When I was sixteen years old I was the only vegetarian around—I lived in a small town and I guess everyone ate meat.
I had three best guy friends; we were a bit of a foursome. We once made a short film with my video camera where one of them, Eoin, turned into a cigar Indian while trying to thieve objects in a house (including toilet paper). The house was my house and we still quote that movie; it’s called “Sitting Bull” and my parents still have that cigar Indian.
The point is, I was the vegetarian of the group. They used to sing this song to me constantly. Listening to it now, I feel good about being compared to Mary Moon. She’s an intellectual, but despite this fact, remains quite sexual. I’m down with that.
This one goes out to Tom, Eoin, and Schnibbe, who taught me this song, to speed up at yellow lights, and the meaning of a “rusty trombone.” Gross.
Today is my last day of classes. Most significantly, today is the last day of the intro to creative writing class I’ve been teaching this semester. I will miss my class; they made me laugh & taught me about the Fibonacci sequence. They worked hard and wrote risky poems. We all have to recite a poem in honor of the last day, and then they will hand in their portfolios, and then I will want to hug them all, but I will not. And I will begin by reciting this, by James Schuyler:
Letter Poem #3
The night is quiet
as a kettle drum
the bullfrog basses
tuning up. After
swimming, after sup-
per, a Tarzan movie,
dishes, a smoke. One
planet and I
wish. No need
of words. Just
you, or rather,
us. The stars tonight
in pale dark space
are clover flowers
in a lawn the expanding
universe in which
we love it is
our home. So many
galaxies and you my
my star, my sun, my
other self, my bet-
ter half, my one
How easily happiness begins by
dicing onions. A lump of sweet butter
slithers and swirls across the floor
of the sauté pan, especially if its
errant path crosses a tiny slick
of olive oil. Then a tumble of onions.
This could mean soup or risotto
or chutney (from the Sanskrit
chatni, to lick). Slowly the onions
go limp and then nacreous
and then what cookbooks call clear,
though if they were eyes you could see
clearly the cataracts in them.
It’s true it can make you weep
to peel them, to unfurl and to tease
from the taut ball first the brittle,
caramel-colored and decrepit
papery outside layer, the least
recent the reticent onion
wrapped around its growing body,
for there’s nothing to an onion
but skin, and it’s true you can go on
weeping as you go on in, through
the moist middle skins, the sweetest
and thickest, and you can go on
in to the core, to the bud-like,
acrid, fibrous skins densely
clustered there, stalky and in-
complete, and these are the most
pungent, like the nuggets of nightmare
and rage and murmury animal
comfort that infant humans secrete.
This is the best domestic perfume.
You sit down to eat with a rumor
of onions still on your twice-washed
hands and lift to your mouth a hint
of a story about loam and usual
endurance. It’s there when you clean up
and rinse the wine glasses and make
a joke, and you leave the minutest
whiff of it on the light switch,
later, when you climb the stairs.