Tag Archives: Ambrosia: A Conversation About Food

A letter to M. F. K. Fisher about Thai leftovers in the morning by Ralph J. Long Jr.

Mary Frances

Six empty bottles stand witness to last night’s folly.
I should be past mornings where alcohol fueled
camaraderie brings pain and remorse. Cider, wine,
brandy have left only the soles of my feet without
complaint. The muted refrigerator light behind curry
stained boxes pierces, even my eyes are part of the
litany of distress. To soothe the morning, my friends
want the full American: Bloody Marys, coffee, eggs,
toast and bacon. I crave water, not the false reset of
vodka. The sounds of percolation and frying turn my
headache into a storm. I bless the soft rain that mutes
the high-pitched calls of songbirds. I fight the warm
allure of bed. Sleep must wait until suffering recedes.
Hope lies in the leftover containers of larb with fish
sauce and puckering lime; in tiny eggplants napped
with Thai basil, and chilies and lemongrass nestled in
noodles ready for a minute of microwave rejuvenation.
If only recovery was as easy as pressing start.

I’ll write about the Gravenstein blossoms soon,

Ralph J. Long Jr. is the author of the chapbook, A Democracy Divided (The Poetry Box, 2018). His work has appeared in Stoneboat Literary Journal, The Poeming Pigeon, The Avocet and the anthology Ambrosia: A Conversation About Food. He graduated from Haverford College and lives in Oakland California.

 

A letter to Campbell McGrath about Polaroids at a yard sale by Ralph Long Jr.

Campbell

An unleashed Dalmatian is never a good idea at a
yard sale. Barking chaos, toppled tables, a box of
Polaroids scattered. Bow-tied boys, girls in print
dresses, squinting Sunday-best parents strewn like
autumn leaves on the still-green lawn. A woman
chases the errant dog. Her daughter guards the cash
box, offers me the photos for a nickel each if I spare
her the chore of picking them up. She finds no value
in the once-precious moments that are fading into
chimera as chemicals decay. Edwin Land’s promised
hundred years of color already spectral. There are no
images worthy of Adams’ Yosemite or Wegman’s
Weimaraners. A few arcade booth strips amid the
mess capture a vitality, a reality missing in the others.
I don’t know what happened to all the old photos of
my family. I wonder if the parents in these ones are
still arguing about the thermostat, children, television
channels. Or if the photos are the detritus of divorce,
death? Do you think this LBJ era ephemera is worthy
of preservation when so much else is disappearing?

I bought a dollar’s worth of photos, I can’t say why.


Ralph J. Long Jr. is the author of the chapbook, A Democracy Divided (The Poetry Box, 2018). His work has appeared in Stoneboat Literary Journal, The Poeming Pigeon, The Avocet and the anthology Ambrosia: A Conversation About Food. He graduated from Haverford College and lives in Oakland California.