Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not Lasagna

A brand new poem, written in a plain voice.

Not Lasagna

When my mother married an Italian, she had never
eaten lasagna. My father had never eaten a turnip.
My mother ate turnips and Irish stew.  She took cooking
lessons from Nicolina, who spoke a difficult English.
My mother learned how to make lasagna.  And pizza,
which back then was thick and had on it whatever
was left in the icebox.  About then, I came along, 
to Irish stew and fat pizza.  Grandma taught Mom
to make stuffed shells.  Manicotti.  And "gloves,"
cookies draped over the hand and deep fried.  My mother
and I learned a few words of Italian.  My grandmother's
English got a little better.  She was fat, always wore
an apron and smelled like squished tomato worm
caterpillars.  Wore hair braided over her head. 
Grew tomatoes, peas, pole beans, and eggplants. 
Didn't have much lap for me.  Too much belly. But she was soft
and made me cookies, farina with skin and girlie clothes
which I always hated.  I was a tomboy.  She cooked octopus,
too, which tasted like lasagna but was chewy as a rubber ball.
We all learned to make stuffed eggplant.  My mother
became famous for her lasagna, and then, so did I. 
And my manicotti.  OH!  My manicotti.  But I got sick, allergic
to cheese.  No more lasagna or manicotti.  I traded octopus
for squid.  Squid is tender, like my Grandma and my Mom.
I'm not tender.  I guess I'm a turnip.  I don't eat them,
but the man I married likes turnips.  Full circle.

Mary Stebbins Taitt,

When I am ready with it, I hope to submit it to Forklift Ohio,
Please visit me at my daily photo blog, my art blog, or my personal blog.  I also have a poetry blog.


BlackenedBoy said...

I liked that, especially the description of your grandmother.

The part about her belly being too big for you to sit in her lap was funny and sweet at the same time.

Have you ever thought about doing prose? You could probably write some good short stories.

I also think it's very cool that you're so in touch with your ethnic heritage; my ancestors came here nearly three centuries ago at the earliest and one century ago at the latest, so I have very little practical connection with them.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks so much, blackened boy!


I'm glad you liked it! :-D YAY!

I do write prose.

One of my blogs was an ongoing story in prose. I have written several novels (as yet unpublished), have published a few stories on and off line. I have an MFA in poetry. But I love prose too!

Some of my Mom's ancestors came over with the Mayflower, married Native Americans etc. On the other hand, her grandmother came from County Kerry Ireland.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

If you go to the sidebar and scroll down to 2007 and click on January, there are drafts of 21 chapters of one of my children's novels.