Thursday, November 25, 2010

Perfect Shoes (A Mama Kat Writing Workshop Prompt)

It is time for another Mama Kat writing prompt and the devious random number generator handed me another poem:  Write a poem about something you are thankful for. On a holiday that revolves around food, I am thankful for a coworker who reminded me to respect food, in deference to those who know "lack of."

Perfect Shoes

I need a place to sit my coffee down in a crowded staff meeting
I start to place it on the floor under my seat
Alex scrambles to take it from my hands

I have learned not to say “oh, that’s okay, I’ll take care of it myself”
to Alex
It’s more than courtesy; it’s culture


In his culture, putting food on the floor is a sign of disrespect
of a dearth of appreciation
of taking for granted something that not everyone gets.


He says it’s a Latin American thing
I try to learn more
He tells me stories – of knowing what it’s like to have nothing


He tells me that in Colombia it would be rude to ask for more food
When there are still remnants on the plate
He doesn’t understand throwing food away


The stories go beyond food
He tells of walking four hours to school barefoot
So his shoes would be perfect for school
To demonstrate respect for the teacher


(Villa de Levya Colombia Image Credit: Andres Bermudez Lievano)

“Pumpkin Chuckin’” on the Science Channel is not for him
Playing with food? Makes no sense
Arriving at the restaurant in sloppy sweats – why?

Old people, he says, appreciate their food
Young Americans Supersize
They talk with their mouths full; food is an afterthought

We discuss restaurant behavior
Paying attention to the small graces of mealtime
Truly being with the people at the table
Bound by affection and reverence for one another

On Thanksgiving
I walk five kilometers with 5,000 people “to make room for all the food”
I dine, guided by the ethos of a boy who kept his shoes shined

And his food off the floor.


Mama's Losin' It






5 comments:

mj said...

I love it! Food culture is a fascinating thing, isn't it?

Nicole said...

This is all so true! I struggle with how to ensure my girls appreciate what they have....it's hard when they've never known struggle as I did. As they get older, I plan to involve them in community service so they can see outside of their little worlds. Happy Thanksgiving!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I am always grateful that I live in America with an abundance of food! It's true we take food for granted sometimes. We are very fortunate!

Karen S. Scott said...

BEautifully said! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a link to this post for me. I appreciate it and think your musing poetry about respecting food is a message we all need to hear -- especially this time of year when so much of the real reason for the holidays seems to get swamped under buying stuff we don't need.

Velva said...

Great blog post! Respecting food is a direct connection to one's culture. A simple act of sharing a meal is what brings people together.