Ode to Chef


The saddest song is the one I sing to myself as I eat

Consoling myself with arugula dressed in balsamic and garnished with cheese

It’s the song of my solitude, of my position at Bar 1

Its melody is tempered by the steam rising from the grilled steak

Harmony trickles into my head as I taste the salt and the fat from the fried potatoes.

Sometimes the tune doesn’t come to me until the very last ravioli is cut up, its sauce glistening in the dim light shining from the lamp above my head.

When I am completely alone, simply overcome with feeling left behind, I relish in Bar 1 or better yet, Bar 0.  This is my favorite place to be.

You know me well Chef.  You send out a “gift”.  Your staff plies me with booze.  The runners know they can bitch to me about the particular injustices of the evening.

You know me because you know that I was there once.  For the best part of my life I stood on the line looking out.  I knew when solo diner 7pm would show, sit at the bar, and beckon to be left alone.  They would hold “court” for two hours or three.  No matter how busy the room got, that one soul would be left alone.  Why? Because they, I, eat well, need nothing, laugh, watch, relish, and tip without restrain.

Thanks Chef.  Home now, full, a little drunk. Still spent but that overcome feeling will fade.  The memories of the day will be replaced with another sound, an unsteady heartbeat and that song…its melody trickling in, one sad note after another.


May 6, 2015


Reason 402 of why I drink:  Being asked by customers if the products I sell are really good.  “Is this really good?”  My longtime mentor Tony once said that the only response to this was….”It is if you’re used to eating trash”.

Back at my shop after a long hiatus.  Back, dusting shelves, moving inventory around so that it suddenly becomes attractive to the same customer base.  Back to trying to empty the back stock by making it front stock.  Pouring over which bill will I pay in the ever exciting game of vendor roulette.

May 6.  Can you believe it’s May 6.  It doesn’t mean much beyond the fact that this is the 10th May 6 that I am living through under the roof of my shop.  Grateful and stunned.  I still get mail for the previous owner.  I often wonder if mail that’s meant for me is being received at previous addresses still.  How long does that go on.

Reason 624 why I am still a monger.  Mongering is one of the oldest jobs in the world.  Today was a classic reason why I still monger.  Getting tourists into my store who relished in my carefully curated selection of dry goods.  Fawning over my collection of salted caramels, beautifully made cheese boards, and asking for me to sign their tour book.  Spending the afternoon with a couple that I didn’t have to justify the worth of the item they were considering purchasing.  What a relief.

Tonight I had a salad made composed of peppery arugula, my dad’s olive oil, a friend’s vinegar, a piece of soft cow’s milk cheese and lots of salt and pepper.  I accompanied my salad with a toasted bagel given to me by another friend.  I ate the ripe orange that came from a friend’s tree.  Nothing I ate I had to spend money on.  I traded or was simply gifted these items.  I felt lucky as I ate.  My companion, the neighborhood cat, who snored at the edge of my bed.

Some days I can’t wait to be done with this career and move on to the next.  Other days I can’t imagine being done.  I drink, but not too much.  I eat and sleep and vent and laugh and think of all the miserable ways I could be spending my life.

Mama Ode….Day 35


Every time I think of you

First I see your blonde hair, straight and long pulled tight into a tail

I hear your laughter as you talk to my sister on the phone

I try to replicate your beautiful cursive writing but fail

Sometimes I think of your worn leather tennis bag stained with red clay

and the little box of Tic Tacs that you always had on the inside pocket.

I’m at work, always at work, trying to work, fighting back the desire to bolt

Run as far from here, through the forests back to the desert

This morning I woke up exhausted as I do every morning

I couldn’t get the smell of the medical soap out of my nose

It is a permanent fixture that I cannot control

I have been working so hard at trying to find a means to an end that I forget the end isn’t mean at all

The skin on my hands isn’t soft anymore and it’s weathering with my age

Our knuckles are becoming similar to Tabby’s

The ring you gave me with the little turquoise stones is a reminder of my permanence in solitude

Bracing my future of missed connections and heartache

Lovers that you will never meet and the family I will never have

It is this spirit of failure that I drive myself to be successful elsewhere.

Mockingbird…..Day 30


The Mockingbird of Ridley Street

I never could hear it

That’s not to say he didn’t chirp through the night

In fact, he did that every night for as long as we lived there

I lived in that house for just one summer

It was the greatest peace I had while living here

It’s hard to explain but I’ll give it a shot

It was the second time I got to live with my friend Ali

We lived together in San Francisco before we caught the wine country bug

Here we were living in a house again at a different intersection of our lives

Last night, years away from that experience, I was awakened by a mockingbird

He chirped outside my window in the moonlight

I could tell he was pissing off the Blue Jay who has a nest in our palm tree

It was an all out noise war with no end in sight

I couldn’t sleep and I thought about Alison and her troubled mockingbird stories

I also thought about the trouble in my life and how I bring it on myself

“Misery catches up with you”….somewhere in my miserable thoughts

Or was it just insomnia, I fell asleep and had the most wonderful dream

When I awoke this morning, the air outside was very still and the bird was gone

For some reason I still remember the dream in all its clarity

My troubles slowly woke me, made me coffee, and are now plaguing me to pay attention to them.

I need to get back to my mornings in that house and the calm I felt when I would return after work.

I haven’t felt that since.

Maybe my visit last night was a warning or a reminder.

“Misery catches up with you” he sang.  “You’re never as far from it as you think you are”……

Day 28


I stood at your table and ate the egg

Blowing on my fingertips as I peeled the shell away from the steamy white membrane

Dipping pieces into flakes of salt and smoked pepper
Taking sips of hot coffee

I could hear you mumbling in the kitchen
Glasses clinking in the sink 

The water running over the plates and silverware from last night’s supper

Feeling calm, centered, satisfied with my egg feast

Losing myself in the memory of you waking me from my deep sleep 

Pushing me out of the warm nest of down and wool

Rousing me with your aroused self 

My Tattoo


Good god that fucking hurt

Obviously not as much as a bone snapping

but it was still uncomfortable enough that I chewed on a pillow

Hours of digging into my shoulder blade with a needle

Is it mildly fucked up that I was completely aroused by the whole experience

I don’t know what got me more, the needle or the noise

Maybe it was your pulsed breathing into the back of my neck

I want more of that please

Feel free to get creative on my right shoulder

I should point out that I had a brief affair with one of my anesthesiologists

Same effect….being in control of someone who could speed and slow my breathing

Whispering how much I would remember and how to just trust him

Our relationship was built around that passive aggressiveness

Here I am day 4, religiously managing the care of your flowers

Making sure that they are hydrated and don’t wither and die

Pulling my shirt up to show everyone

Relishing in the moments when I reveal too much

Exhibitionist at heart for sure

My calling is appearing before me in the form of ink, grafts, thread, needles, and sweat.

Day 22


I thought I would be rich with stories from past and present.  Here’s a nice way to share with your peers.

I’m done.  I am sick of being generous, giving, and tired of writing to an audience of greedy readers who don’t reciprocate.

As if my stories are something to bring up at cocktail parties or in random public forums.

I can’t even apologize  for this because I am so fucking angry.

Rip, tear, rape, bruise, pull, scratch, cry, scream….done.