jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


Garlic is blistering in the saute pan while I am butchering a tomato. I am cutting out its heart and thinking about the size of the wounds we create. Seeds and slimy guts are spilling out and I know it is good to be reminded of the depth of cuts as I slice the fruit and make it show me its insides.

The tomato is slid into the pan. Now I am dicing artichoke hearts and remembering the oracle that is Myers-Briggs, which says once he discovers I am not perfect his disappointment will be a profound, obstreperous obstacle. And that despite how tender I try to be, what I do to tender grace, I am at core a hard dark seed.

"Your ego is writing a check your body can't cash" and when heat is applied the tomatoes release their liquid, the artichokes turn to a soft, sweet mush that will linger in my mouth long after dinner ends. Add the chicken I pay someone else to skin and cook and chop for me.

Pour this over linguine, and take it to the window. Early mosquitos are batting against the glass, it is still raining hard, now it's time to eat and think about the races I ran today with a calculator, the jockeying of egos and papers and timelines, the stretching of patience and resources and time, and the run I did not get to have today, the tangible feet on asphalt, the struggle for oxygen, the firings in every muscle, and know there will be tomorrow.


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