LISTENING

Listen Here is well underway. I am getting ready to listen to R.Murray Schafer’s 8th String Quartet this afternoon as a prompt for free-fall writing leading to couplets, leading me to a new ghazal. I plan to write a ghazal for every quartet. Extensive research continues, as does listening. The first seven ghazals in the collection are complete, and I’ve written an introduction for the book including the other sections in the manuscript called “Dispatches from the pain room” and “The Jimmy Bang Blues Project” to crystallize my thinking and outline my work for the next three months.

R. Murray Schafer died in August 2021. He was 88. Here he is pictured with the Quatuor Molinari and his spouse Eleanor James.

COTTAGE PIE

Dictated from my memory

My new KilnE knives cut vegetables for cottage pie

Cottage pie is a great way to serve meat and potatoes and call it something else. If you’re using lamb it’s shepherds pie, and if you’re using venison or elk it’s Hunter’s pie. It’s all about the meat in those versions. There are many different versions of cottage pie and this is the one that I’ve been using, not the same as the one that Michelle Hewitt as used to that her father makes.

As always we start with saute

Put a tablespoon, or two depending of butter in pan depends on how much veg,
Dice one onion
smash 3 cloves of garlic, dice
and one carrot
and one red pepper and one stalk of celery, put them in the pan
Saute Up to five minutes on high but not cranked all the way up
 to make sure the veg is soft, but remembering that they will cook for another 40 minutes in the oven so no not too mooshie or burnt. We’re back to the size of the dice…you do a great job Courtney you don’t need to change anything.

It’s easier to brown the hamburger if you take the veg out, and then put meat in
brown 2lbs of hamburger,
adding salt and pepper 3 cranks say of salt, 4 of pepper

Drain with the lid or a colander, be safe.

Put veg and hamburger together, cook a bit more adding
Frozen peas 1/2 to full cup

oregano and basil, a dash or two of  L&P (easier to spell than Worchestshired
tomato paste
we have left, and if it’s too dry, we can add a bit of the strained tomatoes in bottle
(Michelle’s dad usually adds a can of brown beans. I do not.)

 

MEANWHILE

Peel more than a dozen russet potatoes, are at least a full dozen depending on their size
 makes it easy to have enough for a small one for you and a big one for us…

Cut in half or quarter (you’ve done this before I think for bangers and mash)

Boil potatoes until they’re soft enough to mash with butter how much depends I like more than is good for me I think the last batch you made were perfect

FINALLY BAKE EM

Preheat oven to 400, and when cottage pie is in the oven remember to turn it down to 350

Put the meat at the bottom of the two trays, put mashed potatoes on top

Finish with grated cheese or an more Pats of butter the grated cheese worked pretty well last time c were trying to use it up. Cook for 45 minutes at 3:50. Check to see that the cheese has browned but not burned
let stand for about 5 minutes before serving, two plates but with catsup on the table for me.

 

MY LEFT FOOT

 

Make no bones about it; my left foot carried its final edition
in my genes since the day I was born. My left ankle’s collapse
a birth defect; its ankle fusion fix a failure, confirmed too late

by a CT scan for anyone to believe
my foot’s pain was 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.
There is bigger and better suffering everywhere,

this close to the end times, pictures of fire and famine eclipse
the sagging memory of my ragged metatarsal,
bone giving way, under the operating theatre lights.

 

by Victor Enns

from LOVE & SURGERY, Radiant Press, 2019

Victor Enns reads and writes poetry and fiction. Afghanistan Confessions, poems in the voice of Canadian soldiers, was published in 2014, boy in 2012. Lucky Man (2005) was nominated for the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year award.