Monday, November 4, 2013


So okay, I’m willing to admit it. Willing to cop to this one embarrassing indulgence….I get the damn magazines for the pictures. Fuck the articles and stories; I greedily finger those glossy pages, my mouth watering, my want building, my eyes devouring what my hands, fingers, lips, tongue can only dream of. I sheepishly slip the plastic off of them when they come…moving slowly at first, much like I would undress a lover….taking the time to marvel in each crease, each uneven bump, letting the cool silkiness rest upon my palms before I cannot wait another second. My pulse quickening, my fingers, my touch less measured, more desperate as my fingers slip between the pages and I pry the object of my desire open and peel away at it like a ripe orange. Flip-flip-flip, “Oh God, I want that” and flip-flip-flip again. You all might “read” for the articles but I am there for the sumptuous flesh, the gratuitous money shots and the way all of it makes my bits tingle.

After undressing one of my lovers I begin flipping, peeling and lusting as always but when my eyes happen to fall upon one page….a page that will send me even deeper into the belly of those glorious beasts and leave me reeling, eyes watering, heart pounding away in my chest as if it were being held hostage. Speechless and floating in and out of my own fleshy memories, nostalgic and pickling in the brine that has both toughened my skin and softened my heart.

“Anything but pancakes” my answer to my mother whenever she would ask what I wanted for dinner. An inside joke and a way for me to stab away at her heart with my preteen angst. Make her feel worse for the plight I felt she had subjected us to. Food. Food was forever an issue with my mother and I, is still an issue with my mother in law and at times with my sweet little sister….baffles me that I can spend hours with some of the most interesting women I know and all they can do is talk about food, in a very negative way. Kills me and is part of the reason I feel like I am gawking at porn when I slip those covers off my food magazines when they arrive.

Years ago I ripped open one of the afore mentioned lovers of mine. Glossy, slick, swollen with the kind of prose that gets me slipping about in my seat. It was Saveur and as I read, Our Daily Bread, a short piece written by Richard Rodriguez my eyes instantly began to water, my heart started its pounding away, my breath sped up and as my eyes rolled over each beautifully and powerfully written word I felt my feet come out from beneath me. His connection to his family’s food, his passion and desire for what it all meant were laying out before me…as naked and honest as any piece of food writing I have ever read and so much like my own unashamed connection to food that it literally brought tears to my eyes. Food, much like wine and lovemaking has never been a simple thing for me. To get me off…. in any of those three areas it takes far more than polish, simple beauty or style…I need to be touched, like truly touched before you can slip inside me and while I can appreciate the beauty in glossy pictures, glossy humans and glossy wines, it takes something more raw, earthy and spread wide open to really inspire me.

“Go grab your sugar cane while Grandma gets some things for herself and Grandpa” the raspy booze and cigarette seasoned voice of my grandmother. I knew even though I really didn’t know what she was going to get…the bottle of Bourbon for him and bottle of Scotch for her. I stood in that market in Rosarito Beach, five or six years old…skin dark brown from hours spent sitting outside the funny smelling, trinket filled, foodless trailer of my ex-pat grandparents. A junk filled silver tube of sadness that rested upon soft beach sand that I felt honored to rub my toes through. I didn’t really know them, didn’t really know their son that had made me possible but I learned early on that Bourbon or Scotch scented kisses meant I was free to wander the friendly streets, the markets whose smells beckoned me and I was able to sit in a stall watching, smelling and tasting freshly made corn tortillas with the sweet Mexican lady that lived down the beach from my grandparents. She called me an angel and used to laugh as I would take out plates of warm, soupy, veggie studded tacos to her waiting patrons, my payment was always a pocket stuffed with still warm from the stone corn tortillas, a kiss on my white blonde head and a pat on the behind as she sent me back to the trailer of the foodless “sleepers”.

Those summers spent in Mexico were the very first to waken my senses, the most vibrant food memories I own, the snappy peppers, the gamey smell of the markets, the thick aromas of overripe fruit and cinnamon. The way a six year old finds joy in something that was shameful and missing for lack of funds at home…food. The chewing on starchy stalks of sugar cane, the tortillas that warmed my skin on my breezy walk on the beach…the sound and smell of the ocean always a soundtrack to my life….always a smell that would conjure up images of freedom, sweetness, sadness and liberation. The curling up on a trailer sofa, letting my tiny fingers slip between the loops in the knitted blanket, looking at my grandmother in her pale blue pant suit sleeping in the chair beside the table that her ice filled, sweaty glass of scotch rested upon…missing the pancakes of home but finding the early bits of this me….this me that you all read now, finding her scared, lonely and finding something soul satisfying in the breathless walk from the stall, the caked on sand clinging to my feet, the toothsome give of a chewy, freshly made tortilla. The aroma of corn, the doughy feel in my mouth on those lonely nights….the kisses I would bestow upon the “relative” stranger as she slept. The feeling when I was back at home and we got the call, “Can you come identify the body?” a grandfather I never really knew, the woman…my mother that took the call, made the drive and did what my “father” would have never been able to. In tomatoes, avocados, onions, cilantro and doughy corn I trust. 

My life, this scent filled, glossy page fondling life of mine started there….sand between my toes, not sleeping, a lust for something, anything pleasurable in a tube of sadness that was saturated with Bourbon, Scotch and the palpable loneliness that I still feel resting upon this heart of mine that seems forever engaged in trying to feel full. I fail, a lot but there is just enough intrigue and inspiration to keep me sniffing, kissing, opening my mouth to roar or to take a bigger, much needed bite....


Thomas said...

You display great passion, Sam.

Oh, and Richard Rodriguez is one of the best writers/essayists around, showing that you have taste in more ways than one.

Samantha Dugan said...

That piece by Rodriguez was so inspiring and powerful to me. Been in a serious slump and lacking anything by way of inspiration as of late, which is why I dug out this old piece and modified it a bit...looking to recapture some of that fire in my belly. Thanks for being here kid...means a lot right now.

webb said...

Sam, your are a darn onion. The more layers you peel off, the more interesting ones there are left underneath.