Tag Archives: Breaking the surface

Myesha Jenkins’s ‘Food’

   
Born in 1948, Myesha Jenkins spent most of her life in California.  She graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with a BA degree in Black Studies.  She moved to South Africa from the San Francisco Bay Area where she was active in progressive politics, the women’s movement and the anti-apartheid struggle.  Her collection, Breaking the surface, was published by Timbila Poetry Project in 2005.
  
Food
Myesha Jenkins
 
My experience of life
is through food
entwined and embedded
in my memories
 
Home is ham hocks and pinto beans
brownies and corn pudding
reflecting the origins
of my south mama
my root
 
Cuba will always be
strong black coffee
and seven kinds of pork
at the Palacio Nacional
waiting to meet Fidel
 
Sourdough bread across the bridges
to the jeweled city of my discovery
of carnitas tacos and burritos
pad thai, mushu pork and pupusas
walking away crab cocktails
searching for myself
 
Years of planning and assessing
my little corner of the revolution
in Miriam’s Kitchen
or Manila Beach
through jasmin tea, jung and kimchee
or the occasional delivery of
coconut bread and codfish cakes
from Linda’s last visit to Brooklyn
 
The beginning of my end to drinking
Flor de Cana in Nicaragua
and it’s deadly equivalent in Hawaii
staggering to the beach
running from my dreams
 
My first shaky month in a new life
buying dinner “R2 a plate, mama”
from the bus stop to home
finding umngqushu and phutu,
koeksisters and all the kinds of curries
 
When I go to Cape Town
the trip is useless
without the Mexican, Thai, Japanese food
I crave as much
as the magic sea mountain
 
There is more.
 
Love will always be litchis
Summer is pineapple and mangoes
Indulgence is brie and a ton of seafood
or a Magnum chocolate bar
 
I wonder how much more of this life
I could live
without the food
swallowing all of my energy
to grow.