Beans and Rice, with a Poem

I recently discovered a new poem. One of the benefits of reading voraciously is that you are constantly learning, traveling, unearthing, sharing, exploring, questioning, wandering, growing, and discovering. And aren’t those some of the best bits of life? Some of the very actions that give us meaning and purpose?

Poet, performer, librettist, and professor Douglas Kearney read the poem in an online course I was taking (“Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop” via Coursera), and I immediately fell in love with its exquisite colors and concrete images, simple–though anything but.¬† I replayed Kearney’s reading of the poem several times that week and in so doing discovered another poet to enjoy and introduce to my students–Kearney himself.

And then I did the next obvious thing, the only possible choice….I cooked up a hot, steaming plate of beans and rice (tossing in cilantro, chunks of fresh garlic, and Sriracha for kicks) and devoured the delicious simplicity of the dish.

Enjoy this poem, and then go and cook up some beans and rice of your own to relish. It really doesn’t get much better, does it?

“Red Beans” by Victor Hernandez Cruz

Next  to white rice
it looks like coral
sitting next to snow
Hills of starch
border
The burnt sienna
of irony
Azusenas being chased by
the terra cotta feathers
of a rooster
There is a lava flow
through the smoking
white mounds
India red
spills on ivory
Ochre cannon balls
falling
next to blanc pebbles
Red beans and milk
make burgundy wine
Violet pouring
from the eggshell
tinge of the plate.

 

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