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Unusual

“Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over.”
    ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, chapter 6

The brussels sprouts sneer from my plate
Green balls of shriveled disgust
That yet wrinkle my nose decades later
Though I always wash them down in glass after glass
Of orange pop
Never a sufficient mask
Since I have to eat what’s on the plate
It tastes awful only in my mind
She says
I sure am a difficult child
He never says a word

Often she brings up sex or the body
Always with that twisted face and tone of outraged disgust
Making plain that women do men and future generations a huge favor
Those rare occasions when they submit
To setting their revulsion aside
Or maybe drowning it in something stronger
Than orange pop

It isn’t always brussels sprouts
There’s oozy okra, grassy asparagus
I finally draw a line at raw pulpy tomatoes
Look, instead of this, I’ll just eat ketchup
The orange pop can stay in the fridge
On these blessed occasions
Though my lack of appreciativeness has been duly noted
He never says a word

The last time she bathed me
The accusation seemed a joke
I’m a growing kid I said
Everything grows
And how about that
It happens to float
She didn’t believe me and
With horror contorting her features
Sternly insisted from then on I must take a shower
I was used to doing things for myself anyway
As a big seven-year-old
There’s nothing in my independence to inspire pride
As at least part of me I’ve already understood
Is even more disgusting than brussels sprouts

Standing in the shower a few years later
Realizing what must’ve occurred to her that last bathtub evening
Three possibilities arise
Either her attitude of repugnance is unusual
Or my yearning inclinations are unusual
Or the divorce rate must be high out of male privation
Meanwhile
I know about divorce rates
I know I’m strange
And since when have my hunches been correct from every angle
More often than I can say
Life’s tough kid
But I’m used to envisioning what my heart craves
The rich Pennsylvania soil of my birth ever holds me
Not to mention freedom from unpalatable vegetables
Acceptance in the intolerant environment
Of the two sides of the tracks
Both backward
How about a rocket I can launch skyward over and over
Or a true friend
Imagination works wonders
If only in my mind

Yesterday evening when I phoned them from my kitchen
Perched atop White Rock
They asked what I was chopping
So I described the delicious mix of leaves before me
Dandelion greens, bok choy, curly parsley, dinosaur kale
And suggested they try fresh organics like these sometimes
Instead of frozen brussels sprouts
She said she never could stand brussels sprouts
He never said a word

Thanks always returns

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