Interview with a Dining Room
Hunger strikes at the oddest times;
all of history! all the kings and princes!
Duke and Duchess of Graze-and-Nibble!
brace my palate, falstaffian cook!
direct my steps to a groaning board
filled with delights, coarse and refined -
from fishes' tongues a la Trimalchio
to a homely multigrain dark bread,
coarse and abrading as a pumice stone.
Give me food! Potatoes mashed and mixed
with twelve cloves of Xmas garlic
salt and peppered with shredded books
of the philosopher Baudrillard!
Ladle them onto my obscene tureen
of a dinner plate with the last copy
of William James, and let me eat!
Then you may conduct your interview
of the autocratic grand
Panjandrum of the Dining Room!
Sally Manjay of Saveur, magazine gastronome,
asks me questions designed to create
an epistalsis in my satiate brain,
and produce arpeggio thoughts.
Strange mixture: food and Phil -
she says. Never have I heard
a connoisseur speak of both before.
My plate is empty! I cry, and
she goes to get a clean one.
No! Wipe it clean and refill the same:
a palimpsest of antique delights -
build a pile of medaillons de veau
upon the trace of potato,
like a mediavalist rubbing out
Plato to accomodate Origen!
Drink! Give me drink!
Fill the flagon ten times o'er!
Lubricious drink, sight-gag drink!
Buster Keaton beverages overflow!
Wander to the licker house
where a madam lets you in
to survey the honky-tonk
velvet parlour and to sin
with bottles of a world's span -
their differing degrees of
transparency and undress!
Ah, Bob le Flambeur...
When I view the film,
I drink absinthe and smoke;
and Ikiru brings sake swing-sets
and Pachinko in the snow.
Solaris is plain yogurt, Avatar is quince;
Casablanca is a dish of couscous
mixed with raisins, and Monsieur Hulot's
Holiday brings forth ramekins
of several delight.
The Arab poets as appetizers,
spicy and down to earth, a shitake
of metaphor and porcini of emotions!
The Chinese poets as dessert:
aery mousse set in a cookie matrix,
touched with lemons from afar!
What is cuisine, to you? she says.
Cuisine? I say. Cuisine?
Hunger is a wild-child, running
he eats as he mates, impetuous
sudden rain storm scouring gravel arroyo;
cuisine is his devotion,
in-born and unspoken,
waters slow and wide where sediments build...
unobservable & unreal,
a wide alluvial fan.
Sally Manjay = Salle a manger dining room.
Trimalchio = ancient Roman gourmand
Buster Keaton = silent film comedian