12 Degrees & Skiving

what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice

a story of perfect rice

And then we come to a story
of perfect rice
and how
when i was seventeen
with my parents and sister
i tasted perfect rice
at a breakfast table in Manila
a stopover in an indifferent city
jetlagged, culture shocked
the poverty of people
the human machine
populating our eyes

it was the penultimate day
a culmination
and a far cry from
our long haul journey
together as family
as four and as one
kitted with backpack tales,
hengestones and castles
postcards, foraging
fishermen and chips
treading ruins, bloodline
ley lines
chasing trains
defining calves
hikers tans and hostels
songs in bunks
sleeping cosy tea-soaked
and me
smoking for the first time
with wily cousins
Celtic twang safe, so safe
such privilege
in being asleep
in full-bellied freedom

blown in a day
into the slum city
from that hedgerow summer
into artillery, hard-face guards
straddling pocked streets and open sewers
a brace of drooping roosters tied by the leg
and the child mothers
gaunt and hunkered in humpies
against the flanks
of merchant banks and five star hotels

it bloomed within me the first time
a realisation my fortune
of where I was born,
and when,

and rice, that staple that defines
the line worldwide
between desperate hunger
and sustenance
in gratitude
was made perfect

nose and palate drew breath together
salt, garlic, oil
the tongue searched no more
amid the grains
in that moment
content with simplicity

in the years of kitchens since
I’ve searched to make
perfect rice
to recall those flavours

only now can I understand
that in wealth
the palate grows full, sluggish
that it isn’t the rice
but the teacher
a slight shift of technique
of awareness in living
of seeking beyond the sweet, sleepy self
of gratitude
of being

only then can one be ready
to accept a lesson
in making perfect rice

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 13.49.26





2 comments on “a story of perfect rice

  1. kimcannon16000days
    May 4, 2020

    Just a perfect poem. Beautiful.

    Sent from my iPhone


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This entry was posted on May 4, 2020 by in Poetry.

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