I Like The Taste ~ J. J. Elliot


I like the taste

            of raw white flour

            of yeast with sugar

            of cut lemons without.


I like the taste

            of burnt:

                burnt edges of bread;

                skins of fish;

                bottoms of pans and pots of long-simmered stew.


I like the taste

            of oats from their cardboard cylinder

            of the cartilage on chicken bones

            of the skins of Chinese gooseberries

                 rough and brown as burlap

                 so different than

                 the cool green flesh.


I like the taste

            of bitter:

                bitter ends of vegetables;

                milky broccoli stems;

                citrus peel;

                parsley or radicchio, cold and barely washed.


I like the taste.

            But what to call these?

            They neither start the day nor end it.

            They cannot be themiddaymeal

            Peacefully laid between two pieces of bread.

            Never served by anyone

            To anyone

            Anywhere on Earth


            Yet consumed by me.

            And I find




I like the taste

            of things discarded.


            Like all guilty pleasures

            It is not enough to feed a life.

            Nor even is it to be done,

            Or once done,

            Spoken of


            Or even admitted during the times and places

            Set aside for confessing between friends.

            The right of women and men to know

            The failings of each other.


Because it is not


            the cake, the candy, the cream

            or any other of the approved indulgences.


But it is, I must admit,

What pleases me.


The burnt, the boiled, the bitter –

            most of all the bitter-

Yes, this pleases me.

And satisfies unexpectedly

In a blunt, animal way.


What else is there to say?


            Like me there may be many.

            Like me there may be few.

            I may be on my own

            In this.  Yet it will be true-


I like the taste.