Thursday, July 14, 2005

How to Eat a Persimmon

Just a reminder that Patricia Wellingham-Jones and Ellaraine Lockie will be reading at Primopoets in Walnut Creek this Sunday, July 17, from 3-5pm. Their reading is at 100 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek (corner of Ygnacio Valley Rd. and Wiget). Info: 925-212-9447. See July 11 for a sample of Ellaraine's work. Here is Patricia:

—Patricia Wellingham-Jones

until it’s as squooshy
as the breast of a well-padded woman.
Pinch its bottom—
firm is good, soft is better.
Cup the fruit in your left hand
(lefties do the reverse),
pick up your spoon in the other.
A sterling silver teaspoon
deeply engraved or with elegant pattern
yields the most pleasure.
Touch the tip of the spoon
just below the nipple of the orange globe.
Push with intent. Break the skin.
Spoon the almost liquid flesh
into a small bowl. Using fingers,
rotate the fruit. Peel fragile petals,
scrape the custard from the skin.
Sever the stiff ribs, lay them
with the flesh. Dig the tip
of that silver spoon deep
into the base, twist out
the final scoops. Lay the emptied body
gently to rest. Wash your hands.
Carry the bowl as if it were made of gold
to your favorite chair. Lean back,
wave your spoon in a circle, sigh.
Lift the shimmering succulence to your lips,
roll it in your mouth, swallow
slowly. Do it again. Again.


—Patricia Wellingham-Jones

My friend in desperate make-up,
go-to-town clothes,
joins me for coffee
under the sycamore.

A neighbor drops by.
I fetch another mug.
We watch spring unfold,
catch up on our lives.

Across the road over a bare lot
a robin weaves grasses into a nest.
She hops inside, checks for fit,
turns a few circles, steps out,
tucks in another strand.

On barbed wire, a red-throated
finch teeters with goldfinch and bluebird.
On the lawn a blue jay feeds his mate in courtship ritual.
In blackberries, mockingbirds
run through their repertoire.

The murmur of our voices blends with the songs
of birds. My friend drones about lost love,
broken marriage, too much weight. Neighbor worries
about teenage kids, total fatigue. The breeze
wafts words and warbles into the blue.

I ponder bugs in the grass who will be the starlings’
dinner, the cowbird stealing another’s nest,
the garter snake’s elastic curl below the tree,
the tiny screams under the birdsong.

(appeared in Voices on the Land, Rattlechap #3 from Rattlesnake Press)


Thanks, Patricia. And yes, I will be there.