cooking risotto (or why i love my life) —a new recipe small pieces of asparagus & shrimp lemon juice prepared in separate pan & I think of G.—when did I last cook risotto when did I last eat asparagus in March of which year I am transported to Austrian spring crispy temperature a field of brooks where we pick birds’ lettuce we hike we cook there is sex there is spring & asparagus some cress & birds’ lettuce picked at the brook I stir risotto & think how this recipe diverges from G.’s—to place inch-sized asparagus pieces in bowl of ice water I’ll try but remember the warm bed & kitchen asparagus on dishes on linen now I add shrimp & garlic lemon juice— like the good food we had & this takes my breath away—how food was good how he disliked the way I chopped anything—he couldn’t tolerate my kitchen skills but the food was good linen fresh the bed warm & the brook ice cold in the ice cold spring the image welling the time I gave—the joy of— how I am in Brooklyn my own job & bag full of books how he’d wear an apron w/his name stitched on by the girlfriend before me the one he’d devastated & betrayed before me no betrayal it was an open relationship though she’d given him all before I was ready to bear his young the food now in Brooklyn Austrian radio streams online I find comfort in those voices & references to U.S. culture food on American bubble plates news turns to program on misunderstood songs: The Police: I’ll Be Watching You as I eat shrimp asparagus risotto “eine krankhafte, einseitige Liebe” the Austrian journalist explains as if no one had noticed that before—well maybe not the Austrians but who cares? I am a senior in college at parties dancing to this song who cares about the disease it’s a fucking great song & soon I’ll fall for the Virginia townie who hangs out on campus where he wears a bandana and plays Frisbee he’s a local carpenter & though I study German & want to depart I fall for this man’s grin who takes me to West Virginia in his truck with the dog in the back it is spring in West Virginia down rural curvy road & blooming apple trees & I can’t believe my eyes to be in that back woods place & so stoned I cannot speak & so in love with this man I never want to leave any sort of Virginia then Austrian radio goes to another misunderstood song & its No Woman No Cry & the journalist explains why people misunderstand this song & I’m eating shrimp risotto drunk on garlic & lemon juice on a Monday afternoon & there’s my Nigerian friend Dele who taught me to eat with my hands in Vienna explaining this song—doesn’t everyone know this?—the singer consoles a woman how consoled I was at the America Latina where Dele sang w/ his reggae band on Mollardgasse in the 6th district where the drugs were as my neo-liberal anti-foreigner family explained so I went right there & these drugs were NOTHING like in the states & I was consoled by a wee bit of ‘shit’ (sheet) & the reggae music & the Chilean waiter who I’d make out with on my way to the WC & today it’s shrimp risotto as good risotto should be this funny recipe minus linen cloth plus paper clips & graded essays but the food & the music this is what I love—have loved about my life.
Hillary Keel lives at a remote location in New York State where she teaches German & The German Fairy Tale at Hunter College in Manhattan. She also writes poetry, works as a hypnotherapist, and loves to translate. She has poetry and translations published in Europe and the USA. http://hillarykeel.com