I WANT TO SERVE FOOD TO STRANGERS
Age gives us odd perspectives.
Suddenly, I am obsessed again.
This time with food.
I want to make a meal out of the planet.
I want to feed you.
I want to feed my friends
grapes and marinated chicken livers
lightly sautéed in butter —
all on dishes of hammered gold.
For you, I will raise
the young calf in a green field,
let it drink the milk of its mother,
eat the best grains.
I will stroke its shoulders,
and treat it kindly
until the day I kill it.
Then I will clean the flesh and cook it
on a spit over maple wood.
This tender, sad calf
a giant pumpkin,
seven peacocks, an orange sauce,
and a dusting of walnuts.
red bell peppers
a tangerine-coloured tomato
a green and very ripe kiwi fruit
a small okra pod filled with
chocolate and the tiny heart
of a bird that knew
the meaning of song in the morning.
I want to eat everything.
My hunger has grown immense,
and most of all, I want to
serve everything to strangers.
A few potatoes, the yellow kind,
Yukon Golds, organic, washed fresh
from the earth, sliced but not peeled,
dribbled with newly churned butter,
basil, oregano, garlic, and some salt;
then baked in the wood stove.
I will make a sauce
like a river on that stove,
a red sauce,
a white sauce,
a green sauce,
a blue sauce,
yes, even a golden sauce:
sometimes with honey,
sometimes with almonds,
sometimes with curry.
It will flow onto the floor
and out the door and down the field,
breaking into many rivers,
each a different sauce
until they flow together
into the great cauldron of the ocean
having fed every living
plant and animal on the way.
There will also be a salad
of sharp and leaf-serrated endives.
I will garnish it with
the flowers I have loved.
Nasturtium, rose, begonia, violet,
fava bean, borage, day lily …
and on and on and on and on ….
A little olive oil,
a squeeze of lemon,
a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Strong cheese and nuts, of course.
Baked, earthy peasant bread
that smells like the good field
ablaze in the bright spring,
the field where they buried
and the rest of the clan
in the sun-scorched south of Italy.
Let’s forget the world,
and worship it too.
Let’s cook up a new world,
so we can all get fat.
I will grow seven varieties of tomatoes
and nine kinds of garlic
just for this meal.
I will candy quinces and plums.
I will sugar flowers in the spring.
I will make jellies from clean fruit.
I will grow chickens and kill them.
I will flee to Costa Rica for coffee beans.
I will chop wood all winter for the fire.
I will make rose scented candles;
then ignite them for mood and shadow,
and play the Brandenburg Concertos
discreetly on the stereo.
I will nurture the greens and the fruits
and the plump vegetables with my stupid
and often over-dramatic tears
like the rest of the mad spaders
who sow the seeds we eat.
The time has come
when I must repay
the many decadent luxuries
I have dined on for free.
And I want to serve
everything to everyone now.
This meal will be made for
my children, each animal,
strangers with strange hair
and odd languages, my family —
aunts and uncles included,
the geriatric cat, all my lovers,
the lost bandits, even the murderers,
sexists of each sex, old friends
who grew tired; cheesy politicians
and ancient, bent-fingered crones;
sure, real estate salesmen too,
a wise farmer going hopeless broke,
hungry children, and birds
thrown too young from nests.
Sit down, sit down
at the great table of our lives.
I will feed you all.
I have decided to die unrepentant.
I will eat meat until it eats me. I will eat it with carnal sauces.
I’ll eat it bloody-blue-rare or overcooked with carcinogens.
I want plates full of kidneys in butter, and lambs on spits.
Silkies in lemon sauce.
Birds with enough courage to fly out of honeyed pies,
and steaks to sear on my barbecue until charred
on the outside, the torn flesh bleeding inside.
Give me pink hamburger and raw eggs.
When the bright, livid dawn comes
I will crow like a demented rooster
and smile like a cat with a feather
hanging from its bloody jaws.
Chicken livers and onions.
Alligators. Ostriches. Elephants.
I’ll eat them all. And then I’ll eat some more.
My appetite for the world is larger than the world
Afterwards, I’ll eat the furniture
and the leaves on the trees just for dessert.
And then I’ll eat myself
until nothing remains but this appetite for existence.