Life among the Prickly Pear



Life among the Prickly Pear

Rain’s twofold curse: not enough
too much. Still, I take comfort

even among the thorns.
There is much to like here.

Its moonlight flowers.
Paddles fried with minced garlic.

Wren’s jubilant shriek.
The fruit’s red nectar.

I wake to distant screech owls
purring their desires on separate

slopes. Late spring, storms looming.
I close my eyes and the creek rises.


* * *

A draft of this first appeared here in June 2015, and I posted this version in May 2016. I’ve had to deal with a flooded creek recently…

In the meantime, two of my guitar heroes:

28 thoughts on “Life among the Prickly Pear

  1. I was just thinking today how lush everything is because of the continued rainfall and how we will be cursing the sun we are asking for now, and longing for stormclouds, about August. You can’t satisfy a human. (K)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on richwrapper and commented:
    Thought I had been outwitted by “reblog” but a quick post to Robert Okajii on his recipt for prickly pear with onion (and a lime squirt) fry does the whole affair nicely. Why the comment to this wonderful site allowed me the reblog a mystery still. Enjoy some Florida cactus fresh and not have to buy jarred in the “Spanish” section at the box along the highway.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Robert: shall endeavor to correct the added “eye” and make Okaji type cproperly. The word hiding behind my tongue on those creosote-looking jars: nopales! I’ve had fresh nopales from little eat-shops dug into walls holding holes throughout South Florida ‘s multi-ethnic communities where hispanic, hassidic, island and anglo and african leavenings sharpen gustation and into Arizona and New Mexico. Never thought those decades ago someone would stuff them into a jar. Did have a Marine pal whose mom sent him hand-stuffed chiles (fresh caught and prepared tuna a real treat) and pressure-canned mailed to us in Vietnam from Mexico City. And when pressed for time and failed of popcorn and suchlike: Take the whole de-barbed paddle, slap a coat of olive (or canola or your handy) oil, sprinkle kosher salt and a grind or three of fresh black pepper on each side and slap on an angry orange (and sour-root stock orange wood is hot and wonderful-smelling if a bit acquired, much like mesquite) and grill up some paddles to the enjoyers’ preferences. A whack or seventeen with a good much-used heavy Chinese Cleaver gifted from a Taiwanese-refugee family long ago and a second sprinkle of key lime and a pinch of dried ground red chilepowder and you got a beisbol snack of much merit.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I had not considered pickled nopales. My tast in things pickled is most catholic: taught my dad this trick: drink (or move to another bottle) half of a three-liter bottle of cheap (three-liter bottle: how could it not be cheap) and stuff inside jalapeno peppers which have been circumsized stem-to-stem and slightly opened, leaving pith and seeds inside. Fill to the point sherry comes up to the neck and covers all jalapenos. Store in a cool dark place. Months or when the suspense gets to you. Pour out a bit and spear a pickle. Use the juice on steamed or prepared (sauteed) greens of most any kind – collards and spinach become superiorly so. The pickle, after several months submerged has grown soft and spreads like butter over some nice fat texas toast.


            • Had not realized in all those words I failed to mention Sherry. When you know what you mean do you – I do – assume, automatically, everyone else does too? Although, in retrospect, tequila or vodka would do…not so sure about cheap, though. A few sprigs of fresh tarragon, a halved (or two +/- habanero con seeds and pith, up to four halved jalapenos (again, with seeds and pith intact) and four or five spears of freshly denuded pineapple – I use all t he pineapple and if necessary use two jars for the work – that way all the pineapple gets soused and no spear is left sober – (the pineapple and habanero figure in again down the loin, so to roast-smoke; and, into the quart bell jar – or bail if you have – pour a reposado tequila of modest call with the addenda; let rest in the back of the lowest shelf of the fridge – not that distance means much, it just won’t get in the way; leave for a month. strain, reserving pineapple and hot peppers. Take a slash. Or three. If the heat makes it sufficient for the evilment of the day, hurry. You have little time. The only way to calm the inferno – like my habanero-amended salsa cruda – is to consume repeated doses. Quickly and coarsely chop the pineapple (reserving about half for garniture for the finished roast before slicing, and peppers, add to previously chopped onion and minced garlic. Add more fresh tarragon and use with ground black pepper and kosher salt to form a rub for the roll of boned boston butt or a well-larded loin, add green onions entire (with well-washed roots, too – not just for the visuals but the flavor at the very tip of the green onion; roll and rotis or hand-turn in a slow 275-350 Fahrenheit smoker with minimal smoke. Make a baste of one cup codensed (frozen) orange juice, one cup of ‘quila, half-cup of raw or dark sugar, and whatever suspects come to your warped sense. and glaze roast the last half hour. By then you well may realize you need to make another drunk pineapple: the tequila is mostly gone and so are you. When you wake, break out the flour (or corn) tortillas, quick warm over the brand new fire because the nap went too long, fire layer with shredded roast and stuffing. And, if feeling peckish, pour some graze into a small pot, bring to a boil for several minutes – remember, it was a glaze after all and we do need to kill most of the critters stopped by for a sup – not to mention those evilmean critters inside which we have given severe cases of doan wanna be heres no more inside you after them libations you insisted would tame the fire

              Liked by 1 person

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