fork knife or spoon?

My first impulse was to side-step the entire list and choose my own utensil -- an oyster shell, or the piece of coconut hide slashed from the coconut itself with a machete to use to scoop out the meat. Or fingers dipped in a tin bowl of rice. But were any of those "me"?

Then I scanned the images to sense -- bodily -- which ones caused a throb of recognition. I passed ones I wanted for their sleek, sexy or symbolic use alone and was at once fascinated and irritated by the one that finally did declare itself.

It was the gravy ladle, that could also be a soup ladle.

I did not like it's indolent exaggerated form: bottom-heavy, odalisque, lazy. But I understood its action, something to do with its capacity to fill up, withhold, and then let it all out in a big pour.

The rich gift of gravy suggests a sensuality meeting not a need but a want -- the extra on top of what already satisfies.
The soup on the other hand, food of the poor, sustains, fills, comforts, keeps alive.

Maybe this is an action of the artist, to gather up a mess of intuitive information, then pour it out. Maybe it's my ambivalence about my role working in Haiti with poor women artists, the culture's perception of me as the "rich American" --one with the power to keep back or bestow everything they want or need.

In the end I think it is less my vision of myself but of God, deranged, laden with the great soup of everything be it nourishing or poisonous, seeming to withhold what we want or letting go with a deluge of indiscriminate life to feed, or drown, us.

I'd rather be a serving fork.

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