18 July 2012

Moveable Feasts

So, I'm eating meat again. I hadn't eaten it since my sixteenth birthday. Eight years without meat. Interestingly, when I was twenty-two, I wrote a great deal about food. I had to plumb all depths to create a number of poems in a short space of time. I could write about food forever.

I wrote about cooking a goose at Christmas. I wrote: I am a vegetarian./I dream of eating meat.//Bloodthirsty dreams of medieval feasts,/glazed game, veins clogged with dripping./But the butchery is over,/I wake and hunt for raspberries instead.

I wrote about my father and I discovering an Italian restaurant that actually serves Zabaglione, his favourite, the rare dish that can still tempt his wavering sweet tooth. I wrote: ...they finish dessert,/folding napkins into boats.//She watches him fix his old tooth back into its hole,/all gum clumsy,/while her folds of flesh birth her own sweet tooth.

I wrote about inheriting hollow legs, which I tried so hard to fill. I wrote: ...she sweats over molten sucrose,/pours it down into ankles, mixes in pectin,/boils it up to make a viscous blood jam./Overripe fig flesh, bruised parma-violet,/clings to the marrow-sucked bones.

Etc etc. Bla bla. Lots of poetic overindulgence, enough to make you sick.

These writings are now old. They are about past cannibalisms and developing tastes. And were written when I was on the cusp of saying yes to everything. Eating meat is saying yes. It's stopping restrictions. I won't buy or cook it myself most likely, but I will take the opportunity to say yes to flesh when it presents itself, when it acts as lubricant or superglue in lovely social situations. (Didn't mean for that to sound sexual, more metaphorical...)

A friend of mine said yes big-time. He said yes to leaving the country, teaching in Mexico City for a five week spell, then cycling across South America for seven months. He will also have to say yes to meat - steak and rich red wine will fuel him. Though in Mexico, tequila is only 20p a shot. Shout yes to that!

From www.iwishyouwerehereproject.com

He is very much a traveller, seeing and living all that he can. I came across a project called I Wish You Were Here. The project is all about postcards and a woman named Marianne. Marianne loves to travel and has done widely throughout her life. She now has terminal lung cancer. I don't want to dwell on this heart-wrenching illness (my mother has just taken part in a 'fun run' to raise funds for 'cancer victims' - a term I struggle with as the word 'victim' can never have positive connotations - and she will regale you with a very pink tale of horror and hilarity and a perma-tanned Zumba-dancing motivational monster named Bunny if you so wish to hear it), but it does mean that Marianne can no longer travel. So her daughter has asked the world to send Marianne postcards from wherever they hail from, with three things the sender loves about the place they live in scribbled on the back. This is an excellent idea. The daughter scans each and every postcard, front and back, so they can be seen on the website. If Marianne can't take herself out into the world, the world can jolly well come through her letter box.

From www.iwishyouwerehereproject.com
She lives in Hackney Wick, only a couple of streets away from where I previously lived. The flat where I wrote a great deal about food in fact. And though she lives in the same city as I do, and only a stone's throw from my old home, I will write her a postcard. The three things I love about living here are overhearing conversations between every kind of person you could ever imagine on the top deck of London buses, being able to get cans of ice cold Tyskie and Red Stripe for a £1 each from local corner shops at all hours, and how I can walk across the Heath and visit Keats's house in snow in winter. Of course there are a million other things, and I would say yes to all of them and more.


Chris said...

I've sent my postcard.......

anna said...

What were your three things?

Chris said...

Abbey, Waitrose, our woods