Assignment 5

I wrote this piece for an on-line poetry class I joined in 2002. The timed homework began three minutes from the moment I finished reading  Assignment 5.

The objective: use as many descriptives while writing about “somewhere.” The professor added to place you, the writer, “somewhere” within the context of the piece.

Fun! This class proved to be one of the best writing experiences I ever had the privilege to undertake.

In honor of the current heat wave in the Garden State, I share Assignment 5 with you today.

Antelope Run

The villagers are dressed in red garments embroidered with gold and green thread. The men hold long spears adorned with feathers. The women grind meal in a communal mortar and pestle made of wood and stone. The older women are laughing as they separate beads, teaching the young girls the art of selection.

They gather around a small fire, a paradox in the dry, blistering heat of the open desert. They are landlocked. Here, it’s dry. It’s hot. And yet, the villagers are laughing, enjoying the moment. These people, who have never met the luxury of a Four Seasons Hotel or a Happy Meal for that matter, joyously accept what the day has to offer.

The moment stirred me, a half-Greek, Jersey girl who thought I could never live without a diner within a two-mile radius. I know the staff by name at the diner back home at the Shore. I am sickened as I recall one of the many moments when Rita, an adorable plump waitress, had approached our booth, order pad drawn from pocket and announced, “Sorry Hon, we’re outta the spinach pie.”
“Oh, Rita, I’ll need a few more minutes. There’s too much to choose from darn it!” I would reply.  Necessity, born from lack, forced my attention to the never-ending read of a diner menu.

As I watch native women passing the six-foot pestle to grind supper, I feel deprived. They have the recipe for bliss. And who wouldn’t want to wrap their lips around that juicy morsel?