God, it’s time. We laugh and eat days and nights, and sing songs loud.

All else is time, and all is all.
And it’s short, you know?
how we touch, how we hide, where we can get to, and where we are to go.
the thing is, mostly of most,
to admire someone and wish them with you
is to see the underside of the Gods.
The places they secret away for the most amorous and best mortals
The ones who will carry on the work of
loving like they did, the Gods,
The demigods. The deities, The Titans, the giants, and the poets.
With Athenian chastity,
The patience of Daphnis and Chloe, waiting for the storm, wishing to be whole
Writing us, sans plot
Charting the path with Artemis-like precision,
(Catch and release, catch and release)
We imagine the Aphrodite in us, sweet friend.
Thirty years seem to speak volumes in the silence.

Or perhaps just a day, a breath of what it feels to be home.
laying on that stage.
staring up, looking at our broken lights,
wishing we were more in control of our life, our bodies
wishing for a slower dance, another field trip
another bus ride, another chance to sing songs
in the chorus room at lunch.

Maybe we are just laying on the stage again.
Humming songs in seraphic harmony
Getting those goosebumps we did
When we knew that our sounds,
mine and yours,
made us more immortal than any God
more beautiful than a Magnolia,
bursting in wet bloom.
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In no particular order, you are constructed.

I placed your thought next to me.
nestled it in tight
fed it fondness, gave it coffee
worried when it got the sniffles
mourned when it faded into vapor and left.

I played your rock and roll loud
All night, all day it played
(as not to wake the newly wed neighbors from the child making practices above I pumped it likewise into my ears with silky headphones of purpose whilst the ritual pounded on)
It didn’t conjure. You never appeared.

I traded in those tired headphones for a sweet bowl of slippery gelato
Hazelnut, Drizzled with caramel.
at nine exactly, as the prophecy decreed it slid through my delta
down the long throat. Resting deep in my belly, as foretold.
bringing the requisite goosebumps,
it tasted of Boats, firelight and sunburn
but I couldn’t find your smell. Couldn’t savor your palm.
couldn’t place the tang, recognizable, of you after a day in the garden.
There was only a shiver, slight, and the sticky sensation of want.

I went to the top of the precipice and stood,
Moxie on that temple floor
I brought you white peaches and peppery biscuits.
I peeled off my dress and made offering
covering the freckles in Tennessee dirt to show you

I. Just. Can’t. Go.
My hands were shaking, by God they were.
But I needed you to see. So I waited for the thunder.
It took three days and nights, but I heard a distant boom boom.
I had eaten your fruit, spread it on those biscuits
and buried myself a foot deep in the ground by then.

So I brushed off. Knowing the revelation was not far.
Not so far from now.
Hope has fucking feathers, and a bird in the hand can be a dirty choice
without proper equipment so
Let me bate from your wrist, let me wrap it up: your hope,
and send it to the multitudes
Count freckles, itemize, name each and wander to Afric. Egypt. Abyss.

Let us be quiet and count the inspirations.

Take a walk, tell secrets, and wish for rain.

 

I would love to, OR, how we might behold.

III
a guitar pick and a romp for the black cat
3 bands later it was still moving and
I could feel the calm start to seep in
We can rest here

(and the drummer’s mouth is open because he’s pounding, the guitar player broke his third string, the microphone is just receiving screams because after so many songs what is there to do but scream)

I can’t hear anything
and planets surge forward
in this two-horse town of trees
and all those barren bodies look in frenzy for the tonight in the ones next to them, across from them, upstairs from them, down the bar…
but the pounding is still ferocious
and how can they ignore
oh the best
part
when all the drinks bought make the guys on stage a little reckless and
shit gets louder, even
and each word is a prayer said over
sinewy arms, ringed fingers, nicotine lips…

And that fateful moment
“Thank you, Goodnight”
the white light blast our eyes
making women wish waterproof was for real
making stagger a zip code
making cabs chariots
making the cold night a question mark for the leftover
the lonely
the lascivious

the cold slaps me
and on nights like last night
I start running fast into the black
into the cold
splitting it in two
with The Queen is Dead across my chest
just to feel the blood pound into my face

I know it’ll come again because
the Pour house is there, the Lincoln there
and so many to see
and so many nights to
welcome
this breakneck, lovely cold splitting Midnight.

(when we replace the thought of us with birds, and release us into clouds that eat us whole, spitting out the seeds)
There’s a novelty to breathing
Held fast tight fat pockets grasping inside hand reaching
Angelwhere.
I wished you would hold me
Just for seconds of course
I can’t stay the course
I gotta bang-bang all over my psyche and talk future like
Wanting for ambition to take hold
Waiting for the wings to melt
I gotta slam into dem bones I see
In my dreams, vain, glorious
Wanting for a darker knight, a darker fight
A false fevering fleshed out soldier
Wanting more of that light, six shooters bright
But it just gets colder
Those sheets just get colder,
that sunbeam where you were gets colder.
That hotel room, that coffee those moments
Like smoke, get colder
A double A
double offering, the sky,  sucked us right in.
Changeling children and
Madly doting lovers reminded me that I could laugh.
For extra comfort I held my own hand.
And the blue up high had a circling bird
Tethered to Jehovah and the angels it flew circle wise into darker
Tree ridden areas for rest.
And I got a letter from Jehovah today.
Those chain letters that
piece together all of the unknowns

II
Whether I be chicken, deviant, cartoon mug or frost
I am shrouded in hair, black
guarded by feet, convex
healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same summer and wisher
I can’t help but think that those rocks in
Virginia’s pockets each had a weight of their own
One, four pounds, one twenty
Each girded in express melancholy

I
Feel ten degrees warmer thinking of you
Gentility in approach
Fingers on the underside of my chin
Hands grasping lower back for fear of slipping
Perspiration lining the runway of spine and hip
Each freckle accounted for
Triple Decker sunshine candy girl has five feet
Of surging words for apathetic ears
I miss that room where boys dance on heads,
girls shake words from a stone
Jesus freaks with crayons pattern stigmatic guitar rifts
And Queen of nightlife moves through the room like some silver
Beauty ghost with eyes that stop trains
And hands that can hold a child with no fear
So yeah, I’ll spout them, three and with heart
I’ve run out of what calms the race, so we’ll see if
Grass will grow on faster ground
On hands made of war, and breath composed of brown eyes, wandering
Consumption just doesn’t work, but I keep it up despite
Monster premonitions and tighter belts

Angel come, come and fit fever on your wing
Angel run your hand through my eyes and pull out the softer girl
With hair of silk
thighs of green

thoughts of pounding hooves.

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