Kitchen

Our chef is a sorceress with her box of spices for a staff. A tiara of cumin seeds jewel her brow and her ears sparkle with opal cardamom chandeliers. She twists a single fiber of tamarind into her thinning braid; an amulet of carved cinnamon rests above her navel, hanging down her neck on a thread of peppercorns. 

Within this kitchen, she is in her element. Matchboxes have long been discarded: the hearth is licked to life by flames dancing out of her nostrils. Royal tangerine. The culinary dragon begins her dance. 

Cast iron wok hisses from the assault of a sesame seed rain, perforating the puddle of sunflower oil. Music. The tempo has been set. A cloud of wheat flour rises up to kiss the ceiling, cloves of garlic prance across the wooden counters and sacrifice their pungent lives by cannonballing into the wok of tempered death. The enchantress has stalks of coriander swaying like bohemian wanderers. Basil leaves touch tips and circle in rhythmic leaps around a mountain of crushed fenugreek. Spring onions clutch at their green ponytails and rip them off from their scalps in a fit of robotic madness. It’s the trance of the herbs.  

Lemon grass, venison, pickled carrots, hard boiled eggs. Soy sauce oozes brown over noodle strands, golden quiches swivel and cavort down the oven’s ramp. She wipes her hands on an apron of beige dough. Ice cream dotted with smudges of peaches and cream spoon themselves into gyrating crystal bowls, spinning wildly with near transparent spoons. 

The table has been set, the forks laid out, plates polished enough to reflect bones. Our sorceress is satisfied. 

Quietly, she pads back into her war zone and plucks a ladle of the wall. Culinary dragon then folds herself – amulets, apron and all – into the well of the ladle and curls up for a snooze. It’s been a long day.

Corporate viking

‘Boss lady!’ the rodents squeal,

they scatter into grey confetti on polished bone floors before the Doc Martens squish the juices out of their puddle paws. 

Clip

Clop

Clip

Clop

And she enters. 

The ceiling perforates itself in angst, walls slide back by inches, the carpets mutter prayers to the angels of ambition. She prowls, flicking away incompetence with a talon polished tangerine like it were just flint on the collar of her jacket.

Collar that she pulls up  along her twin tower neck against a wind that held its breath and froze mid puff upon her arrival but Gods bless her if she notices; her eyes have locked down on the target. 

Ice ice ice. Pepper juice ice. 

A single ombre green chilly pierces the tip of her tongue and she lashes. The rodents curdle beneath their fur, veins tempered to curry state. Hours pass, the lashing continues, greatness heaves and moans in every inch of the labyrinth, the guinea pigs breakdown like colored glass. 

Welcome to the office of Corporate Viking. Magic is created here. The tar black kind. 

Ice ice ice. Pepper juice ice. 

,

She is at best a clumsy seductress. 

Why, just last night, she stood before me, draped in the finest robe of comets you’ve ever laid eyes on. Moonbeams licked at her ankles and atomic planets studded her granite black wrists. I must admit, my dear, for a brief moment I was swayed. 

Vile ideas she did suggest, but repeat them I shall not. They’re not for a gentle lady like you to burn your ears red with. Suffice to say that a man with weaker resolve would have surely been found this morning tangled in her immodest robes, fingers singed from straying dangerously close to those vulgar comets of hers. 

She whispered into my hair that the sun had returned to his lair and we were alone now in the cosmic vastness of her chambers. Maybe it was time for me to let go of your hand and take hers instead?
She promised to destroy my insomnia. She promised she’d have me giddy from the discovery of new pleasures. She promised to erase ever memory of you I ever possessed. 

All I had to do, was undo the knot that tied her robes and she would take care of the rest.

Coy woman. Did she really believe that a husky whisper and perfumed wrists would steer me away from you? I pity her for her naïveté. The daggers she shot me as I showed her the door weren’t particularly pleasant, needless to say. I wince as I write. 

I’ve warded off yet another overt attempt from her end to whisk me away from you, love. At this point, I have to ask. When are you coming back to me?

It’s been thirty nine days since I last wrote. Poetry evades me, prose leaves the room upon hearing the slightest strains of my voice. Essays turn their noses the other way upon my arrival like I were a rag the cat dragged into the salon. Words don’t bother to hide their contempt anymore. The neighbors have begun their despicable gossip again. 

It’s been thirtynine days. Don’t you think this has gone on far too long?

You were all I had. Please come back to me.

I remain,

forever yours. 

Tumbleweed

What I’ve noticed so far about this city is that the silver sparkle cars and the filter coffee mopeds and the tender coconut bicycles and the light saber welding policemen don’t stop when a man pauses mid-stride on the pavement, lurches forward, clutches his whisky gut and spills his intestines out.
The pausing, lurching, clutching and spilling happens spectacularly often.Maybe that’s why nobody stops. 

You stop just long enough to make sure you hop out of the way of the projectile juice fountain, peek at your shoes to ensure they’re unstained and keep clickety-clack-ing your way through the city’s tumbleweed of traffic lights. 

I stopped the first two times. I watched from a careful distance as the rickshaw driver meticulously emptied himself of a week of curdled milk, hastily gobbled lentils, and fitful sleep. I spied on the vagabond as he embraced the pavement and retched loneliness and alcoholism all over his stone bed. 

I haven’t seen a third episode yet. I’m sure that when I do, I will stop just long enough to make sure I hop out of the way of the projectile juice fountain, peek at my shoes to ensure they’re unstained and keep clickety-clack-ing my way through the city’s tumbleweed of traffic lights. 

I won’t stop either. 

Picture credits: Pinterest

Speak

Frantic

There are things I wish to speak of to you in the middle of the night, holding your palm across the slant of my cheek so you can feel how my lungs have travelled from the hollow in my chest to the crater at the bottom of throat as I leave heavy cherry blossom ice breath on the lenses of your discarded glasses and we will watch snowflakes drift down into the dragon den, bemused, the reptile shall shake its mountain of a crown, releasing a torrent of rain onto our roofs and we will whisper about how we have never flown but dear God, what horror it must be to feel unrestrained wind ruffle against non-existent feathers, little insects hurtling into our open beaks, fishing for sun beams between the boughs of an ancient fir, breathing in the scent of mayflowers and maple syrup and living in summerwinterspringautumn all at once and your hand shall still lie quietly across the slant of my cheek, my fingers tracing the curve of your nose and we will fall just as frantically

to sleep. 

Clean

‘Peaches and cream,’ reads the package. 

‘Cool and refreshing’

Except it feels nothing like it on your skin. 

The cold bar of soap is rubbed over and over until tiny mountains of flesh rise up in protest red and sore and you wonder how long it will take to ever feel

Clean again. 

Walking out, you sniff your wrist. 

Peaches. Who knew?