Feb 24Liked by Jasper Diamond Nathaniel

choked on my words

at the breakfast table

and drank a cold glass of water

with my morning pills

all the ones

that I am tired of explaining

how much you fits into

all the ones







but loved and cared more

tender and filled with joy

and yes I still need to talk to you

talk to you and see myself

talk to you and hear myself

talk to you and feel how much I exist

we made love at the breakfast table

you poored tea into my cup

birds were having a morning talk

you filled the kitchen with your smell

God spoke from your mouth

the days felt weightless

in the warmth of the tea that you poored into my cup

I watched you


and choked on my words

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My mom didn’t let me have sugar cereal growing up. I was however allowed to put honey on my cheerios. To this day, I still look forward to my bowls of cheerios, honey, and granola. Honey Nut Cheerios are delicious, but they don’t remind me of my sweet, thoughtful mother.

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The apple on my plate is bright green. A really shiny apple. Perfect. I polished it for 20 minutes with a cloth. I know that it will taste sweet and sour at the same time. The first bite into it will crack the thin skin open. Tiny drops of apple juice will splash left and right. My tongue will feel the texture of the apple, smooth on the outside and a bit rough on the inside. I will feel my cheeks tighten, as the sour taste of the apple fills my mouth. I am going to chew every bite till it’s mushy. Slow and steady. One is supposed to eat like that, but I am always first to finish my plate. But I will take my time. I will lick my moist lips as my tongue automatically searches for that sweet taste. I will leave a perfect clean plate, as I am going to eat all of it, apple pits included. One is not supposed to chew them, but just swalloing is okay. I will feel healthy afterwards, healthy and most of all, relaxed. After all, a long and calm breakfast is the best start in the day.

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Jan 14·edited Jan 14

It was time to rest. Before me the valley spread out in a golden vista, the harvest-ready stalks swaying in the dawn breeze. The richness of this land never failed to astound me. Nearby, farmhands were starting to move through the fields, chased by the savoury smoke from their morning cook fires. I thought back to the breakfast I had eaten at the Thane’s own table. One of almost excessive largesse. Sweet honey, warm bread and fresh butter. Apples from the orchard and fine golden ale to wash it down. Gawain had raised his voice in song while Jek laughed with Hwythan, his mouth full of meat and mead, already seeming fated to be bond-brothers. Good cheer had filled the hall, and the promise of a better future, long worked for, lay all around. It had been a magical moment, gilded in memory and I reluctantly returned my attention to the present. Beyond the fertile lowlands lay the river, then on the far bank a rising flank of hills turned the ground stony and forbidding. Marker poles marched along the border, draped in stained rags and topped by skull and bone. I shivered involuntarily, knowledge warring with the tales long told of those lands.

A belling, baying of hounds rent the still air, the sound coming from behind, and too close for comfort. The farm hands stood in alarm, the chains on their wrists now clearly visible. Jek had taken an arrow as we’d chanced the crossing at Ikard’s Gap, mouth filling with blood and his life’s last breath. Hwythan now led the Thane’s hunting pack after us, Jek’s proud torcs clasped around his arms. They had glinted in the sun as his dogs ran down Gawain and tore the songs from his throat. It had been a full day since I ate that fateful meal, but I could still taste the honey, now as bitter in my parched mouth as the sting of betrayal. Riding the fragile surge of hate-fueled energy I lurched up and on, heading for the river.

I saw figures on the far bank as I descended the hillside, heavy across the shoulders with muscle, fur and chain. Angling toward them, I splashed into the shallows, gasping as the cold water clasped at my clenching limbs. Swimmingly stiffly, braced against the chill, I reached the shore just as the first dogs dashed into the river behind me. Their handlers, the Thane among them, paused when they saw the armed men waiting on the far shore. Crawling in the mud and reeds at their leader’s feet I looked up at a stern and unbending expression, the tattered banners of a border marker fluttering behind him. The moment stretched out, then he looked across at the Thane and grunted, a small sound of both resolution and satisfaction. Reaching into a pouch at his belt he brought forth a heel of hard bread and a pinch of salt, mixed in with the dirt and dust from the pouch’s bottom. Wordlessly he offered them to me, never taking his eyes from the Thane. The bread was stale, and the salt so unrefined it was like rock dust. I had never broken a fast with more relief, and an excess of emotion shuddered through me. Bread and salt. The guest rite, with all the protections that came with it, as the Thane well knew. The alliance held, I was safe, and could weep for the loss of my brave companions.

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I padded into the dining room and tried to shrug away my father’s judgment as he eyed my probably disheveled appearance. I’d slept in my clothes and couldn’t find my boots upon waking. Hopefully the smell of ale had dissipated by now, but I was doubtful.

“You couldn’t be bothered to fully dress for your brother’s final meal with us before he departs?”

My eyes shot to Bastien. He was mid-bite on a piece of toast covered with a quantity of jam you might expect a child to slather on. He’d always had a sweet tooth. Eyebrows raised, he did his best “forgive me” smile as his eyes volleyed between me and my father.

Bastien dropped the toast and reached for a piece of fruit. “Oh, cheer up you two! Someone has to venture out into the brave unknown to locate the relic that will save our mortal realm from the sure destruction of war.”

Unleashing a theatrical sigh, I plopped into a chair, doing my best to make my protest of his upcoming departure clear with the exaggerated hanging of my head and limbs. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so exaggerated. It had been a rough night.

“This isn’t funny Bastien. What signal does it send to the people when their prince disappears just as the first skirmishes are bleeding into the city’s borders?” He was embarking on a fool’s errand.

“For once, I agree with your sister.”

“See? Miracles do happen! Honestly, I think that’s a wonderful omen for my journey.”

This time my father and I sighed in unison and the table fell silent. An attendant set a mug of tea in front of me, its aromatic tendrils of steam relieving a bit of the dull pounding in my skull. Our kingdom had been under attack for less than a year and already our forces were crumbling. It really would take a miracle to prevent the capital from falling before summer’s end. All three of us carried that fate heavy on our shoulders, and if this was to be a final breakfast together, I wouldn’t sully it with bickering.

I sipped the bitter tea and tried to mask the reflexive curling of my lip and scrunching of my nose. Bastien smirked and pushed a jar of honey toward me. Sweet toothes ran in the family. I grabbed the honey dipper and scooped out a rich amber heaping. We all watched the bright liquid slowly ooze down into my mug and I wondered if they too lamented that life’s bitter problems couldn’t be sweetened as easily.

Bastien smiled, content to watch me luxuriating in a rare simple pleasure during troubled times. “You’ll see… I’ll be back before that honey jar is empty.” A bold claim considering this family’s affinity for sweetness.

I rolled my eyes, but couldn’t help smiling at his unending optimism. Only Bastien could have me grasping hope while the reality of our failures loomed closer every day. If anyone could make a miracle happen, it would certainly be him.

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We forget so much about things. And remembering comes with a feeling of betrayal. Like I should keep some memories always purely alive. And it is of course not an easy job in the extending speed of your own pace. Breakfasts are included. And so much within them.

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The date is July 1st. To most, it’s just a normal day. However, this day is special.

Now, you may ask - well, everyday seems to be some obscure holiday, so everyday is special. Or, you could say everyday is special, since it’s another day that you are alive. What makes this day particularly special?

Well, it’s the midpoint of the year, and to celebrate this, we have a breakfast that even a king would be jealous of.

The preparations for this meal is started a couple of days prior, when all the ingredients are purchased. We shall go through them in turn.

First, we start with the brined meat. Typically, a large pork roast is used. It is placed in a large bag, where it is submerged in a mixture of vinegar, minced garlic, pepper, salt, some dried herbs (thyme and rosemary are usually used), a few bay leaves and a hint of Worcestershire sauce. It is stored in the fridge to marinate for a couple of days, before it is placed into a slow cooker the night before the feast to cook.

The day prior to the feast, a flurry of cooking is done. A variety of fresh baked goods are made - muffins, scones and donuts. A large amount of flour, sugar, butter, milk, as well as other baking essentials, are used. In addition, bacon is smoked, and Polish sausage is boiled - this constitutes the fresh meat.

Of course, no feast is complete without potatoes, and this breakfast is no exception. Several bags of potatoes are diced up and made into home fries, which are seasoned liberally with paprika, pepper and salt. They are baked to golden brown perfection.

After all that, it’s the night before breakfast. The brined meat is extracted from the fridge and thrown into the slow cooker, and it is set so that it will be ready by the time I get up from bed.

When I get up, I race down to the kitchen and check on the meat in the slow cooker. I lifted the lid and then I sliced the roast in half. Upon doing that I looked inside and I could see that the roast was cooked all the way.

“Mmm, mmm, mmm… perfect!” I exclaimed quietly.

Now it was time to arrange all of the baked goods onto platters, place the brined and fresh meats onto two separate boards, and then prep the oven for one more dish - an egg bake, filled with loose sausage and bound together with bread and cheese.

While the egg bake was cooking, it was time to set the table, and let the family know that breakfast will be coming soon.

A loud ding from the oven let me know that the egg bake was done. I carefully pulled the egg bake out of the oven and set it on top of the stove so that it could cool and firm up. I then call out, “the mid-year breakfast is ready.”

One by one, the rest of the family came in: first our first born, a daughter, followed quickly by our second born, a son. Finally the wife came in, her hair still in a bit of a riot, as the children locked her out of the bathroom and rendered her unable to go in and take a shower and fix her hair. When they came in, they were shocked by the quantity of food that I prepared.

“I hope you guys are hungry,” I stated.

We all grabbed our first servings of food, as well as our choice of beverage (I, along with the wife, went with a cup of joe, while the youngest child went with apple juice, and the oldest a glass of water). We then sat down and said grace.

After that we had our breakfast, which lasted well over an hour. We ate until we physically couldn’t eat another bite. Clearly, we enjoyed the food. However, despite our appetites, there was still plenty of food remaining. Guess we know what we are going to have for the next good while…

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I can still taste the first bite of those golden brown, maple-soaked rounds of pure heaven. Followed by sips of steaming cappuccino and strips of crisp, smokey bacon. My first bites of freedom; nothing has ever tasted so good.

Driving all night, with my shoulders in my earlobes and an icicle of fear in my heart, was the first step of a revolution I never thought I’d start. A fight for independence that I questioned less and less as the miles clicked by and the mountains faded into the background.

Finally feeling that I had traveled a comfortable and safe distance, I pulled off to get gas and stretch. I noticed a small diner with a soothingly glowing neon sign proclaiming them “Open 24 Hours” and cozy booths behind foggy windows. Practically glowing yellow with happiness myself, I hurried over to the entrance before anxiety and doubt could creep in.

As I sat in the bouncy vinyl booth, gorging on pancakes, bacon, sunny side up eggs with slices of avocado, and perfectly seasoned home fries, the ice in my heart began to melt. The gloriously greasy feast filling the hollow carved out of me from all the years enduring oppression and grief. The kindhearted waitress showed no judgement whatsoever when I asked to cap off the meal with another cappuccino and a slice of homemade blueberry pie. Topped with a towering swirl of freshly whipped cream, the bright berry filling and flaky crust of the pie all melded together in a sweet and savory symphony that brought tears to my eyes.

There would be more meals like this; more pleasure to be had. Now that I was free and could remember what it tasted like. That hollow was where my joy used to live, and it’s coming back. One sip of chocolate malt to-go and one more mile at a time, it’s coming back.

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