Pages

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TOGETHER AT LAST



I'll take you over here
at the self-checkout
she said
I said okay
if you do it 
cuz I don't know how
to work it
never had the patience
to fool with the damn thing
and as we were standing there
this brother walks up
though you may prefer 
African-American
but that would be presumptuous
you don't know where the dude is from
could be African-British
or African-French
or African-African
I prefer brother 
like Whoopi Goldberg said
I'm not African-American
I'm American

So he asks the lady
who happens to be Hispanic
if they have any couscous 
and she wrinkles her nose
and says "koos koos"
what's that?
and the guy is at a loss to explain
having never encountered a supermarket employee
who didn't know what couscous was
and I say well it's a grain
and he says yeah that's it
and she is still saying
never heard of koos koos before
and I say do you have an ethnic foods section?
looking at the brother and hoping it's okay
to use the word ethnic
in front of him
and she says that would be aisle four
and he looks relieved

yeah 
well 
never landed in the middle-east
but I know what couscous is
having been back to the garden
a time or two
but gotta wonder about her
maybe she will go home and tell her family
about the new word she learned today
and maybe they will look up its origin
and maybe they will even try it
and maybe
just maybe
the butterfly effect of that
will engender a little more understanding
among us
and bring the world together at last




  




57 comments:

  1. ha yes..i DO hope she's gonna try it... love me some good couscous...with chicken and...oh...hmmmmmm... food can build bridges-- and they're quite stable..

    ReplyDelete
  2. hah, Timo! maybe that's all it takes, just a little more couscous.
    (i thought your poem was going in a whole nother direction based on the first line. maybe you should write that poem, too.) (wink!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. ha. if only it would echo out...education is def a huge part of understanding...
    and i have a hard time believing a supermarket employee did not know...but then we are ever slipping...

    ReplyDelete
  4. CLAUDIA : Food can build bridges alright--but more often I think it's wine, etc.

    MARIAN: Yeah, and based on the first SIX lines, it could be very intriguing indeed. I knew I could rely on you to catch something like that!

    BRIAN: Education...and exposure to other cultures...you are right, man.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I liked the way this swiftly flew... esp the ending . Liked being in on the internal monologue.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Exposures to other cultures is key. So often people are not interested to learn about others and that is a shame.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What I like most about this is its sideways pop at the way PC has mangled our language and where that has gotten us. The scene itself is told well, and it would only have been a few years ago that this would have been really common here too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Every little helps towards understanding and acceptance - an illustrative tale.

    ReplyDelete
  9. OMG, if I am ever faced with a self-checkout, I will be utterly clueless (I mean even more so than normally.) I so loved this poem because your awareness and sensitivity shine through, Timo.

    ReplyDelete
  10. BUDDAH: Thanks, man. It's not often that I hear from The Buddah.

    AYALA: You said it.

    RUMOURSOFRHYME: You have touched on the integral theme of the poem. Good going.

    COLIN: Thanks, and so good to hear from you.

    SHERRY: Yeah, it only took me six years to learn how to use the self-serve gas pumps...ha ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I STILL only go to We Serve. If they phase them out, I'm sunk but by then someone in charge will have relieved me of my drivers license anyway. Or my 1992 Toyota will croak - it and I are in a race right now.

      Delete
  11. I absolutely Love this! I tend to wonder things like this too. Supermarkets can be such interesting places if you just open your eyes! I love the voice of this poem! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. KATIE: Much appreciated. So nice to hear from you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Cous Cous ... kiss kiss ... meow ... :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cous Cous ... Kiss Kiss ... meow ... :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. __Cultures and ethnicities, should never be degraded or lost... but praised and valued; some day we may all look, and think alike... that would be the ultimate loss. Androids.

    ReplyDelete
  16. i'm reading too fast today first I thought It was some NEW AGE word I haven't heard like NAMASTE..or something like that..but I know a knew dish too..today..I wonder if my wife will make IT for me..as It sounds pretty good..by wiki at least..

    I do love the international flavor of the grocery stories where I live..so nice to see a variety of folks..as the rednecks can get to looking all the same in my neighborhoodhehe..andyeah..i'm somewhat of a redneck too..I guess...haha...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh indeed! Any opportunity for mutual understanding should be grasped with both hands. I firmly believe ignorance is a breeding ground for hatred. Your scene is so authentic - with the awkwardness of the three-way conversation, the internal monologue (Is it okay to use the word ethnic?) and the thought at the end: Will she see this as an opportunity to learn something new?

    Peace, Tim.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I like your concept here, Timo, not that couscous will conquer hate and division, but that learning what we have to offer each other and what we can share is how we bridge the divide and learn to grow together instead of apart. I also like the way the poem starts, with the idea of help, of offering what costs nothing...answers, support, etc. Anyway, I love couscous--they sell it by the rice and bagged beans and stuff here, in various flavors, in case you ever want to find it in Oklahoma. ;_)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks every bodies for your wonderful comments!

    KERRY:Thanks...it truly is one mind at a time, isn't it?

    HEDGEWITCH: Thanks for the tip--and I may do that one day if the local store is out of stock!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Very cool possibility! Every moment and encounter helps. And the butterfly effect--well, you just never know which change will take us to where we want to go. I enjoyed the entire inner monologue as well as the plot line.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Om shanti, shalom, salaam, peace, peace, peace.
    Please consider yourself officially invited to participate this year's 5th Annual Gratitude (word) Quilt. Instructions (it is very simple) and a link that explains the origin of the word quilt can be found at the top of my blog. In past years there have been participants from every continent except Antarctica. I hope you'll join us:-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. food can be a social bridge... loved the poem...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Couscous + butterfly effect may bring peace. Extraordinary, entertaining spin on the call for peace. Wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Afraid to say "ethnic" ha ha. Oh, this was truly a joy to read. I could feel your hesitation, not wishing to offend by being PC - which is a bunch of crap. I'm not German-British-American for pete's sake! I always get nervous when I don't know if something is Japanese, Chinese, or Korean and say "Oriental" instead because I'm not sure if that covers all three or not! … (if you know, leave a reply here :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MARGARET: The politically correct term nowadays is "Asian"...if you use that, you've covered all the bases, I think!

      Delete
  25. I also like the food angle, Tim ~

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love this! It really is amazing to me how global we are in our everyday lives, yet we all still act like we're disconnected.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Perhaps couscous is our peace food...Love your take on the challenge to write about peace.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ya never know what little gem will melt and change a heart, or bring together two or twenty-two . OR...what we and others might learn from any situation, glance, smile or word.

    It is not our job to KNOW...just to keep on doing. NOW I'M going to look up "couscous"!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Great narrative of a moment captured and even better follow through. >KB

    ReplyDelete
  30. I thought couscous had became standard food like pasta (we said macaroni when I was a kid).. or rice. isn't all food ethnic in reality... (here I think marshmallows and pancake syrup is ethnic food)---

    ReplyDelete
  31. I loved every word of this - a great story poem, and I like the sly digs at political correctness, which has gone right over the top!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Baby steps. Love the honest voice in this.

    ReplyDelete
  33. First of all, I love couscous. It's positively delicious. More importantly, I'm glad you wrote this poem - maybe we'll all grow up is right!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Funny little slice of life. I like it :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I like the rhythms of this, the staccato, the sway, the undulation of Walmart vernacular…a really nice read

    ReplyDelete
  36. EARTHGIRL: Thanks...I like the way your comment slinks like a panther on a moonless night.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I do hope they bar code that shit.Otherwise you n the brother are in bother. Thanks for linking up with dVerse tonight.Loved this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Paul. It makes you wonder about things we take for granted that everybody knows, but not everybody does know the same things we know. And, of course, a few have literally lived in a cave :)

      Delete
  38. I'm trying to imagine living somewhere that doesn't have couscous. Not a fan, but it's a fact of life :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed it is. It's an acquired taste, I think.

      Delete
  39. Usually I don't ask where anything is in a grocery store. If I do ask and the employee looks at me as if there is something wrong with my sanity I don't continue questioning. I just keep looking, there or in some other store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the feeling. It's the same reason why I never stop at the gas station to ask for directions!

      Delete
  40. Like Bjorn said, this was novella, story poem boffo wordplay & wordsmithing, rife with sincerity, levity, & profundity. I really dug it, putting me in a Beat frame of mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW...high praise...and your comment was poetic as well. Thanks, Glenn!

      Delete
  41. Who'd think the key word "community" would lead to a powerful discussion of couscous and the community of man! Here's to the butterfly effect, Timo. Beautiful read!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Excellent read and long live the butterfly effect. How easy it is to learn from each other.
    Anna :o]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes all we have to do is ask

      Delete
  43. I like this. :) We could all do with a little extra flavor in our lives, and a little more understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yes... there is no better bridge than food to join culture... would you like some fermented herring?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will have to pass on that herring--lol (Don't get too pickled now!)

      Delete
  45. I thoroughly enjoyed your style of narration...its amazing how sharing food can bring people together and ignorance about 'other'cuisines can create a chasm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we could all just break bread together for one day, think of how that might change things!

      Delete