Thursday, August 25, 2011

Memories Madelienes and Pomegranates


A Literary landmark, Marcel Proust invokes a lost world early in Swann's Way out of a pastry dip in tea. Food and wine, bread and juice, even the smallest of taste can summon a world out of nothing. Food embeds in our stories. Taste, smell, texture all apply both to that comes into our mouths and to the stories we tell about our love. Eat a madeleine, and Marcel starts on a journey of memory and passion. I eat a madeleine and I journey to Proust's Combray, mediating on the little boy waiting for his Mother's good night kiss that will never come. 

Memory, meaning and food also stays at the heart of the Lord's Supper. Taste the wine and remember the blood. Once, as an elder of my Presbyterian church, I grew tried of the cheap communion wine. I resolved to use a better wine for the real presence of God. Kenwood Jack London Zinfandel with its deep blood red color and earthy taste from London families Beauty Ranch fit my need for a better communion wine. A split of the wine could last two weeks worth of communion, except on High Holy Days like Easter and Christmas, which only a full size bottle would cover. The first Easter we switch, there was a request for seconds, and I am still uncertain if it was sincere or a joke, though asking for seconds from the source of life seems to be fitting. Food became part of the story.

My wife and I met in Pasadena and though Pasadena still exists, the Pasadena of our early love is far gone. Though, the right food, avocado, pomegranate, Pad Thai and suddenly that world reappears. These markers are as important as telling the story. One of my aims in writing my love poems is Proustian in making our live story live. I notice how many couples move on without making the telling of their love story part of their life, and as such many forget the food that mark their courtship. Sad. The telling and remembering of the story is the best way of keeping love in a relationship. I know there are many books and articles touting how to spice a marriage. I found that the telling of the unique love story is better than any spicing up by some paint by the numbers ritual. Below is a love poem which I attempt remember the pomegranates that my wife and I shared. Ah the taste of pomegranate ...




Wine from water

Jesus resisted with claims of timing,
Before submitting to his Jewish mom.
Love and weddings to move even God.
I remember the hidden avocados growing
in the backyard of the intention Christian 
home I was living while at seminary.
The sudden song of King Solomon,
and do you remember our night stroll
and the discovery of a lone pomegranate
begging to be eaten? You, the calmer
mind, prevailed and we left it touched
but still hanging on the tree
of the grounds of an old mansion
turn museum. Remember the two store
bought large pomegranates, before the utility
of health and a marketing company transform
them into supermarket superfood, split open
on the old wood dinning room table covered
with lace, the hundreds of juice covered seeds,
creating the proustian habit of a forging
a forgotten world from delectable elegance.
The taste of pomegranates tinged
by your breath, having the color
of your hair. Nip at the tip of the fruit,
then seam opens out the chambers like
from a human heart, and the slow
pulling lose botany’s bounty and the sharing
of the tart sweetness. How it move God,
like the Spanish wedding dress you grace
our “I do” with. The time has come,
the fiesta continues, fathers, sons, mothers
and lovers.


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