Tuesday, February 17, 2009

scottish breakfast tea. [onions]

I apologize ahead of time for this post not being as uplifting as some of my other ones have been. Being graduated from college and residing in "the real world"-- which is nothing like MTV's reality show I'll have you know--I am realizing how hard things really are. Trying to pay bills and make enough money to get by is something I thought I was used to--but apparently I wasn't. I'm not going to lay my soul out here on a public blog post, but I needed to post, and there's really nothing else to post about. I have another job now, at the Movie Gallery in Black Mountain--not exactly the job I imagined for myself post-graduation, but it's money and we need it. But we're still struggling. We'll survive I have no doubt about that, but it's exhausting being on this emotional rollar coaster of waiting for paychecks and paying bills.
Last night while I was making caramelized onions for part of dinner, I realized how much it was affecting me. Before chopping the onions, I lit a candle to quell the fumes that always berate my tears ducts, but this time the candle didn't do its job. The onion tears came, and before I could stop what was happening, they became true, sobbingly hot tears running down my face. As I thought about what I was doing and why I was crying this poem came to me. I transcribed from mind to paper this afternoon, and this is what my evening of caramelizing onions turned into.

Uncaramelized Onions

Onion tears turn to real tears as they fall, stinging.
Nobody said it was easy, everyone said it would be this hard.
Listening to The Scientist, the mellow notes do nothing to soothe,
A mere reminder of the tribulation.
Chopping, stirring, to caramelize my onions
Peeling away the layers, things look grim.
Rent, phone, credit cards, school loans—we’ll never have enough.
No amount of sugar can make these onions sweet,
The tears still come.
I burn a candle to stifle the fumes.
Burning a candle never helped anyone—for whom do we burn?
For whom do we burn the candle?
His hand is upon all this,
Why can’t I feel it?
The flame comforts me not, chopping.
Keep stirring the onions, they never stop stinging.
Or maybe I won’t stop weeping.
These tears weren’t supposed to be real.
They are.
Nobody said it was easy, I never thought it would be this hard.


On that note, as a disclaimer, I wanted to tell my readers that I'm okay. This poem is pretty dismal, but it's how I felt at the time. I know everything is going to work itself out, but I still needed my time to wallow. Thanks ahead of time for your concern--but really, I'm fine.

Caitlin

4 comments:

Laura Rebecca said...

I believe, with all sincerity, that poetry may really, truly be one of your callings. I mean that, and I cannot wait to see what else comes forth in the days ahead.

That being said, caramelized onions make me think of those amazing burgers with the avocadoes that you made for us that one time. And that kind of makes me hungry. Particularly for avocadoes. Mmm...

Amethyst said...

Oooh I totally want those burgers, too. SO good.

What a haunting poem. This truly is one of the most beautiful things I think you've ever written.

"we'll never have enough"

How... painful and true and somehow freeing. Does that make sense? We will never have enough. So, rejoice and live in what we have.

I love you!

Ryan said...

Vulnerability is the key to good writing.
You've nailed it.
:)

carolee said...

I was looking for a recipe for making my own Scottish Breakfast Tea, and landed on your post. Your "onion" poem is so beautiful...what a gift first thing in the morning. Yes, the poem is sad. But then so is life in great part.

I am in my seventies and going through the same thing you are, again. I thought waiting for the paycheck to pay the bills was behind me, and here I am again.

I have learned to make do with less and less, waste less, etc. It is actually uplifting to know I don't need all the "things" that contemporary American society tells me I need. Many of us in this country are learning what is truly meaningful in life: friends, family, our homes (and plants and pets), etc.

You will be fine. Just keep going along, and try to live in each moment, enjoy the natural beauty around you, and love the people in your life.

Thanks for the poem.

Carole
Seattle