Retreat–After Some Time Spent Macrobiotic


Retreat–After Some Time Spent Macrobiotic

I wanted to control fate, tried my diet.
I wanted you to not be lying
when you said you loved me, so looked to yin
and yang for answers, as if the singing
of souls might be harmonized and made bright
simply by eschewing milk–it made one cry–
supposedly–even if not spilt–
just as other foods were dogma-bilked
to make one cold, hot, mad. So, I would eat
and not-eat myself to some high state
of calm you would adore. But then we stayed
where cheese was melted much, meditated
for days silently–yogurt–and I,
for reasons too painful to describe,
really needed it–your back, your profile
telling me even across still walkways, halls,
that I could not be your one and only–
I wept, sobbed, knowing it was not the dairy.

A drafty poem, written with slant rhyme (or imperfect rhyme) for my prompt on dVerse Poets Pub and for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads, about pathetic fallacy. Check out the prompts and the wonderful poems they’ve generated.

Process Note–Macrobiotics was/is a dietary program based very loosely/vaguely/dogmatically on ideas of yin and yang and balance, with the idea that certain foods (other than brown rice, and certain lesser amounts of beans, seaweed, locally grown vegetables, pickles) are best avoided for physical, mental and emotional health. The picture above is supposed to be brown rice in a cup/bowl.

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43 Comments on “Retreat–After Some Time Spent Macrobiotic”

  1. brian miller Says:

    we come up with some interesting ways to find control…i will say there is merit to diet affecting our emotional states…had a high functioning autistic kid i worked with that when he we gluten free regained a bit of control in his life….

  2. Ha…the best emotional food one can eat is a sponge cake (made by one of those little old ladies who knows how to make them – not shop bought) with strawberries and fresh whipped cream! Not good for the diet but just a big slice of happiness:)

  3. claudia Says:

    we are what we eat… that’s a german saying and i think in a way it is true.. though i’m not into specific diets i try to buy fresh and local products and avoid sweets…oy…not so easy though..

  4. kathy reed Says:

    A dangerous road to go down, causing harm to our bodies, but the pressures were/are there. Thanks K

  5. margaret Says:

    “I wanted you to not be lying
    when you said you loved me” and so … we diet. Ha.

  6. Dogmatic eating and control.. I’ve come across that.. It was a sense of all or nothing as diets often are.. And often it’s for the wrong reason .. I love how your sketches come out more complete than most other finished work.. 😉

  7. MarinaSofia Says:

    I’m a slovenly Southern European who loves my food too much to be on any restrictive diet. But I luckily love vegetables and fruit, so eat plenty of those, as well as all the rich stuff.
    There is humour as well as pain in this poem – and the parallels between dietary control and control in relationships are so well done.

  8. I too, fear food fads, finding them unsatisfactory fodder for energy. By contrast, your poem is full of energy and feeling. The wordplay works well, too.

  9. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    I love everything about this poem. 🙂

  10. Brendan Says:

    Incredible stuff, the poem and the mad impulse to diet one’s way to happiness — “as if the singing / of souls might be harmonized and made bright / simply by eschewing milk.” “Eschewing” is perfect there, because the assonant paradox is that of chewing milk to make love. As if either, could be so manufactured … Rhyme is air to the poem, so the use of slant rhyme seems so necessary to me I don’t even think or see it any more, but I forget how the device as a tool is so important to learn to wield. And as a prompt theme for this poem, it shows that similitude works in poetry but not so well in love — forsaking eating is not the same as breaking heart-bread together, is it — the slant may be close but never quite enough. But we’re wired that foolish way, aren’t we all … Great stuff, Karin.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you so much, Brendan–for your thoughtful comment. I loved your poem, and thought I commented, but was on one of my infernal devices so maybe didn’t. Will check. Thanks again. k.

  11. Mary Says:

    Very interesting comparisons in this poem. I could never live with a macrobiotic diet. A sad realization here that the fate of one’s relationship was outside of one’s control.

  12. rosross Says:

    This is clever. Living in Africa and having spent many years in the Third World, including India, I am struck by how so many people in the developed world agonise over what they will eat whereas in the undeveloped world, people only agonise over IF they will eat.

    If a food does not agree with you the problem is not the food it is the state of the body and that can always be repaired – not gauranteed but always possible.

    I could never understand Veganism where people seem to turn themselves in knots trying to avoid certain things and yet few give up leather shoes or the various animal glues which much furniture contains. If you feel robust and vibrant on whatever diet then it is no doubt good for you but I know many vegetarians who are much younger than me who seem to be prone to every bug which goes around.

    Food for thought in this poem.:)

  13. wolfsrosebud Says:

    hmmm… I might need to watch what I eat

  14. Sumana Roy Says:

    i like the parallels drawn here…and control is sometimes good (in the case of food) and sometimes not (in relationships)…it was a fun read….

  15. Helen Says:

    Waging war with food leads to all manner of chaos … Slant poetry and pathetic fallacy suit your tastes quite nicely I must say ….

  16. hedgewitch Says:

    Ah, perfect slant rhyme (dogma-bilked!–great usage) and cadence here, k–as Brendan points out,’eschew’ is a brilliant word choice and that line very achy and real. I would say this is a very strong poem, not just because you are using your best brushes, but because it instantly goes from the writer’s experience and narrative to something the reader is personally experiencing–at least this reader. You take me back with this one to my first husband–wanting so hard to be zen and balanced, which is very hard when drinking a fifth of whiskey every night–and how I sought to emulate all that all the while feeling it full of philosophical(and physical) holes. This really takes a concept and embodies it with so many human parallels that it becomes much more than just a way of dieting, or even thinking, but a thing in itself to face, fight, or somehow deal with–I am thinking you really did well with both slant and pathetic fallacy in this one.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. It is quite pathetic. I realize it has a typo too! Foods I meant with the dogma-bilked. (I liked that one too, and thought you would like.) k.

  17. Gabriella Says:

    I could never go on this kind of diet. It is far too restrictive for my own liking. Amusing parallel between dairy and relationship.

  18. Susan Says:

    Bravo! This poem moved me with its capture of the desperation that seeks alchemy for love. I had to look back to capture the slant rhyme as the content was so captivating. Just lovely and true. It certainly is not the yogurt, never the yogurt.

  19. grapeling Says:

    I believe that’s the first yogurt poem I’ve read, and immediately wondered if you’d pair it with yoga, which, it seems, might actually fit in the theme. Seeing if I can rustle something up for your prompt, but the well’s been dry as the sky here of late. ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Yoga certainly would fit. I was trying to keep the poem to sonnet length, but it got away with me–

      Always so happy to see your work, but certainly don’t worry about the prompt.


  20. Raivenne Says:

    Ugh, the joy and pain, of trying to diet, to control that which society and not nature dictate is the norm.

  21. There is so much to take away from this poem, and I for one am taking this with me:

    as if the singing
    of souls might be harmonized and made bright
    simply by eschewing milk–it made one cry–

    This is a poem young people should read – those that believe changing something about themselves will make the object of their affections love them more profoundly.. It is not the dairy.

  22. Glenn Buttkus Says:

    1000 pounds off & on over 70 years, not blessed with a high metabolism, & now disabled ( cross of the D & you get Is-able)
    so most common exercise is not possible, your poem resonates with me on so many levels. Your near-rhyming is sly, and the message is clear; lovely, sad message, fun to read.

  23. I really enjoyed this poem. The meaning hit home for me. Sometimes I want to change to please others only to find I lose myself or they do not appreciate the change or I end up feeling angry that I would allow myself to be someone else. I find that being true to myself feels the best even if we lose someone or something along the way. I often find that once it is gone, I struggle to find it’s original value. Hang in there.

  24. billgncs Says:

    the comfort of food is fleeting

  25. Grace Says:

    Very clever with the use of food K ~ Admiring the slant rhymes (I think mine is not all 100% though, ha) ~ Thanks for the interesting challenge ~

  26. Bryan Ens Says:

    It really is too bad that we can’t change the world around us through our diet (unless it would involve giving up bacon)

  27. Imelda Says:

    It is a bit sad that food trends have somewhat spoiled one’s enjoyment of food. I know that there is need for more awareness about what we eat, but I think there is something wrong when one feels so bad after a bit of food indulgence.

    I like the pa.rallelism here between food and relationships.

  28. I can never diet. I eat more by just thinking about the word ‘diet.’

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