Rules for Living

You had rules for life.
One was: In every new town,
try the Chinese restaurant.
I disagreed, preferring salad
or grilled cheese on rye,
but I went along.
Now, at every opportunity,
I eat broccoli with garlic sauce
and think of you. Still
resisting your rules,
but I’m losing interest
in strong opinions about food.
In a couple years all rules
for life will be irrelevant anyway.
Then I can forget you.

For Bjorn’s prompt to the Real Toads: TIME TRAVEL
And... it’s #29 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans!


  1. What a journey! It is never easy to shrug off the past, especially when it comes to those who peopled it.

  2. Even in the absense the habits come back and taste becomes a real reminder of the past. Really works like a time traveling device.

  3. The abrupt ending with "Then I can forget you" is powerful.
    I really liked how you portrayed the passing of time in your words. :-)

  4. it's really difficult to get past of what was once there but what's the need to lose one piece in our jigsaw life..nice lines

  5. I'm a real gourmand. I get it from my late father, who liked to think he was a gourmet, but he was a gourmand. A much worse one than I am, in fact. The man liked butter on hot dogs. Who eats butter on hot dogs?
    I miss him dearly.
    I enjoyed your poem. :-)

  6. over time i think i've just softened and don't care as much. i want healthy and my foodie-ness has greatly reduced. butter on hot dogs, who knows, that might be delicious! :)

    i was trying with this poem to say that i went along, but really disagreed about always trying the Chinese, and disagreed just to be disagreeable, because now i always choose the Chinese place. i think i messed up the tense a bit, confused it... "I went along" followed with "Still resisting your rules" doesn't really make sense. and what i was trying to say at the end i think is obsured, i.e. rules like this will be irrelevant soon because we'll have to focus on more serious things, like survival. but it would take that kind of sea-change to bring the forgetting. i will keep tinkering with this.

  7. It is refreshingly great to read your poems after such a long time.the pithy, crisp lines just pierce into the mind and clutch to the nerve-ends.and of course i am not talking about just this one. Its also lovely to see that your 'no comments' phase has ended. since I have come back to your blog after a long time, this was a nice surprise. keep writing. you are an inspiration.

    1. ahhhh Abin, so great to see you! likewise... thank you.

  8. Strange how food and smell trigger memories.

    Well done.

  9. OK, I have laughed out loud this morning ... set the tone for my day. Thank you very much!!!

  10. Even when the rule maker is gone, the rules still come to mind. I find that it's awfully satisfying to break them when that happens.

  11. This is quirky and intriguing...nicely gathered, Marian!

  12. The last line is hell of kick. You can almost see the speaker getting really close to the receiver's face and telling it like it is.

    Now I'm craving grilled cheese...

  13. :) hey, thanks, friends. broccoli anyone?

  14. Ooooh, I've done this with relationships... well done :)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!