Zumwalt Poems Online

The Sassoon Collection

vi. The imperfect cook

I never ordered something to be perfect,
Though often I’ve asked for fiery spicy or without sugar as a small invasion
Of mastering cooking.

I never asked that your dishes
Might stand, unburnt, moist and savory
Pointing the way toward gastronomical peaks like a sign-post.

Oh yes, I know the way to the heart is easy.
We found the little menu of our passion
That all can share who walk the road of gourmands.
In wild and succulent feasting we stumbled;
And sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy senses.

But I’ve grown sated now. And you have lost
Your early-morning freshness of surprise
At creating new dishes.  You’ve learned to fear
The gloomy, stricken places in my stomach
And the occasional indigestion that haunts me later.

You made me fat; and I can still return
for seconds, the haven of my lonely pride:
But I am sworn to partake of variety
the blossom from invention and disparate exploration
And there shall be no follow-up in a failure;
Since, if we ate like beasts, the plates are clean
And I’ll not redirect portions of portions to pets under the table.

You dream endless assemblies of culinary masterpieces
Yet, in my heart, I dread average results
But, should you grow to hate my critiques, I would ask
No mercy from your feelings. I’d have you turn from the stove
And look me in the eyes, and laugh, and suggest take-out.

Then I should know, at least, that taste prevailed
Though flavor had died of wounds. And you could leave me
unfamished in an atmosphere of ongoing appetite.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011


Comments on: "The Sassoon Collection: vi. The imperfect cook" (11)

  1. You have wetted my appetite, excited my tasted buds. You made me desert my dish and you have poached my fish!


  2. Turning from the stove and laughing and suggesting take-out: how well this preserves relationships overstuffed with fancy efforts, schemes, plans, “trying too hard”s!!!!!


  3. You have zapped yourself and entertained all of us, all while building up the culinarian’s masterpiece of word dishes that steam with green chile and apple pie with a sprig of mint and just a small touch of white, white, swirled whip cream. Love your poetry


  4. What a great piece! I’m hungry, and I like the idea of relationships as cooking. To me it’s a warning not to overstuff yourself on one person too quickly. Great job!


  5. nice…there is great intimacy in cooking together…that act of creation and it can be a playful place as well…oh i am hungry now and may see what my wife has in mind and get her to think about cooking a bit tonight…smiles.


  6. Goodness Gracious! This has shocked me by its brilliance into saying something more genteel than I intended!


  7. Joe Labriola said:

    As a poet myself, I read a lot of blog poetry. This is one of the best so far. Very smooth, very strong character voice. Intensely passionate with a sprinkle of wry humor weaving through the emotional images. There’s a certain amount of just “getting it” as a writer. Great job relating that!


  8. satisfying my poetry appetite (~_~)


  9. Very inspiring! I enjoyed every line. 🙂


  10. i am always mystified as to the magic that poets weave…how do they do it? how do they pluck these images from the ether translating feeling to word? it is surreal to me, and i have great respect for this high art. thank you for wanting to read my scribbling and i shall continue to peruse your beautiful poems. this was a wonderful one to read before new year’s dinner. happy new year and continue…


  11. Loved every word, every phrase, Robin


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