Tag Archives: Olive oil

September 23, 2008

On this September evening

I dip my pen into the black

molasses of an inkwell,

straighten the corners of my curling yellow parchment,

and slide my flickering candle of memory

an inch closer on the rough-hewn wooden table.

A drop of hot wax pleads with my thumb

for attention

while my thoughts drift with the cool breeze

that wanders through the open window,

becoming lost in the swirl of the distant pulse

of Latino music with the somewhat closer swells of


and the faint silver clatter and crystalline laughter

from the Italian sidewalk cafe

across my little street.


Yes, on evenings such as these

I forget about the busy week ahead and

the busy day behind and

my phoenix of a to-do list.

I forget that I have no quill–

not even a fountain pen–

but a Dell

with cable internet.  No, instead

I prefer to remember the leafy archway, the

occasional loose cobble

as I walked on the local campus–

its agora unfolding before me–

and sat on the broad lamplit steps,

feeling neither warm

nor cool,

with a smattering of students reading,

talking quietly, and simply doing


as dusk slipped into night

on this nascent autumn day.


Setting down my pen and noticing

one thumb red from hot wax

the other smudged sable with words not yet written,

I hope to keep this glassy pond of a evening

somewhere not far, so that some day hence

as I dip my crusty loaf into a small dish of smooth ripe olive oil

at an outdoor cafe

or as I hear a tenor across the

alley while I cut a slippery mango in the kitchen,

I might remember the flickering of this stubby candle

and then

take a moment to sit down on the mossy bank and,

thumb still slightly aching,

look at the water with not even a



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Filed under Blogging introspection, Poetry

Jonathan 2.0

Ruder. Brasher. Speaks his mind. A real New Yorker. At least that’s what I’m striving for.

Especially when I notice a sign at The Fairway grocery store (essentially a cheaper Whole Foods in Harlem looking out right on the Hudson River) display with several kinds of extra-virgin olive oil and some small bread slices for sampling. It read, “Please be considerate: dip your bread only once.”

“Why would they even need to post a sign like that?” I thought, lifting a piece of bread dripping with green, ripe oil to my mouth. As I took a bite of that full-bodied richness, I noticed the woman next to me with a piece of bread with a bite taken out of it. It all happened in slow motion: her moving the bread toward a bowel of olive oil. My thinking, “This can’t be happening.” Her dipping the bread, bite side first, into the smooth, thick liquid.

I was appalled. Horrified, more by her manners than by her generosity with her own cooties. As she walked away and I closed my gaping mouth, I realized that I missed a perfect chance for confrontation. She deserved public rebuke. It was my duty to perform the civil equivalent of a citizen’s arrest. “EXCUSE ME, ma’am!” (Ma’am can come off as a bit condescending in the Northeast) “I can’t believe what you just did! You are rude!” Her chastening would be completed by the sudden sensation wet liquid fat in her face–flung there by me–which would then drip down and stain her dress in great moist globs.


Filed under Around town, Awkward moments