And a side of fried okra, please...
How’s this for poetic inspiration? At about 3 a.m., when I should have been snoozing contentedly, dreaming stanzas, I was in the back seat of a cab hurtling toward Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles because—
1) I’m in Atlanta, where they fry everything but chairs.
2) I’ve always been fascinated by the pairings—hot, sweet, crunchy, doughy, syrup, Tabasco.
3) I’m at AWP, which seems to have brought out some giddy, reckless muse/scoundrel (I call her Caldonia), who doesn’t surface until I’m away from home and surrounded by 20-year-olds who think a good ol’ hefty helping of potential heart attack at 3 a.m. is “fun.”
4) I think there’s a book somewhere that lists chicken & waffles are a black person’s rite of passage. If you can handle ‘em, you can keep your membership card.
Now it is 10:20 a.m., and I am reminded approximately every 23 seconds of my early morning feast. It was best tiny death I’ve ever consumed. I must write about what is happening to my body.
Or my body will win.
Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of seven books of poetry, including Incendiary Art (2017); Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle...