Poetry from Reena Ribalow’s “The Smoke of Dreams”

I first encountered Reena Ribalow’s accomplished poetry when she won the 2008 prize for traditional verse at Winning Writers. Born in New York City, she makes her home in Israel, and her work is strongly influenced by Jewish tradition. Her first full-length book, The Smoke of Dreams, was published last year by Neopoiesis Press. This stately, melancholy collection of poems is steeped in sensual memories of bittersweet love, be it for a holy city or a forbidden affair. Her roots are planted in Jerusalem, sacred and war-torn, harsh and captivating. Her more personal poems show the same mix of pleasure and pain in romantic relationships. One way or another, history is inescapable. Reena has kindly permitted me to reprint a poem from The Smoke of Dreams here.

Desert Light

Was it Cezanne who said, “God is light,”
and went South to paint?
Or was it someone else who did not know
that we can take only so much light,
without going crazy?
The slant of afternoon in a dim room,
the dazzle after a passing cloud,
a radiance through shifting leaves,
is all that we can bear.

Here people are mad with light,
their nerves raw with it,
their eyes irradiated;
they cannot see right.
Shadows disappear from streets
without dimension,
with nowhere to hide.
Light hunts us down,
relentless as the Law.

Some plants survive, some thrive,
some play dead by noon light,
wakening to moist life
in the seducing dark.

The light of Europe hints,
suggesting immanence.
Civility infuses light:
the safety of umbrellas, of cloudy parks,
of rooms that hold their breath,
gilded with motes of gold;
this is easy, this wears well.

The prophets were born to desert light,
crazed with it, dooming us
to a surfeit of holiness.

We endure, odd growths
on a sun-battered land.
Saints, madmen, artists
offer their strange and mutant fruit.
Eat of it, they plead,
and know in every cell
the terrible truth:
that God is everywhere.

Two Poems from Alan King’s “Point Blank”

My first poetry book recommendation of the year is Alan King’s Point Blank, published in 2016 by Silver Birch Press. A three-time Pushcart nominee, King is a Caribbean-American poet, the son of immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago. His family roots give his poetry a robust and celebratory quality, whether he’s writing about the spices of home cooking, the seductive musical soundtrack of his parents’ marriage, or the father-son dynamic of power struggles and wordless affection. King appreciates women’s sensuality in a way that reminds me of the late great musician Prince, an unashamed desire that has enough reverence in it to avoid objectification. Yet certainly the life of a black man in America is far from idyllic, as King shows in his powerful narrative poems about racist microaggressions and police shakedowns. His relationships with his family and students sustain his life force in an environment that is ready to dehumanize all of them.

Point Blank is a pleasurable read that is also an important document of black American life today. He kindly shares two poems from the collection below. Visit his blog for poetry videos and essays on social issues.

Bound

On the bus in rush hour, he enters
with the brim of his baseball cap
over his left ear, where a snubbed out
Black & Mild sits like an aromatic
marker with its black tip exposed.

You checked the weather today.
Cloudy skies with a chance of rain.
Your boss called you into his office,
talked about the economy and running
a struggling paper, how he’s got to let you go.

Think of it as a paid vacation,
he said. You look up at the guy
with the Yankees cap and phone to his ear.
I’m on my way, babe.

His smile says his destination
is a garden hidden in a labyrinth,
where the sun slides its iridescent tongue
over a tamarind-colored woman,
oiling her skin while she sleeps
among orchids and birds of paradise.

You imagine that garden
on the other side of your front door,
where you’ll open like morning glories
when your wife
descends on you like dew.

****
Freeze

A man sits handcuffed on the curb
while his trunk and back seat are searched.

You watch from across the street,
heading to your car. His woman
was making a Malaysian chicken dish, sent him
to pick up coconut milk and curry.

It’s night. The sound of car tires
on wet street makes you think of paper
torn slow in long strips.

The officers, thorough in their search,
remind you of thieves you once saw.

You couldn’t say what you felt,
watching them take their time,
as if instead of searching for money and CDs
they were detailing the interior.

The man is every WANTED poster
you saw on TV, in the papers,
in post offices.

He is that night years ago.
When you followed your mom to return a rental,
and lost her in traffic, when the red and blue
flashes made you
a cornered cat.

You tense up when that moment
on the street gets just as close. Your keys
in one hand, sorbet and cookies in the other.

At the sight of what flashed in his mirror,
he knew he was tagged in a game older
than Jim Crow. Tonight, the sirens
and police lights say, Get off the street
unless you want trouble, too.

But the wind shoves you down the block,
muscling you back to your car
and to everything you love. You think
of the handcuffed brother
and his woman growing restless,
trying not to worry.

Poets in Memoriam: Ritvo, Kelly, Perillo

Today, November 1, is All Saints’ Day in the Episcopal Calendar, when we honor and commune with our dead. In our tradition, saints are not only the officially canonized heroes of the church, but all members of the community, just as we are “a priesthood of all believers”. This fall, the American poetry community lost several notable figures I’d like to mention on the blog.

Max Ritvo studied under Louise Glück at Yale, taught poetry at Columbia University, and was an editor of Parnassus. His collection Four Reincarnations appeared posthumously from Milkweed Editions. In August, he died at 25 from a rare pediatric cancer, which was the subject of many of his dazzling, edgy poems. Read more about him in his New York Times obituary. I discovered his work in the Iowa Review just days before I learned of his passing. In “Leisure-Loving Man Suffers Untimely Death”, he wrote:

Sure, I wish my imagination well,
wherever it is. But now

I have sleep to fill. Every night
I dream I have a bucket

and move clear water from a hole
to a clear ocean. A robot’s voice barks

This is sleep. This is sleep.
I’d drink the water, but I’m worried the next

night I’d regret it.
I might need every last drop. Nobody will tell me.

Boston Review in 2015 featured a seven-poem sampler of his work, selected by Lucie Brock-Broido. Here is the beginning of “Afternoon”:

When I was about to die
my body lit up
like when I leave my house
without my wallet.
What am I missing? I ask
patting my chest
pocket.
and I am missing everything living
that won’t come with me
into this sunny afternoon
—my body lights up for life
like all the wishes being granted in a fountain
at the same instant—
all the coins burning the fountain dry—
and I give my breath
to a small bird-shaped pipe.
My favorite is “Poem to My Litter”, published in The New Yorker this past June. In tones that are tender, sardonic, and melancholy, this poem addresses the laboratory mice that have been engineered to carry his tumors in hopes of finding a cure.

I want my mice to be just like me. I don’t have any children.
I named them all Max. First they were Max 1, Max 2,

but now they’re all just Max. No playing favorites.
They don’t know they’re named, of course.

They’re like children you’ve traumatized
and tortured so they won’t let you visit.

I hope, Maxes, some good in you is of me.
Even my suffering is good, in part.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly received the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and numerous other honors. She passed away last month at the age of 65. When the news broke, my poet friends on Facebook shared many of her sensual, profound poems. I was especially moved by “The Leaving”, from her debut collection, To the Place of Trumpets. It begins, “My father said I could not do it,/but all night I picked the peaches.” Instead of a literal narrative about girl power or individuation, though, the harvest becomes a mythic task that stands in for every occasion when faithfulness to mundane work brought us into transcendence:

I put the peaches in the pond’s cold water,
all night up the ladder and down, all night my hands
twisting fruit as if I were entering a thousand doors,
all night my back a straight road to the sky.
And then out of its own goodness, out
of the far fields of the stars, the morning came,
and inside me was the stillness a bell possesses
just after it has been rung, before the metal
begins to long again for the clapper’s stroke.

In a similar vein, she wrote in “Blessed is the Field”:

In the late heat the snakeroot and goldenrod run high,
White and gold, the steaming flowers, green and gold,
The acid-bitten leaves….It is good to say first

An invocation. Though the words do not always
Seem to work. Still, one must try. Bow your head.
Cross your arms. Say: Blessed is the day. And the one

Who destroys the day. Blessed is this ring of fire
In which we live….How bitter the burning leaves.
How bitter and sweet.

Lucia Perillo was a MacArthur Foundation fellow and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her 2010 collection Inseminating the Elephant. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 30, she passed away in October at the age of 58. From the New York Times obituary:

In an interview for The American Poetry Review in 2014, she presented her situation straightforwardly. Asked about battling her disease, she said: “I don’t battle M.S. I relent to its humiliations.” How did she manage not to fall into despair? “I’ve already fallen. This is the voice from the swamp.

The above-cited interview includes the poem “A Revelation”, which begins with the narrator watching prostitutes in Nevada buying their groceries. She concludes:

…If you follow
any one of the apparitions far enough–the
fallen ones, the idolaters, the thieves
and liars–you will find that beauty, a
cataclysmic beauty
rising off the face of a burning landscape
just before the appearance of the beast, the
beauty
that is the flower of our dying into another life.
Like a Mobius strip: you go round once
and you come out on the other side.
There is no alpha, no omega,
no beginning and no end.
Only the ceaseless swell
and fall of sunlight on those rusted hills.
Watch the way brilliance turns
on darkness. How can any of us be damned.

May these poets be blessed in the next world as they have blessed us here. Lux perpetua luceat eis.

Sisters in Healing: Poetry from Margaret Gish Miller’s “Blood Moon Weather”

English Literature teacher Margaret Gish Miller may be retired, but she’s not resting on her laurels. At age 70, she has published her first poetry collection, Blood Moon Weather, through Dancing Moon Press. In it she lovingly depicts the bond between sisters healing from paternal incest, and looks back with wisdom and self-acceptance at the formative moments of her growth to womanhood.

The poems are written in a simple narrative mode, without stylistic tricks, yet a close reading reveals how nonlinear and complex the story really is. The gaps between facts are not visible on the page but in the mind. Small sensory details and isolated events are vividly remembered while the significance of their juxtaposition is left for the reader to ponder, like retrieving a traumatic memory in non-chronological fragments. At times the incompleteness left me unsatisfied, wanting to know the context for an anecdote, or to draw closer to characters who fascinate from a distance. But this is the kind of personal material that a writer often has to approach in stages, relieved, as here, with lighter and life-affirming poems about love and desire in her long marriage.

Margaret has kindly allowed me to reprint a sample poem below. Read Ed Bennett’s positive review in the July 2016 issue of Quill & Parchment.

Jellyfish

Like lingerie
suspended in
space inside
an aquarium

their pastels delicate,
soft as roses with thorns.
For they say jellyfish

have no heart and
sting in self-
preservation, a part

of their seductive
water dance.
I must have

had the heart
of a jellyfish
at twelve.

For that man, in his
fisherman’s fascination,
caught me. Kept me
as his own. And I
repeatedly stung
myself for this.

This debris
of my heart so sore
I soar into this space

and time
to gather the girl
that was you.

Poetry by Donal Mahoney: “High School in the Fifties”

Reiter’s Block subscriber Donal Mahoney offers us this thoughtful poem prompted by this weekend’s hate crime against queer Latin@ clubgoers in Orlando.

High School in the Fifties

In my all-boys school
sixty years ago there were
two boys who were different.
All four years they walked
to classes together, books
clasped to their chests
the way girls walked home
carrying theirs.

I never saw another
classmate talk to them,
perhaps because like me
they didn’t know what to say
or they had nothing to say.
But I never heard anyone
talk about them either.
It was as if they weren’t there.

Now 60 years later
the school sends out
alumni updates and lists
the two of them as missing
and asks if anyone might
know where they are.
I doubt that anyone does.
We didn’t know where
they were back then.

***

Author’s note: “Donal Mahoney attended a Roman Catholic boys-only high school in the early fifties. The Orlando massacre reminded him of two apparently gay classmates from six decades ago. There were probably other gays in the school as well who did not fit the same stereotype. These two classmates were never picked on to his knowledge and they were not shunned, either. He feels to this day straight kids at that time simply did not know how to communicate with them nor had any interest in doing so just as there were some straight kids who did not ‘fit in’ as well. There was no bullying because neither the administration nor the students would have tolerated that kind of behavior. If you wanted to heckle someone, he had to appear to be your equal physically. It was not a good time for anyone who was different but maybe just a little better than today.”

I wonder about that last claim. Speaking for myself, even in the 1980s, in a liberal arts school in Brooklyn, I didn’t know any students who were “out”, though in retrospect I can guess at a few. That didn’t make it a safe space from bullies, by any means. One could argue that with greater visibility comes greater backlash, but perhaps there were just as many hate crimes that were not reported as such, because sexual and gender identities were not an acceptable discussion topic. Our erasure from history is a loss that continues to affect the current generation of LGBTQ kids. In any case, I appreciate this poem’s effort to bring those long-ago boys into the light of acceptance and truth.

Winners of the 2016 ASPS David Kato Prize for LGBT-Themed Poetry

David Kato was an Ugandan activist for the rights of sexual minorities, who was killed in a probable hate crime in 2011. For several years since then, I’ve sponsored this prize for poems on the theme of LGBT human rights, as part of the Alabama State Poetry Society award series. Thanks to award coordinator Jerri Hardesty, 2016 First Prize winner Christine Riddle, and Third Prize winner Lynn Veach Sadler, for permission to reprint these winning entries. (The last line of each stanza of Christine’s poem is indented; apologies if that does not show up properly on this blog template.)

Defixio in the Heartland
by Christine Riddle

A curse tablet or binding spell (‘defixio’ in Latin) is a type of curse found throughout the Graeco-Roman world, in which someone would ask the gods to do harm to others. These texts were typically scratched on very thin sheets of lead in tiny letters, then placed in tombs or nailed to the walls of temples. Some texts do not invoke the gods, but merely list the target of the curse, the crime and the intended ill to befall them.

Elvis is dead,
and Barney and Floyd,
Bella, Princess, and Ethel.
And Buddy, still wobbly on legs one week old,
and Love, ironically, full with foal.

Epona alone the vigil kept
that Paschal eve. As Lucifer crept
from stall to stall,
she crafted from her cloak nine palls.
With roses white she plaited manes,
anointed with her tears each blaze,
fed them apples from her lap,
and stroked the cat.

But where was god that Easter morn
when daybreak found the stable door,
when dawn exposed the binding spell,
seared and scorched but legible,
“FAGGOTS ARE FREAKS” “BURN IN HELL”,
when loving a man was deemed the sin
that sparked the blaze made starlight dim,
and trapped the innocents within?

I’d like to think that at sunrise,
to consecrate the sacrifice,
as feathered cantors’ chants arose
he joined the blessed requiem
amid the smoldering skeletons,
and sang their spirits home again.
And sang their spirits home.

****

He/She
by Lynn Veach Sadler

He was my mentee in poetry.
A brilliant nerd, IT Specialist.
I was the first to cotton to the coming change,
had some small part in helping prepare the way,
was proud that a computer whiz would be female,
that a poet would have the opportunity
to live and sing the lives of male and female.

People talked, pointed fingers,
Though he had been appreciated, even loved,
for his long hours, individual help,
extraordinary expertise…

He/She was quiet, dignified,
kept all under wraps as those in power cautioned
until consent was gained to show herself
in heels, wig, dress…And she was (is) beautiful.

All seemed well when my husband and I moved away.
Then I heard that she’d been fired. I quested,
learned the story from her, was pledged to secrecy
but know the hurt, the plunge not just to ignominy
but poverty. She’s doing whatever job she can find,
now wearing Stoic, intent upon surviving
(will survive if worth and goodness have their day).
Will funding be found to complete the change?

We received a Christmas card from a friend
at the place we moved from,
the place where He/She used to work.
Among the enclosed messages was this:
He/She “got fired because of her alleged
inclination to watch porno on the computer.”
Not so!

Poetry by David Kherdian: “I didn’t want to protect myself”

Armenian-American poet David Kherdian has written over 70 books and edited three major anthologies of ethnic American literature. His most recent publications are the memoir Root River Return (Beech Hill Publishing, 2015) and Living in Quiet: New and Selected Poems (Deerbrook Editions, 2013). Reviewer Ricker Windsor said of Kherdian’s work: “He grasps and is able to express the most important feelings, those that constantly escape the net of expression…David Kherdian’s poetry is evocative of past time, of a simpler world, of memory we can taste”.

This poem speaks to me of how I would like to live, if I had the courage: with an open heart, gratitude, and faith. At a time when complex creeds leave me cold, these are words to refresh my soul. David has kindly given me permission to share it here.

I didn’t want to protect myself

I didn’t want to protect myself
by seeking perfection against the
accidental onslaughts of time–
but instead to move imperfectly
through it all, not to be the best
or the only, or the one to watch,
but rather the beggar of mercy
and grace, finding new hope
in each disappointment
believing against reason
(against what the senses
said could not be) that there
was an order beyond this
disorder, that there was
a truth beyond this lie:
and that I was included
in its design,
that could not be seen
or named
but could be believed in,
if one believed that one
was loved.

 

Valentine’s Day “Special of the Day” Poetry by Donal Mahoney

I celebrated Shrove Tuesday, a/k/a Mardi Gras, in traditional Episcopalian fashion yesterday with amazing chocolate chip pancakes at Miss Florence Diner. The waitress in this Valentine’s Day poem from Donal Mahoney would be right at home there. And in case you’re wondering, I still observe Lent, and this year I’m giving up self-doubt about my writing and skepticism about my spiritual practices. Let the magic begin.

Special of the Day

It’s Rocky’s Diner
but it’s Brenda’s counter,
been that way for 10 years.
Brenda has her regulars
who want the Special of the Day.
They know the week is over

when it’s perch on Friday.
Her drifters don’t care about
the Special of the Day.
They want Brenda instead
but she’s made it clear
she’s not available.

Her regular customers tip well.
Long ago, they gave up
trying to see her after work.
After awhile her drifters go
to the diner down the street
to see if the waitress there

is any more hospitable.
Brenda’s regulars don’t know
she has three kids her mother
watched every day until Brenda
took a vacation out of town,
then came back and helped her

mother find a place of her own.
Now Brenda’s back at the diner,
serving her regulars and
discouraging her drifters,
while Marsha, her bride,
watches the kids.

Blow It Out Your Sinatra: Poems from Paul Fericano’s “The Hollywood Catechism”

The cover of Paul Fericano’s poetry collection The Hollywood Catechism (Silver Birch Press, 2015) shows a smoldering black-and-white movie still of Burt Lancaster as con-artist preacher Elmer Gantry, with his bedroom eyes and well-thumped Bible. This characteristically American blend of flim-flam, movie idols, and popular Christianity sets the tone of this entertaining and original book.

Many of these poems would be considered light verse, like the opening number, “The Actor’s Creed”:

…I believe in the Holy Spielberg,
the holy casting couch,
the communion of press agents,
the forgiveness of Sally Field,
the resurrection of my career,
and life everlasting without Tom Hanks.
Amen.

The real joke is how easily these wisecracks fall into the rhythm of familiar prayers that we repeat without much thought. We might as well be praying to Spielberg–he’s got more money than God, as they say. Like the characters in our childhood Bible stories, celebrities occupy a realm between reality and fantasy. Even when we lose faith in them, they retain some of their glamour, their power to make us nostalgic for the simple joys of worship.

This poignancy gives heft to the book’s most memorable poems, such as the tour de force “Howl of Lon Chaney, Jr.”, a take-off on Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” in honor of B-movie horror actor Larry Talbot, “the Wolf Man”. Fericano writes compassionately of the dark side of the Hollywood dream, the loneliness of addiction and lost popularity. Substituting “Universal Studios” for “Moloch” in Ginsberg’s version, the meaning is still the same:

Universal the slaughterhouse of essence! Universal the
flesh-grinding boneless junkyard and studio of
terror! Universal whose films are USDA graded!
Universal the meat cleaver of inspection! Universal
the concrete productions!

Universal whose checkbook is bottom line! Universal whose
life is zombie profit! Universal whose thoughts
are small implosions! Universal whose head is a cannabis
fire pit! Universal whose heart is a ticking bomb!

The nyuk-nyuk’s don’t stop with his author bio: “Since 1971 his poetry and prose have appeared, disappeared, and reappeared in various underground and above-ground literary and media outlets… Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets (Second Coming Press, 1977), a collection of his work partly funded by the state of California, achieved notoriety in 1978, when one of its poems, ‘The Three Stooges at a Hollywood Party’, was read on the floor of the California State Senate as a reason to abolish the California Arts Council.”

On a more serious note, Paul is also the director of Instruments of Peace/SafeNet, a nonprofit reconciliation group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Visit his blog, A Room with a Pew, to learn about his latest efforts to help victims obtain restitution from the Catholic Church.

Enjoy the poems below, which he has kindly given me permission to reprint.

 

The Three Stooges Meet Charles Bukowski In Heaven

The day is like any other day in Paradise
where angels hang out on street corners in between gigs

smoking filtered cigarettes drinking ginger ale
and swapping stories about the Son of Man.

Everyone has an eye fixed on Jesus.
He’s on his knees in an alley shooting dice

with the Three Stooges
and the poor bastards are losing their shirts.

The Savior of the World is on fire.
In flowing red robe he rattles the bones in his hand

brings them to his ear shakes them like the Second Coming
and blows on them once for luck.

He arcs his fist before release and shouts:
Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

then tosses them with the same force his father summoned
to create the Milky Way.

When he flashes that wide resurrection smile
the one he showed the Romans right before they nailed him,

he scoops up his winnings with a wink and a nod
and everyone knows the Lamb of God is on a roll.

The Stooges are victims of divine intervention.
They make the sign of the cross and Jesus smiles.

I like you guys, he says, slapping their faces affectionately.
And just like that three morons become saints.

Leaning against a wall drinking beer from a bottle
always cold never empty is Charles Bukowski.

He shifts his weight like a man itching to start something
eyeing the action as if he’s writing his last poem.

Jesus stands now and introduces them.
The Stooges pull back unsure of what to expect from a guy

who once threw up on Norman Mailer and just last week
tried to look up the Virgin Mary’s dress.

Bukowski hesitates, too. He remembers almost losing an eye
in a pie fight and watches their fingers closely now

the air so choked with mistrust even the Holy Ghost is scared.
That’s when Jesus stands on his head.

It’s a minor miracle, not like changing a Beatles’ song
into a jingle for running shoes, but it breaks the tension at last.

Sighs of relief rise up like hosannas and everyone laughs,
especially the Son of God who isn’t wearing underpants.

****
Sinatra, Sinatra

Sexual reference:
A protruding sinatra
is often laughed at by serious women.

Medical procedure:
A malignant sinatra
must be cut out by a skilled surgeon.

Violent persuasion:
A sawed-off sinatra
is a dangerous weapon at close range.

Congressional question:
Do you deny the charge of ever being
involved in organized sinatra?

Prepared statement:
Kiss my sinatra.
Blow it out your sinatra.

Financial question:
Will supply-side sinatra halt inflation?

Empty expression:
The sinatra stops here.
The sinatra is quicker than the eye.

Strategic question:
Do you think it’s possible to win
a limited nuclear sinatra?

Stupid assertion:
Eat sinatra.
Hail Mary full of sinatra.

Serious reflection:
Sinatra this, sinatra that.
Sinatra do, sinatra don’t.
Sinatra come, sinatra go.
There’s no sinatra like show sinatra.

Historical question:
Is the poet who wrote this poem still alive?

Biblical fact:
Man does not live by sinatra alone.

New Poetry by Conway: “Lost in Translation”

Happy 2016! We’re hopeful that this will be the year of liberation for my prison pen pal “Conway” (Richard C. Jackson). He’s been waiting for a hearing on his early release petition since 2012, when California repealed the three-strikes sentencing law for nonviolent offenders. His case has just been picked up by Stanford Law School’s Justice Advocacy Project. If you’ve enjoyed his writing on this blog and would like to send a letter in support of his case, please contact Michael Romano.

Lost in Translation

In this shadowed space,
each word’s a button, a worried rosary bead.

Green flares announce one possible survivor.
How I found my soul interested.
I fell with the moon
I wait with white face.
I couldn’t know the danger,
though, coming home a stranger.

Yesterday has been left in ruin.
Someone piled prisoners, abandoned
their value like legless dolls.

Nothing stopped the way I left it.
In the shower mirror, crows’ feet
reflect an age complete, bubbling
down the drain, through the years
waving goodbye to the night in my eye.
This silver hair shows, like paint
from a previous life (chipped to primer).

If something came by for me to swallow
as do mirrors, another world appears.

Two moons, one in the window
over my shoulder, an unfamiliar egg
floating in space, in solitude
which has truth, which meaning?

This sphere of thought, birthed
by reflections, brought about
an inner directed connection.
New possibilities to do something,
discover a pattern, an opportunity to re-engage.

On this new stage stands
a mature embryo.

I am an offering, a need
begging to be cracked
spilled onto the fired skillet.
But still lost in translation…