Saturday, January 28, 2012

In the Land of No Ice Cream Cones

I was having one of those days. You know what I’m talking about—avalanching bill collectors, late checks, forgotten invoices, and nothing but everything in the fridge. A day when you find out that the harvest will be late and that the road is even longer than you knew it was.  I was feeling weary and the last thing I wanted to do is post anything on my little blog, but then I ran into this photo I took during a Christmas mission trip to Manchester, Jamaica. I remember this little man—dusty with poverty, rich with charm, oozing the swagger of a true Wailer. He and a bunch of his comrades joined me for popsicles at the local bar. They didn’t serve ice cream cones, just Red Label wine, Red Stripe and popsicles.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Longing for Greens


Today was the end of a chapter. You know how it is. You hold hands. You gaze longingly. You sip Champagne. You frolic through that yummy lie like a wine gypsy wandering through this beautiful, French vineyard I once visited. Everything is green and glossy until the last chapter when the longing gaze looks more like a tired eyeball hoping you’ll stop talking. lol

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Anonymous Affairs in Sunday Gravy

I’ve watched “Under the Tuscan Sun” about 1000 times. I’m not kidding. I know. It’s sad. But when I’m craving anonymity (It’s hard to be anonymous when you have a multisyllabic name most people never heard of), I retreat into this world of olives, wine, broken hearts, and mended mojos. Since I was in Tuscany, I decided to make some cellentani I found in the pantry. I was going for a Pasta e Fagioli, but it turned into something much heartier. The spirit was speaking to me—“Add carrots, green peppers, thyme, and scallion. Don’t grate too much Parmigiano-Reggiano.” Someone gave my mother a Walmart gift card for the holidays, which she passed on to me, so I grabbed a jar of the DelGrosso Sunday Marinara. I’m a sucker for those rustic labels, and this bottle was exactly what I expected—wonderfully savory and light unlike the usual sugary marinara sauces most of us, faux-Italians, are accustomed to. I cheated on my vegan non-boyfriend and sautéed a quarter pound of organic ground beef. In the end, it was like an unplanned affair under the anonymous moon.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Veggie Hex

I’m tired. I’ve been up since 6 a.m. trying hard not to be late for my 7:30 a.m. gig. And for the past couple weeks, Miami’s weather has been like a PMS-ing woman whose hormones are like the wind, so I have a yucky cold. Why am I putting myself through such torture? Why else? Love. Not just any love, but the kind of love that makes you abandon your carnivorous yearnings to suffer in the land of turnips and leaf juice.      

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Proverbial Pumpkin Soup

When I lived in Brooklyn, I tried to make my mother’s pumpkin soup. I used both canned and real pumpkin and added Polish kielbasa for flavor, but it just didn’t taste as good. This Miami chill beckons the real thing—a spicy soup-stew made of fresh pumpkin, cho-cho (Jamaican word for green squash), turnip, handmade, white dumplings and beef, the perfume of thyme, garlic and onion filling the space like music. Normally I eat the soup with a couple slabs of hard dough bread, but I haven’t recovered from the hard-dough-bread-ferrero-rocher smorgasbord I endured during the holidays. Feel me?   

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scent of A Sipper

This past week has been littered with bodies. It’s like the earth is regurgitating, and people are just falling into the next life. Did you hear about the Jamaican family—mother, father, baby and grandmother who were fatally injured in a car recent car accident? So sad. To these stories, my father often replies, “What is man?” The bible likens man’s life to that of a blade of grass. How quickly we forget.  How quickly we become guest stars in our own lives. How quickly we become dreams deferred. And so I choose to live. No matter how difficult the artist road may be, I live for the chase, for the next meal, the next gathering of friends, the next bundle of laughter, and the aromas bursting from vineyards I’ve yet to visit. I remember when I used to lock myself in my room and just dance and dance for hours—New Edition, Cherelle, Michael Jackson, Def Leopard, and Pat Benatar blaring from my speakers. I held all the secrets of an earthly paradise right there in my Toshiba boombox. Today, I summon that girl, that sweet, dream-juicy girl to keep dancing, sipping, living.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Circumcising the Grape

When I was 16, I was madly in love with a graffiti-artist slash rapper from Queens. With Hip-Hop making its way to the mainstream, I snubbed my Luke Skywalker-Me-So-Horney roots for Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders” as I was obsessed with all things New York. My mother and I recently discussed that whimsical season over a couple glasses of Manischewitz Grape Concord wine, the season when her daughter added hundreds of gray hairs to her precious, Pentecostal head. Queens and I broke up during my spring break visit from Howard University. It was a dramatic ending complete with a bonfire of all the artistic pieces he had given me. “He circumcised me from his life,” I cried to my mother, weeping and wailing, Jamaican-style, my singed, teenage heart leaning on the biblical words I wanted so much to abandon. I remember my mother, who was dually mortified and impressed, sitting with me as I waded through the miry clay of my first heartbreak. She pulled out her holy oil (Pompeian olive oil) from her nightstand drawer, poured a little on her fingers and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. I had de-Pentecostalized myself after I left home, but I still loved when my mother prayed for me. With my forehead cupped in her slick hand, she prayed that the pain would subside and that I would I finish college. Both prayers were answered (eventually lol).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Château Dreaming

Breath is a loan. Just like that, the universe’s breath can change. Ask the Miamians who frantically search closets for warm coats as winter’s breath burrows itself underneath hot shorts, new implants and men who roam the boulevard with signs that read: Hungry. Broke. Cold. But, this balanced imbalance works somehow. I remember when I first set eyes on Château Margaux. I had less than $50 in my pocket and was recovering from a peculiar night in a neighboring Bordeaux chateau where I was told ghosts lurked in the vineyards. It was so grand, so old, and yet so new. I was also told that slaves once lived in Bordeaux and I imagined them stealing away to glory in a bottle of Château Guiraud. To think otherwise would be too painful. But here I was sipping the Grand Crus de Bordeaux. I had spent five whole days in the same outfit as L’Avion lost my luggage, but I didn’t care. I knew how to hand wash my clothes like my mother once did in her small, Jamaican village. I was just happy to be there at the center of a dream I’m not sure I really dreamed—this broke, black girl who loves wine—the history, the agriculture, the haunted cellars and vineyards, and the untold stories. I was present in every breath. Please be present in yours.