Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Food Poetry in Two Styles

Hello… so we’re going to take it down a little this week, with some food poetry. Specifically, two pieces of different origin and style.

The first piece was on display at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia. I saw it there in June 2001 with Pina (this unaltered photo was taken there).

Love this poem, written by a present-day Asian Canadian poet who describes the migration of tea from China to Scotland way back when. It caught my eye because not long before the trip I’d worked for Lipton and was still a bit tea-focused, though even without Sir Thomas whispering in my ear, it still struck me as lovely and an important story to tell.

A Recipe for Tea
by Jim Wong-Chu ©

a modest pot
enough for
small cups

insert tea

green or fermented
or in a

(the first ships came to trade)
the area was fukien
the traders were scottish

the water
boiled separately

brought it back
bastardized it
made it mud
drowned in heavy cream
two, three teaspoons
of colonial sugar
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The second piece is one that I wrote as an ode to Dan (see May 10 on Planet Marly), my de facto buffalo wing partner in crime. This poem is way different in style from the one by Mr. Wong-Chu, though it's similar in that it also points to a food ritual.

To clarify the phrase “two singles, medium, extra crispy”: "single" is an order of 10 wings at our fave Atomic Wings. In the early days, when our trust was thin-skinned, Dan and I would each order a single, rather than one double, so there’d be a guaranteed balance of wing distribution. "Medium" is the heat level we preferred (heats @ Atomic are: for the sane -- mild, medium, hot; for the insane -- abusive, nuclear, suicidal), and "extra crispy," well that’s the best way to eat 'em... fried just a little bit longer so the skin is crispy, not fatty. And Duff's, La Nova and Anchor are some of "the" wing spots in Buffalo, NY.

The Buffalo Wing Poem
by Marly Miller © 2/22/96
(read in an exhibitionist Beatnik style)

Two singles, medium, extra crispy.

Their coupling, it was Fated.
The word "diet"? Oh puh-LEASE.
The antithesis to "day job"
Is some fat in arteries!

Kindred pals oft take the subway
To the only truth they know:
Tastebuds only quench from flames
From our beloved Buffalo.

Two singles, medium, extra crispy.

Primal visions we imagine
Take the place of beaus or dates:
Orange fingers, orange faces,
Orange napkins, orange plates.

If "one" is if by land,
Well then "two" is if by wings.
How about new honey-mustard
Or barbeque flavorings?

Two singles, medium, extra crispy.

Not a capon, nor some pheasants;
A mere chicken is our kingdom.
We'll be happy being peasants
As we revel in our wingdom!

Go La Nova, or go Duff's, dear.
Too there's Anchor and Atomic.
Followed by some Ben & Jerry's?
Lesser souls would surely vomit.

1 comment:

Sussy said...

I love how the wings poem ends...brilliant! I would not be one of those vomiting souls...I would indulge with you and your friend on wing ice cream with blue cheese chunks!, don't think it would do well but hey just a thought.