Eating & Drinking

from Deaf Republic: 14

Each man has a quiet that revolves
around him as he beats his head against the earth. But I am laughing

hard and furious. I pour a glass of pepper vodka
and toast the gray wall. I say we were

never silent. We read each other’ s lips and said
one word four times. And laughed four times

in loving repetition. We read each other’ s lips to uncover
the poverty of laughter. Touch the asphalt with fingers to hear the cool earth of Vasenka

Deposit ears into the raindrops on a fisherman’ s tobacco hair.
And whoever listens to me: being


A dinner party, coffee, tea,
Sandwich, or supper, all may be
In their way pleasant. But to me
Not one of these deserves the praise
That welcomer of new-born days,
A breakfast, merits; ever giving
Cheerful notice we are living
Another day refreshed by sleep,
When its festival we keep.
Now although I would not slight
Those kindly words we use ‘Good night’,
Yet parting words are words of sorrow,
And may not vie with sweet ‘Good Morrow’,
With which again our friends we greet,

The Vegetable Air

You’ re clean shaven in this country
where trees grow beards of moss,
where even bank tellers
look a little like banditos
in vests as pungent as sweatsuits.
Still, you prefer the vegetable air
to almost any other place on the map.
After the heart attack,
you considered Paris —
the flying buttresses,
the fractured light of its cathedrals;


What god will catch me
when I’ m down, when I’ ve taken
sufficient drink to reveal
myself, when my words are little
more than a blurring
of consonant and vowel?

I’ m drunk on spring:
branches of waxy leaves that
greet me at my driveway,
a family clutching
trays of sweets.
How can I sing of this?

If I cannot sing, then
make me mute. Or lend me
words, send me
the taste of another’ s prayer,
cool as a coin
newly minted on the tongue.

Earth Cafeteria

Mudman in earth cafeteria,
I eat aardwolf. I eat ant bear.
I eat mimosa, platypus, ermine.

“White meat is tasteless, dark meat stinks.”
(The other white meat is pork, triple X.)

Rice people vs. bread people.
White bread vs. wheat bread.
White rice vs. brown rice.
Manhattan vs. New England.
Kosher sub-gum vs. knuckle kabob.

“What is patriotism but love of the foods one had as a child?”*

To eat stinky food
is a sign of savagery, humility,
identification with the earth.