EATING WITH CHOP STICKS
by Shannon Michael Terry

I prefer eating with chopsticks

Rather than a fork

Like life itself

Chopstick eating is pure mystery

From the moment you pick them up

To the point of capturing your food

you don’t know what will happen next

Most of the time I am successful

feeling a sense of belonging

Ha ha look at me the guylo

Gracefully flying with chop stick ease

Most of the time

Then there are those times when

You find yourself on top of the hill

at the highbrow dining table of the aristocratic ell eat

the madam of the house calling me out

with a challenge

Would you like a fork Sir?

This is why I like to travel to other countries

To get out of my box

to feel uneasy

to allow my

Bones

muscles

and mind

to move in new ways

No

I prefer eating with chopsticks

Thank you

Surrounded by an audience of perfectionist chop stick eaters

From the one year old son

Who gave grace

With his already conditioned ease of the English language

Thank you Jesus thank you Jesus thank you Jesus

Aunts

Uncles

Brothers

Sisters

To the one who writes the laws

For this once simple sea port town

To the now blade runner like megalopolis

Hong Kong

Strange how you can get performance anxiety

From the most simple act

Eating

I was already feeling the heat rising

And the sweat moistening my brow

This of course due to my deficient yang

And to much inner dampness

Dampness

Dampness

So much dampness in

Hong Kong

It was all going quite well

I got through five or six courses

with relative ease

Starting with not the most challenging

though quite challenging and definitely the smallest

Peanuts

Like an archer drawing his bow

I focus my aim

Relaxing

muscles

Fingers

Wrist

Arm

Shoulder

Floating cloud like

No mind

This is the key

again like life

if you sit there and think about it too much

You’re screwed

Is this the right angle

the right timing

Oh I’m going to look stupid

is anyone looking

at that point you will be there for five minutes

For one damn peanut

No mind

in the void

not moving

being moved

For the most challenging foods it’s all about the angle and pressure

The wrong angle

you won’t even get it off the plate it rests on

if you get the right angle

and manage it off the plate

without the right pressure

who knows where the thing will end up

This was the case with the honeydew melon

Yes I made it all the way to dessert

I even received a complement

From the madam

You manage vary well with chop sticks

Thank you

With the melon successfully retrieved

on it’s way to my mouth

shweuuuup

Fling

Too much pressure

Off the sticks

bouncing off the side of my head

the arm of the person next to me

Who I didn’t know

On to the pristine white carpet below

and rolling under the table

Do I get it?

Leave it

Mind

Mind

Mind

O fuck it

I crawled under the table picked it up

And stoically put it on the table next to my plate

While eating with chopsticks you have to be willing to look stupid

Just like life itself

Oh

The food I find most challenging to eat

Chinese broccoli

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