Summing Up, by Claribel Alegria, translated by the author and Darwin J. Flakoll
In the sixty-three years
I have lived
some instants are electric:
the happiness of my feet
six hours in Machu Picchu
the buzzing of the telephone
while awaiting my mother’s death
the ten minutes it took
to lose my virginity
the hoarse voice
announcing the assassination
of Archbishop Romero
fifteen minutes in Delft
the first wail of my daughter
I don’t know how many years yearning
for the liberation of my people
certain immortal deaths
the eyes of that starving child
your eyes bathing me in love
one forget-me-not afternoon
the desire to mold myself
into a verse
a fleck of foam.
Summing Up, by Claribel Alegria, translated by the author and Darwin J. Flakoll
Secret Reading Matter, by Tadeusz Dąbrowski, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
I take the books left for free recycling mainly for their smell,
I stick my nose among the pages, into business not my own,
then stroll around someone else’s home,
peeping into their kitchen and their bedroom. But once
their smell has faded and the book’s imbued with mine,
I leave it at a bus stop or in a mailbox.
Busy nonstop with their crimes, their love lives,
good and evil, keeping an eye on the time
and the setting, the characters haven’t a clue how many books
they’re carrying away in their clothing
Please click here for more information on Tadeusz Dąbrowski.
Thanks as always to the lovely Alison McGhee for finding and sharing these poems.
Calling all faux-wannabe royals – this recipe which I found tucked away in Hello Magazine is an easy-to-make tasty little gem which according to the copy “conjures up memories of meals served in the popular TV period drama, Bridgerton!
- 1 small Yukon gold potato
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil1 large leek
- 10 medium cloves garlic, diced and divided
- 11/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
- Ground pepper to taste
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 6 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
- Add potato to a small pot of water and and bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer until tender about 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat add 3 tbs oil and add leeks and 6 cloves of garlic. Cook until leek is soft approximately 10 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, add remaining 3 tbs oil, shrimp and remaining garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes or until done.
- In a food processor, add leek and potato, coconut milk and puree.
- Pour into a medium saucepan over low heat and add red curry paste and ginger. Cook 2 minutes stirring often.Remove from heat.
- Pour into individual bowls and add chopped shrimp, add mango and cilantro to garnish.
Enjoy with a glass of bubbly!
A Secret Life, by Stephen Dunn
Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don’t say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or, you’ve just made love
and feel you’d rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you’re brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that’s unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say, or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you’d most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it’s like a small fire
in a clearing, it’s what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It’s why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who’ll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.
Wondrous, by Sarah Freligh
I’m driving home from school when the radio talk
turns to E.B. White, his birthday, and I exit
the here and now of the freeway at rush hour,
travel back into the past, where my mother is reading
to my sister and me the part about Charlotte laying her eggs
and dying, and though this is the fifth time Charlotte
has died, my mother is crying again, and we’re laughing
at her because we know nothing of loss and its sad math,
how every subtraction is exponential, how each grief
multiplies the one preceding it, how the author tried
seventeen times to record the words She died alone
without crying, seventeen takes and a short walk during
which he called himself ridiculous, a grown man crying
for a spider he’d spun out of the silk thread of invention —
wondrous how those words would come back and make
him cry, and, yes, wondrous to hear my mother’s voice
ten years after the day she died — the catch, the rasp,
the gathering up before she could say to us, I’m OK.
For more information on Sarah Freligh, please visit her website.
A big thanks to the wonderful Alison McGhee for curating and sharing these word gems.
I found this in Canadian Living Vegetarian and it’s delicious. For those of you who eat prawns, it’s an easy addition or switcheroo for tofu! This recipe is fast and easy and it heats up well the next day.
- 8 oz rice stick vermicelli
- 3 tablespoons sodium-reduced soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
- 1 1/2 cup drained and cubed Sunrise Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 sweet red pepper julienned
- 4 oz snow peas julienned
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanut (optional)
In large bowl, soak vermicelli in warm water until softened and separate, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar and 3/4 cup water; set aside.
In wok, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry cabbage, tofu, red pepper, snow peas, green onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper; stir-fry for 1 minute.
Stir in soy mixture; bring to boil. Stir in noodles, tossing to combine; stir-fry until tender, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts (if using).
You can check out the full recipe here.
Thanks Canadian Living for your fantastic test kitchen!
Possum Crossing, by Nikki Giovanni
Backing out the driveway
the car lights cast an eerie glow
in the morning fog centering
on movement in the rain slick street
Hitting brakes I anticipate a squirrel or a cat or sometimes
a little raccoon
I once braked for a blind little mole who try though he did
could not escape the cat toying with his life
Mother-to-be possum occasionally lopes home … being
naturally … slow her condition makes her even more ginger
We need a sign POSSUM CROSSING to warn coffee-gurgling
we share the streets with more than trucks and vans and
All birds being the living kin of dinosaurs
think themselves invincible and pay no heed
to the rolling wheels while they dine
on an unlucky rabbit
I hit brakes for the flutter of the lights hoping it’s not a deer
or a skunk or a groundhog
coffee splashes over the cup which I quickly put away from me
and into the empty passenger seat
I look …
relieved and exasperated …
to discover I have just missed a big wet leaf
struggling … to lift itself into the wind
For more information about Nikki Giovanni, please click here.
Thank you Alison.
Any Common Desolation, by Ellen Bass
can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves
and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world.
Thanks to Alison for sharing these gems with the world.
What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen
Wake up early, before the lights come on
in the houses on a street that was once
a farmer’s field at the edge of a marsh.
Wander from room to room, hoping to find
words that could be enough to keep the soul
alive, words that might be useful or kind
in a world that is more wasteful and cruel
every day. Remind us that we are
like grass that fades, fleeting clouds in the sky,
and then give us just one of those moments
when we were paying attention, when we gave
up everything to see the world in
a grain of sand or to behold
a rainbow in the sky, the heart
A big thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.
I’ve experimented with a few Pad Thai recipes and this one is simple, flavourful. The recipe is from a site called “Tastes Better From Scratch” that’s got loads of great recipes. I’ve made this a few times now and it’s been great each time. You can find a more detailed post here.
- ▢ 8 ounces flat rice noodles
- ▢ 3 Tablespoons oil
- ▢ 3 cloves garlic , minced
- ▢ 8 ounces uncooked shrimp, chicken, or extra-firm tofu , cut into small pieces
- ▢ 2 eggs
- ▢ 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- ▢ 1 red bell pepper , thinly sliced
- ▢ 3 green onions , chopped
- ▢ 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
- ▢ 2 limes
- ▢ 1/2 cup Fresh cilantro , chopped
For the Pad Thai sauce:
- ▢ 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
- ▢ 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- ▢ 5 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- ▢ 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar * see note
- ▢ 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce , or more, to taste
- ▢ 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter , optional
- Cook noodles according to package instructions, just until tender. Rinse under cold water.
- Mix the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat.
- Add the shrimp, chicken or tofu, garlic and bell pepper. The shrimp will cook quickly, about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until pink. If using chicken, cook until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes, flipping only once.
- Push everything to the side of the pan. Add a little more oil and add the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs, breaking them into small pieces with a spatula as they cook.
- Add noodles, sauce, bean sprouts and peanuts to the pan (reserving some peanuts for topping at the end). Toss everything to combine.
- Top with green onions, extra peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges. Serve immediately!