The only drink I like ice in is water, because you can’t water down water. I’m like that with love, too. Don’t you dare add any ice to the hot liquid loving I’m trying to pour all over you.
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The only drink I like ice in is water, because you can’t water down water. I’m like that with love, too. Don’t you dare add any ice to the hot liquid loving I’m trying to pour all over you.

-Jarod Kintz

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DADDYYou do not do, you do not doAny more, black shoeIn which I have lived like a footFor thirty years, poor and white,Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.Daddy, I have had to kill you.You died before I had time―Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,Ghastly statue with one grey toeBig as a Frisco sealAnd a head in the freakish AtlanticWhen it pours bean green over blueIn the waters of beautiful Nauset.I used to pray to recover you.Ach, du.In the German tongue, in the Polish townScraped flat by the rollerOf wars, wars, wars.But the name of the town is common.My Polack friendSays there are a dozen or two.So I never could tell where youPut your foot, your root,I never could talk to you.The tongue stuck in my jaw.It stuck in a barb wire snare.Ich, ich, ich, ich,I could hardly speak.I thought every German was you.And the language obsceneAn engine, an engineChuffing me off like a Jew.A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.I began to talk like a Jew.I think I may well be a Jew.The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of ViennaAre not very pure or true.With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luckAnd my Taroc pack and my Taroc packI may be a bit of a Jew.I have always been scared of you,With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.And your neat mustacheAnd your Aryan eye, bright blue.Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You―Not God but a swastikaSo black no sky could squeak through.Every woman adores a Fascist,The boot in the face, the bruteBrute heart of a brute like you.You stand at the blackboard, daddy,In the picture I have of you,A cleft in your chin instead of your footBut no less a devil for that, no notAnd less the black man whoBit my pretty red heart in two.I was ten when they buried you.At twenty I tried to dieAnd get back, back, back to you.I thought even the bones would do.But they pulled me out of the sack,And they stuck me together with glue.And then I knew what to do.I made a model of you,A man in black with a Meinkampf lookAnd a love of the rack and the screw.And I said I do, I do.So daddy, I’m finally through.The black telephone’s off at the root,The voices just can’t worm through.If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two―The vampire who said he was youAnd drank my blood for a year,Seven years, if you want to know.Daddy, you can lie back now.There’s a stake in your fat black heartAnd the villagers never like you.They are dancing and stamping on you.They always knew it was you.Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

-Sylvia Plath

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If loneliness or sadness or happiness could be expressed through food, loneliness would be basil. It’s not good for your stomach, dims your eyes, and turns your mind murky. If you pound basil and place a stone over it, scorpions swarm toward it. Happiness is saffron, from the crocus that blooms in the spring. Even if you add just a pinch to a dish, it adds an intense taste and a lingering scent. You can find it anywhere but you can’t get it at any time of the year. It’s good for your heart, and if you drop a little bit in your wine, you instantly become drunk from its heady perfume. The best saffron crumbles at the touch and instantaneously emits its fragrance. Sadness is a knobby cucumber, whose aroma you can detect from far away. It’s tough and hard to digest and makes you fall ill with a high fever. It’s porous, excellent at absorption, and sponges up spices, guaranteeing a lengthy period of preservation. Pickles are the best food you can make from cucumbers. You boil vinegar and pour it over the cucumbers, then season with salt and pepper. You enclose them in a sterilized glass jar, seal it, and store it in a dark and dry place.WON’S KITCHEN. I take off the sign hanging by the first-floor entryway. He designed it by hand and silk-screened it onto a metal plate. Early in the morning on the day of the opening party for the cooking school, he had me hang the sign myself. I was meaning to give it a really special name, he said, grinning, flashing his white teeth, but I thought Jeong Ji-won was the most special name in the world. He called my name again: Hey, Ji-won.He walked around the house calling my name over and over, mischievously — as if he were an Eskimo who believed that the soul became imprinted in the name when it was called — while I fried an egg, cautiously sprinkling grated Emmentaler, salt, pepper, taking care not to pop the yolk. I spread the white sun-dried tablecloth on the coffee table and set it with the fried egg, unsalted butter, blueberry jam, and a baguette I’d toasted in the oven. It was our favorite breakfast: simple, warm, sweet. As was his habit, he spread a thick layer of butter and jam on his baguette and dunked it into his coffee, and I plunked into my cup the teaspoon laced with jam, waiting for the sticky sweetness to melt into the hot, dark coffee.I still remember the sugary jam infusing the last drop of coffee and the moist crumbs of the baguette lingering at the roof of my mouth. And also his words, informing me that he wanted to design a new house that would contain the cooking school, his office, and our bedroom. Instead of replying, I picked up a firm red radish, sparkling with droplets of water, dabbed a little butter on it, dipped it in salt, and stuck it into my mouth. A crunch resonated from my mouth. Hoping the crunch sounded like, Yes, someday, I continued to eat it. Was that the reason I equated a fresh red radish with sprouting green tops, as small as a miniature apple, with the taste of love? But if I cut into it crosswise like an apple, I wouldn't find the constellation of seeds.

-Kyung-ran Jo

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I used to think Romeo and Juliet was the greatest love story ever written. But now that I’m middle-aged, I know better. Oh, Romeo certainly thinks he loves his Juliet. Driven by hormones, he unquestionably lusts for her. But if he loves her, it’s a shallow love. You want proof? Soon after meeting her for the first time, he realizes he forgot to ask her for her name. Can true love be founded upon such shallow acquaintance? I don’t think so. And at the end, when he thinks she’s dead, he finds no comfort in living out the remainder of his life within the paradigm of his love, at least keeping alive the memory of what they had briefly shared, even if it was no more than illusion, or more accurately, hormonal. Yes, those of us watching events unfold from the darkness know she merely lies in slumber. But does he seek the reason for her life-like appearance? No. Instead he accuses Death of amorousness, convinced that the ‘lean abhorred monster’ endeavors to keep Juliet in her present state, cheeks flushed, so that she might cater to his own dissolute desires. But does Romeo hold her in his arms one last time and feel the warmth of her blood still coursing through her veins? Does he pinch her to see if she might awaken? Does he hold a mirror to her nose to see if her breath fogs it? Once, twice, three times a ‘no.’ His alleged love is so superficial and so selfish that he seeks to escape the pain of loss by taking his own life. That’s not love, but infatuation. Had they wed―Juliet bearing many children, bonding, growing together, the masks of the star-struck teens they once were long ago cast away, basking in the love born of a lifetime together―and she died of natural causes, would Romeo have been so moved to take his own life, or would he have grieved properly for her loss and not just his own.―J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings, The Cobb Legacy, January's Paradigm, One Hot January, January's Thaw, A Retrospect in Death (forthcoming) and 500 Miles to Go (forthcoming)

-J. Conrad

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