A Really Big Lunch

Jim was hungry, thirsty, joyously friendly, and characteristically overeager for the first course to come out of the kitchen. Jim’s appetite was legendary, and nothing makes a cook quite so happy as someone who exists entirely to eat—and when not eating, to talk about eating, to hunt and fish for things to eat, or to spend time after eating talking about what we just ate. […]

Jim and I shared many qualities: an unending appetite, inhaling life to the full chorizo, finding hilarious and playful nuance in every breath and every moment, but I always was and remain the student. Jim was sharper, more in tune with the distant cry of the loon over the lake while fishing on a lazy Tuesday morning, more sensitive to the moonlight over Washington Square Park on a dusk walk toward the Babbo apartment, where he sometimes stayed. Jim lived art not as a method to distill his thoughts but as a categorical way of understanding life, a quest to quench an insatiable thirst for all it put before him. And to share that understanding with any and every person he met. […]

Jim once wrote of a character, “He’s literally taking bites out of the sun, moon, and earth,” which is what he himself spent a lifetime doing. Damn, he was my hero.

~ Mario Batali, from “Inhaling Life” (The New Yorker, March 18, 2017). This text was drawn from the introduction to “A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand,” by Jim Harrison, which is out on March 24th.

Hearty Soup

Yes,
I like seven pounds of short ribs and
twenty-three cloves of garlic in barley soup.
Some will settle for less
but they’re not writing barley poems.

~ Jim Harrison, from “Courage and Survival” (Brick, November, 26, 2012)


Notes: Photo: thefoodcharlatan.com. Quote: Thank you The Hammock Papers

T.G.I.F.: Teetering on yourself

teeter-chair-jpg

You push yourself to the edge
until you become the edge and teeter on yourself–
but there is no edge,
only new modes of consciousness swimming into one another.

~ Jim Harrison, from “A Natural History of Some Poems,” Just Before Dark: Collected Nonfiction

 


Notes: Poem source: Memory’s Landscape. Photography: No boundaries by Monique (via Mennyfox55)

This morning I’m thinking of recounting mine

heart

I heard on the radio that
we creatures have about a billion and a half heartbeats to use.
Voles and birds use theirs fast…
while whales and elephants are slower.
This morning I’m thinking of
recounting mine to see exactly where I am…

~ Jim Harrison, from “Sunday Discordancies” in In Search of Small Gods


Photo: Cover of Pijn via amespeciale

Small Gods

meditation-woman-hair

My hope is that this minuscule prayer
will reach out to the god unknown I just sensed
passing in the rivulet of breeze above the mere rivulet
of water in this small arroyo. To the skittering insect
this place is as large as the Sea of Galilee.
In prayer I’m a complicated insect, moving
this way and that. The insect before me puzzles
over its current god, my dog Zilpha, who watches
with furrowed brow and thinks, “Should I paw
at this bug in this shallow pool, bite it, roll
on it in this tiny creek in the late afternoon heat,
or perhaps take another nap?” She looks at her god,
which is me, understanding as her eyes close
that the gods make up their minds as they go.
They are as patient as the water in which they live,
and won’t be surprised when they reach the sea
with their vast collection of reflections, the man, the dog,
the stars and moon and clouds, the javelina and countless
birds, bugs and minnows, the delicate sips of rattlers,
the boughs of mesquite, the carapace of the desert tortoise,
the heron footprints, the water’s memories of earth.

~ Jim Harrison, “Small Gods” from In Search of Small Gods

 


Photograph: meditation by carlos.odeh (via newthom)

Dawn in the north. His nose stalks the air.

coffee

I want to describe my life
in hushed tones
like a TV nature program.
Dawn in the north.
His nose stalks the air
for newborn coffee.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

 


Notes: Photo via Your Eyes Blaze Out

Walking Cross-Town. With Scruffy Shoes.

shoe-shine-stand

Tuesday morning. It’s early. I’m walking down the tunnel at Grand Central Station. The air is heavy, the mammoth air conditioners have not yet fired up. I punch through the day’s calendar as I walk: Light.

I look down at my shoes. Scruffy.  Light Day, nothing major looming, scruffy shoes.

I accelerate the pace, the step counter on my watch silently records the activity. I stare at the watch face as the counter tracks each step, and marvel at the technology. I speed up and slow down, speed up and slow down, the step counter with me with each step.  What a child.

I walk by the shoe shine stand. It’s not yet 6 a.m. They are setting up:  A middle aged man and his wife (?) of Central American (?) origin. I slow, but decide I don’t have time to wait, and keep walking.

He catches the flicker of my interest, not unlike the habits of thousands of commuters who walk by, slow their pace, and think: Do I have time? Do I stop? Or some other time?

“Sir, please. Come. I can help you.”

[Read more…]

Seared into Flesh

cow-hug

This insomniac is scanning the early morning papers. It’s becoming a 3 a.m. ritual.

My right index finger swipes through the Photos of the Day. Another ritual.

I freeze here. Right here on the dairy farmer from Budapest.

And like Marilynne Robinson in Housekeeping, where every memory is turned over and over again, and eventually becomes flesh.  Or Jim Harrison in Golden Window where memory is more vivid than life. Memories begin to roll backwards.

The dairy cows laying under shade trees in pastures lining I-77 S.
The docile cows chewing their cud on the side streets in New Delhi.
The black dairy cows on the towering mountain hillsides in Geneva.
The dairy cows (“Maggie & Betsy”) on our hobby farm growing up, waiting for their 5 a.m. milking.

But no, it wasn’t these memories that seared the flesh.

It was this one.
[Read more…]

Far from the metallic fever of clocks

birds-fly-pair-two

I hope to define my life, whatever is left,
by migrations, south and north with the birds
and far from the metallic fever of clocks,
the self staring at the clock saying, “I must do this.”
I can’t tell the time on the tongue of the river
in the cool morning air, the smell of the ferment
of greenery, the dust off the canyon’s rock walls,
the swallows swooping above the scent of raw water.

~ Jim Harrison from “The Golden Window” in In Search of Small Gods

Jim Harrison passed away on March 26, 2016


Notes: Photo – Your Eyes Blaze Out. Poem: Thank you Rob Firchau @ Hammock Papers

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

ship-anchor

I can’t quarrel with the limitations which are part of me—everybody has the severest of limitations. You are ultimately what you collectively wish to be. When someone says they could be so much more, I say, well you better get started right now, who’s stopping you?  Face it, there’s an anchor tied to your ass.

~ Jim Harrison, Conversations with Jim Harrison


Notes:

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