Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Poetry Tuesday: Bon Appetite [sic]
[Here's a puzzle of a poem (puzzling in part because I no longer remember why I wrote it) from over ten years ago. It's young and indignant and not as deep as I imagine I thought it was when I wrote it, but I offer it now in its original form, olives and all, because you deserve to have a tangentially food-related Poetry Tuesday again after all this time. Also, have I ever eaten salmon florets?!]
Bon Appetite [sic/k]
words mean something.
words, mean, still emit -- and might mean lips express.
How dying is language, simplified and shaved.
Tongues empty, witless words don't quench these thirsts.
Dining on air, my thoughts turn to once redwood-hearty martyrs of vocabulary,
long-forgotten forests of phrasing as disappeared as ghosts
and only present as memory here, where each course of conversation
serves up newly misspoken delicacies and pairs the pungent, distinct flavors
of meaty meaning with the wrong wines.
Once, when someone's cruel teeth bit down a sturdy word,
a tree of meaning, or a grove of language tumbled slashed-and-burned
tall or strong or slender as its syllables designed,
axing out the sense of wood and sap
and spitting slivers from the oral mill as waste,
replanting followed; so language grew in its season
and tall at its leisure
and rich in its flavor.
But here has been eaten a meal which is misunderstood
and the real taste of each course, artful and distinct as salmon florets,
lies undigested in your gut, unsavored, where words sadly mean something.
They silently mean something.
(And the olive on a saltine you
toss the guests who attempt your
conversation goes unnoticed as
the pale, sprouty shadow
of the oak you ripped up
to make one, mispronounced