Thursday, November 15, 2007

A food poem

Rob Hardy's post about home-made bagels got me to thinking about food. Actually, I think about food most of the time. What will I eat later, what do we need from the grocery store, how was this or that meal, and so forth.

We live in a small town and, while there are some good restaurants, the choices for dining out are, shall we say, limited. It has become a Friday ritual to meet some friends downtown for drinks, then launch into a discussion about where to eat dinner. It takes about 5 minutes to run through the list of local dining establishments and we usually settle on one of them*, but we sometimes get adventurous or desperate and go to to eat in a nearby town (or occasionally all the way to Minneapolis). And we talk about memorable meals we've eaten in far-flung places. Each year we buy a meal at a fundraiser for the Arts Guild or the Historical Society. These are donated by local gourmands and prepared in their homes. Moroccan, Irish. It's fun.

So I started working on a long boring food essay that may or may not appear here someday. In the meantime, here's a little poem on the subject.


The neon sign blinks
its slow rhythm
the light from inside falls on the snow
steam rises

and the smell -- the smell is amorphous
it is the smell of food
but not a food
it is an admixture that evokes hazy memories
of meals enjoyed long ago
the smell and the memories are pleasant, uncertain,

People leave, talking quietly, sharing a laugh
Others enter hurriedly
drawn by the steam and the neon and the warmth
and the smell

I wait for you on the corner
anxious for the mingling of smells

* In reference to the paucity of choices, one of our number said last week "Sometimes I hate this town." That sounds harsh, but it isn't. It's just...true.


Rob Hardy said...

Sexy! I like it. I should try to write a poem about food. Maybe a poem about hot dogs to read at Tiny's tomorrow night.

We ate at El Tequila for my birthday a week ago. Afterwards, I embarrassed Will by taking lots of pictures of him in his tuxedo at the band concert. On the way home, he said to my wife, "Never let Dad drink a 27-oz. margarita before a band concert again!"

Greg said...

"it is the smell of food
but not a food"
Really sharply observed & nicely put.

"the smell and the memories are uncertain, pleasant,
The triple adjective is very good, with two positives and one less so. I'd do two things: rerarrange to "pleasant, uncertain, inviting" (to throw it a bit off kilter) and break the line after "pleasant" ( a bit better balance to my eye).

"I wait for you on the corner
anxious for the mingling of smells"

Overall a lovely & evocative poem and I am delighted to throw some (deserved) praise back to you.

Jim H. said...

Greg: I agree completely with you suggestions. The changes have been made.

And congratulations on the publication of your verse called 'Trouble.' I like it a lot.

Greg said...

Thanks! And thanks for the very kind remarks about "Over Coffee." Very validating.