by W Roger Carlisle

            “Duende is like the wind, a fire, a bird, a breath—
            It is the magic; the sweet spot of life. It is
            the dowry of poets who cared to apply
            the finest degrees of Sorrow and Pain.” Lorca

My life
has been an extended banquet of song and duende.
Young and hungry, I rushed through the first four courses,
gorging myself into a bloated state of selfish discontent.
Now, life has slowed me down; I want to savor my
last two courses.
I surrender to the essence
and soul of the food, to the tea table,
the pitcher of cream, the poblano peppers marinating
the chicken, tomatoes – crispy pork, plantain ribbons,
pickled jalapeños, ancho chiles, cotija and lime served
on a yellow and red platter, to the endless
arguments boiling in the complexity of flavors.
I surrender to the courage in the garlic,
I will not let this day slip through my fingers;
I see how this banquet of friends,
savors the complexity of all of the flavors of life,
hears the deep passion in all songs, makes me
more at home with who I really am.
My spirit wants
to savor these last two courses
of my life with people who can
sing in a language everyone understands,
see their failures, grieve their losses, laugh at themselves,
love without limit, be less arrogant, less smug, less superficial,
more complex, more interesting.
The grief in this broth heals the wounds of false living.
The 2 jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed, minced garlic,
half of a red onion, 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts,
white beans, and the 3 limes capture all of my senses.
As we taste the broth we release the soul’s anger,
we learn we are all connected
to everything.
I taste the sweet bitterness in the
strawberry rhubarb cobbler.
I reach the end of my life
sharing a dessert always made equally
of sorrow and joy,
with people who love me
in a space only humility and maturity can appreciate.
I don’t want to fight the gravity
of my aging. I want to collaborate with it, invite death
to have tea, celebrate dying in the divine light of my
friends, leave life with the grace of a setting sun.
The windy Spirit blows wherever it pleases.
Finally we celebrate our last supper,
in that unfinished space between,
connected by the soul’s great clamor to be recognized, shared,
remembered, understood, and we are left
yearning for more.

© 2023 W Roger Carlisle  All rights reserved.

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