17 November 2010

Three Myths of Love

Have all your equipment and ingredients needed to flambé your dish ready before starting the process. Use an 80-proof (40% alcohol by volume) liquor for flambing. Liquors above 120-proof are highly flammable and considered dangerous when lit. Liquors that are of a lower proof run the risk of not igniting when held to the flame. Choose liquors that are complimentary to the food being cooked, such as fruit flavored brandies for fruits and desserts, and whiskey or cognac for meats. The food you are going to flambé must be warmed first, as cold food will cool down the hot liquor and it will not ignite. Heat the brandy or liquor in a saucepan, with high sides, just until bubbles begin to form around the edges (around 130º F or 54º C) before adding to the flambé pan (you will be able to see vapors rise from the liquid). Do not bring the liquor to a boil, as the liquor will burn off the alcohol, and it will not ignite. The boiling point of alcohol is 175º F (much lower than water). The liquor can also be heated in a microwave oven by heating 30 to 45 seconds in a microwave-proof dish at 100% power. Use a flambé pan, large skillet, or large chafing dish with rounded, deep sides and a long handle. If you are planning to flambé in front of your guests, light the dish at the table, but far away from guests and flammable objects. If you have a serving cart, now is the time to use it. Never pour liquor from a bottle into a pan that is near an open flame. The flame can follow the stream of alcohol into the bottle and cause it to explode. Always remove the pan with the hot liquor from the heat source before adding the liquor to avoid burning yourself. If the dish doesn't light, it's probably not hot enough. Once you add the liquor to the pan, do not delay lighting. You don't want the food to absorb the raw alcohol and retain a harsh flavor. Ignite with a long match (such as fireplace matches or a long barbecue lighter). Always ignite the fumes at the edge of the pan and not the liquid itself. Never lean over the dish or pan as you light the fumes. Let cook until flame disappears (at this point all alcohol has burned off). If you want to retain some of the alcohol flavor, cover flaming dish to extinguish flames or add additional wine or stock. Serve the dish as soon as the flames disappear. If you want the flames, but do not want the liquor in a dessert, soak sugar cubes in a flavored extract. Place the cubes around the perimeter of the dish and light. Also be sure to practice flambing before your guests come as you want to make sure that these steps are performed flawlessly, if you want to impress your guests.

Cut about four bacon slices into small pieces. Put it into the pot and put the pot onto medium heat. While the bacon is cooking, chop up one-half onion. After the bacon has cooked thoroughly remove it and save it for later. Place the onion into the same pot the bacon cooked in, allowing the bacon and onion flavors to mix. While the onion is cooking, cut into eights about eight medium-sized potatoes. When the onion has cooked to the point that it is clear, add the potatoes to the pot and add enough water to submerge all of the potatoes, as well as a good amount of salt for flavor. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, then mash with a mixer. While mashing, add one pint cream and the bacon. Serve warm with bread for dipping. When eating leftovers, be sure to heat up!

In a bowl, combine peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins and chocolate chips. Pour contents into a plastic bag. Shake and enjoy.

01 November 2010

Three times a day, I turned the shower up to an almost unbearable scald and stood there until every pipe in the building seemed to have run cold.

In the street, the persecution began. Not with words or gestures or staring eyes, but without them. I walked to class each day alone. The problem with maturity is that it only ever silences people until the elephant has left the room. I sit at a desk not large enough for me and know that the people behind me whispering and laughing aren't doing so for the teacher's sake. I try to focus instead on the book in front of me, but anytime I see "large" or "massive" I stir a bit in my seat. Now that class has begun, the whispers behind me are audible and I realize that my shirt had caught on the chair as I sat down, exposing my back like a target. They launch comment after comment, knowing each one will be a hit. I am the backside of the barn. I can't even read words that rhyme with fat. I want to reach over and pull my shirt down, or to ask the people behind me to be quiet, but I know I can't reach. I want more than anything to get up and leave--I can't pay attention, anyway--but I know I can't get up quietly, or leave unnoticed. I can't sneak out a side door, or even out of my seat. I can't stop hearing the whispers behind me. I can't understand what the professor is saying. I can't see any of the words on the page. The whispers, the professor, the page, they're all saying "fat, fat, fat!" And now I'm breathing hard and I know my face is turning red and I want to leave but the desk gets tighter the harder I breathe. I scratch at my neck and my chest and breathe harder. I look up to the ceiling and focus on the stipple. Each one of those bumps and protrusions is a sac of fat and I imagine myself stepping on them. I walk across this landscape with nothing but mounds of cellulite and fatty tissue, and I stomp on them until they burst. The fluid rolls out like a thick, white syrup and the more I stomp, the higher the fluid gets. It reaches my waist, but I wade through the shit and continue stomping the adipose pockets. Eventually it reaches my chin but I continue to stamp the floor, more violently now than when I'd begun. I take a huge breath as the viscous solution envelops the rest of my body and I stomp and stomp and stomp.

06 October 2010

"It was a clinging hug with all the desperation of a tether ball rope wrapping with quickening centripetal force around its pole."

Damarcus had always resented his sister Felicia for the way she had looked at him when they were younger. It was the day that they had moved into their new home that he held on to most dearly. He ran his fingers along the tin exterior, and climbed inside, marveling at the hole-free screen door that would keep out the bugs and at the small, rectangular window in the one bedroom. "I can jump up 'n down all the time, can't I?" he jumped and jumped and grinned until the pot fell off the stove and the dinner with it. "You dumbshit," Felicia yelled, "Momma's gonna be pissed when she gets home and there's nothing to eat!" It wasn't what she said, though, that hurt Damarcus. It was the way she looked at him--the same way their mom had looked at their dad.

29 September 2010


With brute force he reaches his hand deep into the earth. Down and down and down he digs, pulling his hand out occasionally to marvel at this rock or that bottlecap. Down and down and down he digs, searching for the center.

He loves roots.

04 September 2010


Frenetic-ley and somewhat afraid-ley, moving into the light just a little bit--the only one in the room uncomfortable in the light, not because of anything that the light is, but because of what the light shows. She steals the puzzled looks from others' faces and saves them in a box until she can fit them together.

It starts raining and she sits down to feel the ground.


I picked a flower for you
on my way home from the war
and I walked and I walked
with the flower in my hand
and you didn't notice it
so I left it on the floor.

22 April 2010

I Dream of You Coming Back Every Night Since the Morning You Left or Window in a Cheap Apartment Building

I was a hot mess
the morning you left
and the chill of the morning
crept in through the door
and the music was still playing
soft guitar
and piano
and heavy-handed metaphor
and I felt like I'd been there before
the déjà vu made me shiver
or was that a draft from the window?
I'll never know.

16 April 2010


I mean to say I am, I mean, to say I am, I mean to say I am man of woman of love of man and woman of man and woman and love of man and woman and I mean to say I am mean man to woman's means of love of man of man and woman and, say, woman to man's means, am I to say I mean I am man or merely means?

20 March 2010

Huck it All

The only way to leave Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with a sense of satisfaction is to know exactly what you are getting yourself into and then read it from cover to cover. Otherwise, the book seems to be ridden with shortcomings and oddities. The book is not perfect by any means. Twain would probably be the first to say that. But what it tries to do, it does well. It successfully navigates the tumultuous and treacherous path that a writer must take, that gap of water over rock and silt and mud where “you can't tell the shape of the river, and you can't see no distance. It got to be very late and still, and then along comes a steamboat up the river” (131). And just out through the fog the whole damned country is burning down so that all you hear are boat horns and screams masked with fife and drum. These sounds, though, can't be covered with triumphant music. They're sounds that drop through your body like a rock through water, breaking not just the meniscus but every layer they encounter until they make ripples in the marrow of your bones. You start shivering and a rivulet of sweat, disguised as a tear, beads on your bottom lip. That’s when you realize you’re about to miss the chance to do something remarkably different. Lucky for us, Twain, through Huck, knew just what he was doing: "I dived—and I aimed to find the bottom, too, for a thirty-foot wheel had got to go over me, and I wanted it to have plenty of room" (131).

03 February 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Left

Burning through life with a voracious mix of passions and an earnest compassion for those around him, he doesn't test the waters, he drinks them down and chases them with breathfuls of Northbird.

In a deep V-neck he hugs you, shakes your hand, pats your chest, wrestles the ball from your kung-fu grip, orders you a pizza, turns the light off and leaves his music on.

One mile later, two years after, three beers down, four bowls in, five assists, six points, seven rebounds, eight takedowns, nine knockouts, ten Japanese crab kills, twelve step program, sixteen chess pieces and though two are knights, only ours is Knight.

21 January 2010


In walks a beard in old, tattered clothes babbling about basketball and asking for the pipe: "Ya mind?" he says and picks up a lighter from the table, draws in a huge breath and, while exhaling, remarks: "The world is yours, man. You just have to believe in yourself." Minutes tick by as he tells detail after inane detail about stories that are too specific for anyone to relate to and all revolve around some vague, overarching theme to which he's alluded. Wanton in both focus and reaction, he hasn't finished talking when my roommate asks him to pass the piece. Slowly turning the knob and resistant to simple good-byes he steps out leaving us all wishing he'd stayed only a little longer.

18 January 2010


Machinery woke me up today. It didn't startle or jar me from some deep slumber; it slowly and painfully pulled me from sleep like a band-aid from a reluctant boy's knee. I looked outside and what was, a few short weeks ago, a house beside my apartment building is now a hole. They'd knocked it down already. That took about a day. Then they cleared the debris. That took about a day. Then they abandoned it for a couple of weeks, until today. Now a hole sits where a home once stood. It got me up, at least.

17 January 2010


It was grey and I woke to the sound of car tires lifting water from the road like marine vessels tearing through the tide. Sticky notes pervaded my bedside table and clothes conquered the floor. Bob Dylan told me that God was on my side, and my roommate got high. And I, six days short of twenty-two, thought of Odysseus: away for so many years on the raging oceans, seeing new things and finding himself in situations of peril he'd not imagined before. And I, laying alone in my bed, thought of a girl I know.