Monday, August 26, 2013

Howl for Dessert; Or, The Beat Guide to Making Coffee Yogurt Pie by Ian Marshall


I

I saw the best bellies of my generation destroyed by desserts, overfed and love-handled
and still hungry,
eating their way through flamb├ęs and mousses and baked Alaskas, looking for a 
cholesterol high,
potbellied yuppies settling deep into comfy chairs at the universal dining room table
of gustatory satisfaction
who yearned for upward mobility and stock options and adjustable rate mortgages
that went only down and sat up wondering how the hell to pay the grocery
bill and listening to buzz of lawn mowers in the key of Barry Manilow,
who put on starched collars and tightened neckties to ward off recession and saw
Charlie Tuna too clever for his own good caught in dolphin-free nets, and
paid the extra twenty cents to alleviate bad conscience,
who gave up eating out when the kids arrived because pablum and zwiebacks cut
into the entertainment budget, and besides there was no sitter,
who stocked up on tortilla chips and pretzels, laden high with jalapeno and cheddar
dip, and watched endless holy day football,
who saw their lean and hungry look dissolve into cellulite and thought, that’s it,
either I go back to amphetamines and cigarettes or find a low fat dessert—
ah, yups, when you are not happy, I am not happy; if you are overweight, so too am I;
as you fear for your budget, so do I.
We can give up and emulate the universe, for it too is expanding, and it is vast and 
so too are we, and thus it is in keeping with the nature of all being to loosen our
belts and buy new pants, seeking out those that promise, in a blend of euphemism
and oxymoron, “relaxed fit,” 
or we could diet and mimic with abdominal emptiness the state of our spirit, for the belly
 is as good a seat for the soul as any other, and we shall embark on quests, 
ransacking the cupboard for cookies and finding nada, nothingness, only the
void, and all of it too, and we will burn inside, gnawing at ourselves from within calorie by calorie,
or we can learn a cheap and easy and not-too-fattening dessert recipe, as follows:

II

I’m with you in the kitchen
where you feel so inept
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you’ve fried numerous fatted cattle
I’m with you in the kitchen
where electricity spies at you through the sockets
I’m with you in the kitchen
where the cosmos is replicated
I’m with you in the kitchen
where clouds of residue of burnt flesh are sucked into oblivion by the purring
monotone of the fan above the mountainous range 
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you cuss at the vagaries of toaster 
I’m with you in the kitchen 
where till now only the automated coffee maker with built-in grinder offered
solace
I’m with you in the kitchen
to show you how to make a coffee-vanilla yogurt pie and to lend moral
support
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you put a cup of coffee yogurt in the blender
I’m with you in the kitchen 
where you add a cup of vanilla yogurt
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you add as well  six ounces of Cool Whip
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you turn on the blender
I’m with you in the kitchen
where the ratcheting whirring blades fend off the machinery of the void
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you tamp down swirling hunks of Cool Whip and yogurt with a wooden
spoon till the consistency is smooth
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you pour the creamy mixture into a chocolate pie crust
I’m with you in the kitchen
where if you want you can add a topping of chocolate chips, for chocolate
is manna
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you put the pie in the freezer overnight, to remind your dessert of
eternity and to render it solid
I’m with you in the kitchen
where you dig in with either fork or spoon
and you are sure to share

Author bio: 

Given Clockwise Cat's expressed animus for academic poetry, Ian Marshall is somewhat embarrassed to confess that he is a professor of English and Environmental Studies at Penn State Altoona. But not to worry--the poetry is not academic, beyond a wry allusion or two. He is the author of four books, most recently Walden by Haiku (Georgia, 2009), which attempts to reduce Thoreau's Walden to a series of haiku (please don't ask why), and Border Crossings: Walking the Haiku Path on the International Appalachian Trail (Hiraeth, 2012).

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