Vegetables tempt me; the green rags, soaked in hot sauce, lie limp on my plate. How do they woo me? Like lovers in the lazy hue of Sunday morning half-sleep. Sex? It’s out of the question. Vegetables? Not a chance.
For a moment, the steamed chard becomes a luscious chocolate treat. With the tines of my fork, I twist its sagging arms into a mound of imaginary chocolate sauce. The red that oozes along its edge is strawberry sauce; the dots of sesame seeds at the helm are the perfect figures of tiny flakes of white chocolate. I lick my lips, wetting them for the dive. The tines set in, drawing up the pudding like a mound of chocolatey deliciousness that will tickle my tongue. I toss the unhelpful heap over the most eager of my taste buds. Then, I begin to chew…
Vegetables are still vegetables. I spit the tough, stringy leaves onto my plate. Even my imagination can’t help.
I tickle a little bit, a nudge and nuzzle. I kiss on open spaces of skin, where the morning is just beginning to reach. I convince myself he’s interested, deeply passionate about what we’re going to—
He rolls over and grumbles, pulling the biggest of the pillows with it and tucking it under his chin. I sit and stare at him a moment, slowly letting out a sigh. It really didn’t matter how much I tried; he’s not interested.
And when do you know? Vegetable or chocolate, sleeper or lover? It’s not just the common sense we’d like to think it is. How do I know a poem “fits” or a sentence does its job? I know because I write, I have written, and I have read. Somehow, I am content with the words: So be it.
Is it such a stretch to assume I take to writing with my intuition because it does me no good with vegetables and boys? It’s a haven for me, a shelter in unbearable storms and foreign places. It’s a surety, a breath of fresh air; it is a place I can finally be myself.
Do you think it strange that I scribble when I’m mad, when I’m angry, when I’m overjoyed? Verdicts by intellect have done nothing for me; I live by the spirit and the soul. And where their graceful intuition is the strongest, I go.
But I do not stay huddled in my cave. The warmth is comforting, it is true. The light is dim; I do not need to see much more than myself, to know I am alive and well. But woven with that intuition is the need for more than myself, however painful its exploration is. So I wander out of that cave, that hut, that modest home every so often. But I do it, more often than not, with the crutch of words.
When I am sick and misunderstood; when I am confronted with conflict and angers unbearable, I retreat to the pen. Carrying it back to the mire, I offer what I can: voices in words, ideas in language, syllables that resound in song. I hope to please, to convince, to share, to open. And sometimes it works; sometimes it does not.
Mostly, vegetables will always be vegetables. And yes, the sleepy mornings will remain as they have since the beginning. Except—
One day, when it is least expected, chocolate will appear. You can taste it; you can smell it. Before long, you’ve forgotten they once were vegetables moping on your plate. And then, in the smallest light of hope, a Sunday morning kiss will be returned, and a hug, and—
Today, I eat my collard greens. Today is Friday; there is no Sunday to expect tomorrow. But one day there will be. And I will be there with my words, paltry and plain. I can only hope they stir you enough to bring you back home with me. This home of mine, however meager, is too big for only me.
My words are more than descriptions of love; they are the very capricious and ineluctable emotion itself.