LOGIC COOKING JAPANESE

That is the name of a cookbook I found In a house I moved into in Seattle in the early 90s.  

The book was in a kitchen cupboard, left behind.  I was intrigued by the cover, first.  That slim shape was unusual. I picked it up and put it into a box and put the box into a closet, where I glimpsed it occasionally. 

This book followed me for many years, evading discard, valuable as an archeological find of some importance, a tactile memory of my first apartment, a vague gesture at my own heritage, a totem of the grunge years.

The cover was quite nice. It featured some delicate brushwork by an artist named Fumiko Kimura. More on her later. 

The author was Kaz Kanda.   He sounds like a rock star. He printed 1000 of these books in 1972.

A systems safety and missile guidance engineer for the Boeing corporation, who had once worked under Contract No. AT(45-l)-1830 for the United States Atomic Energy Commission at the infamous Richland reactor, Mr. Kanda specialized in using fault-tree based logic approaches to minimize failure within systems of collective social activity. In the argot specific to his work, failure took the form of what was termed an “Undesired Event,” where that event was nuclear armageddon.

Kanda was well known in his field, and had had the sibiliant honor of presenting his whitepaper, “System Safety Math,” at the System Safety Symposium, Seattle, 1965.

Moved by the clarity and dependability of these logic-based systems to order the chaos of human endeavor, Mr. Kanda sought to apply his fault-tree logic approaches to the preparation of food, and the world of what he called “the housewives,” in order to liberate their approach to cooking.  He stated:

This cookbook was written to show the housewives how they can use a logical step approach to cooking a meal and to understand what ingredients and utencils (sic) to use at the appropriate time.

Kanda then sought to lay out, in graphical terms, some of  the Japanese cuisine’s iconic recipes, using logical symbols to define  ingredients, procedures, and interactions via a graphical interface. Kanda acknowledges the system’s idiosyncracies:

“The housewife confronted with logic symbols will at first think that following this logic will be difficult, but after using this technique, it will be found that it is very simple to understand.”

 

Here is his recipe for boiled rice (click recipes to enlarge):

And here, for the rather more complex Beef Sukiyaki:

Here is one for pickled cabbage: 

It is a disorienting cookbook. 

What obtains throughout is Kanda’s obsession with component failure: His key mission, here, is not to create delicious food, but to minimize undesired events.  

What lacks throughout is any apparent connection to, or experience with, the sensory or tactile act of preparing food: This is a cookbook written by someone who has never cooked a meal in his life.

As such, the book can be read as a cautioinary tale about systems overreach and the limits of the technocratic ideal.

Kanda was a missle systems specialist at the height of the cold war. His job, presumably, was to daily compound the probability of nuclear armageddon, factoring in the inevitability of human error, the possibility of human depravity, and the certainty of interpersonal deceptiveness.  The only way to live with that much irrational stress was to built systems to frustrate it out of existence; systems to bleach the mysteries of human intuition from any decision making process, that it may be made to yield to the cold glare of reason.

Kanda’s armageddon was at once more fiery and more palpable than the creeping anomie that defines ours. Kanda’s world was one of missiles exploding and a rain of fire cascading down upon Don McLean’s utopia . His solution was to create systems of social endeavor wherein all human activity could be programmed with the precision of a machine.

Kanda clearly viewed his cookbook as one for the ages.  He even offered a service: Send him your recipes, and he would convert them into fault-tree logical sequences, hand-painted on letter-sized vellum, for just $2:50 ($5 framed).

As a cookbook, Logic Cooking Japanese is a failure.

However, as an illustration of the limits of ideology,  it is a work of art.  A  myopic moonshot, Logic Cooking Japanese is a perfect embodiment of the famous aphorism:

An idealist thinks, If it’s right, it will work,’ where a realist thinks, ‘if it works, it is right.’

 

Fumiko Kimura, the fine illustrator of Logic Cooking Japanese, is alive and well and living in Tacoma. 

 

Plan for a Poem #7

I plan to write a poem, titled:

Hurting others, and how to avoid doing so.

The poem would show you can’t avoid doing so.

And It might contain a good line, like:

She left her heart, half eaten on the plate
Right where she knew he’d find it.

Anyways, that’s my plan.  

Plan For a Poem, #5 (Part III)

 

By now you know
I planned to write a poem
about all the drugs i have taken.

My Controlled Substances Act.

I. And I had been done
for a time, at least, with most substances.
A clean three months,
Lenten Self-Help 101.
Reborn at my Birthday
and looking forward from then to
nothing more stimulating than perhaps
a little Viagra
(My wife had a subscription)
A glass of wine, and then, later —
much, much later —
different sorts of drugs:
Truly scary drugs,
prescribed by bad people,
no longer recreational.
not taken for fun, but  against death.

(and therefore out of the scope of this analysis).

And that’s
where I was
when someone
offered me
pot.

II. The poem would now try and quantify what a pothead is.

But, like all pot-headed poetry,
it would sound much better in idea than in exposition.
or be subject to some kind of labor
that is easier to imagine than do.

(Or perhaps we’re all just lazy as fuck.)  

Anyway, a pothead is someone who seems to meander about
slightly befuddled, curious, flexible,
and porous enough, therefore, for large ideas to pass through,
sometimes noticed, sometimes not,
like neutrinos passing through our bodies
or a planet flying through time
or a baby, being born.

or a colorblind vegetarian equal parts choice and fate,
or a punctual person, stuck two minutes in the past,
or a justice system based on need rather than blame,
or a poet reciting, chewing gum.

A pothead is one who smokes alot of pot.

And pot is amazing:
fun, weird, not scary . . .

(Oh, and! . . .
A way better bargain economically!
If the unit is “degrees from normal” and the competition is alcohol at $7 a pint,
pot is cheap by comparison.)

“By comparison?”
“Yea, by comparison: right next to adjacent,
on top of Superior —
along with contingent,”

See, that’s what we’re talking about.
Pot is like steroids for your perspective,
and so you make better decisions,
and you can also get really sweaty —
It’s fine as long as you’re honest about it.

…At which point, the poet admits he’s become a pothead.

(or, as they call it on the islands, “a Herbsman”)

https://youtu.be/vtgRKZjVA0k?t=9m25s

III. A Pothead!

Such an undignified thing!
A lattice of scorn, thrown at the stoners;
laughter at their relaxation,
disgust at their optimism.
Their coolness of temper? So fucking lame.
Glazed imperfection, masquerading as virtue.

And yet, it out-lasted,and grew,
as some kind of plant.  

The poet would explain how the habit formed slowly
Like learning to ride a bike.
At some point in fertile fasting,
he found himself smoking this fabulous stuff!
He’d smoked it before, of course: a couple dozen times, sure.
But now, he was driven to be high all the time.
Because it makes decisions easier to make
And parenting more rewarding and easy and fun
And enduring the pain that life gives, possible
and food tasting good.
Really good.
really really.
Good.
food

I’m eating deliberately but slowly
and without pause.
I am slowly but efficiently eating as many of these nachos as my deeply stoned state will allow
and because the target is good —nachos — the efficiency is at a premium.

 

The poet would then make a sketch
of cultists, who always had pot, being around at that time
hawking frequent opt-in smoking
But soon, he realized how irresponsible this was,
and started buying his own. 

And once he’d embraced it,
it embraced him back.

And he realized with joy, what should have been obvious:
that they call it High for a reason.
He was always high, now
floating around, dangerously optimistic
Thinking things on the top of his brain
Getting more good at being less unhappy
listening to things just for how they sound
lost in a dream of fog slowly lifting
opened eyes wide and slightly smiling.
and able to tune vibrations to a wider range of frequencies
than with Alcohol, the other life drug.

He knew that being high was different than being drunk.
(Not that it’s a difficult thing to know.)
Alcohol drove a biological truck
While Pot just stood and watched.
And if alcohol was, let’s face it, a better dancer,
Pot could get more things done.
Things like learning to dance,
and shingling sheds,
And detecting falsehoods,
without leaving you fucking wrecked.

(Is it too much to hint that Pot just may restore pagan sensibilities
to this horridly post-modern world?)

No wonder they made this illegal.
It’s a better product.

IV. The poet might then wonder,
if the abundance of pot, all around, all of a sudden
indicated the world around him changing?
or himself drifting into a new world?

Drifting is much better, mind you
So that’s what he’d choose.

Pot filtered his world by making it great.
like looking at things through a prism.
It let him see wider, act looser, get higher,
and save lives at the same time,
through the manufacture of good feelings –
Even though ye contemplate the horrors of time.

And so, as life upped the pain, and frowned in the living room
Pot helped him slip right out the back door.

V. The poem, now finishing,
would strive for some pop.
Evangelical flourish — go out with a bang!
And realizing, envisioning
a way to bebop
with the words, now the poem, would start to refrain

A final Pandora,
her box smashed to bits.
The pothead adores ya!
He laughs and he sits

His thoughts now fall to naught but time moves on
distracted by all the things now worth the look
A vain old memoir that ends here in song
forced from non-being in part by crook and hook
I have worn feelings felt straight from this human heart
But no such address now exists for one true love
And drugs, a balm for that which tears apart,
and yet allow us spit at the fool gods above
And grace of this we seek, now turned to habit
While feelings are still fresh and words inspired
I recollect the truth, and herewith stab it
Staying up at night, all high and tired

I sit, and think of all the drugs I’ve done
And write down words,
            Right
                 Down
                      to
                          This

                               One.

… Anyways, that’s my plan.

Plan For a Poem, #5 (Part II)

I planned, as you know,
to write a poem. about
the drugs I have taken.


The poem, which had started as chance
observation of innocent amusements,
had soon devolved into a
celebration of the
fury of youth

I had promised to speak about love.
And I did take a lot of Ecstasy.

Or, as we called it then…

VII. MDMA

A barely known substance
made by the Sophomore class of Reed college.
(Or was that MDA?)
And what was the extra “M” for anyways?
Already it was trippy . . .

the M stands for Make Sure You Have A lot of Money
cause it was expensive.

My brother ordered it from Kevin (?)
who sent it through the mail.
and offered dubious advice:

“He says it’s best if you take three hits at once.”

. . . I have never been more fucked up on a drug.

VII. Keats-like,
regarding clouds wisping away
and all the sky spinning blue
round the center of a world
that love loves love loves love loves loves you
And feels so good
So unbelievably good
And it’s so good to
feel this good.

especially
when the

speed

part

hits.

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
vibrating eyeballs
and thiss amzaing.
espezally Naked,
when you jump out of this tree

Covered in
blood, welts, mud, bugs
beating people
with poisonous flowers
Garden-of-Eden-level intensity;
Heironymus Bosch edition.

Getting
um
so so so
it’s amazing I love it
Ant Colony New York
shy smoke leaf web
or steam?
acorn steam
from this
sea of waves
coming this way
to me to me to me to me!

I can lick my own lips
I can touch my own fudge,
See? Unhnnnhnbb
oooooo
left wall good two legs better
lick this shit
Shit
annnh.
head pillow
push
fush crumbs
glut of muttony
kill the sheep captain
fucking like this:
HUUHNHHBHH NNNH
I think I see
a horse


VIII. The poet would now tell a true story: He lived in Concord, Mass during his high-school years when many of these hi-jinx were occurring.  He lived  not far from the revolutionary monument of the Old North Bridge.  

Once, on Ecstasy, on the Fourth of July, an anxious horse wearing a three-cornered hat entered his yard.  Cornered by a split-rail fence, the horse began to rage. On the other side of the fence, the poet—naked, bleeding, smoking, high as fuck, and slowly growing aware of a compound, multi-perspective shared hallucination that may, in fact, have become become real—felt his mind blow.

As he stood so transfixed, the Concord All-volunteer Minutemen Reenactment Society now entered the yard, tricornes of their own atop  heads, long-muskets at their shoulders.  And then, as they—the corrupted old—regarded him—the wasted youth—across a heaving sea of stallion, the poetic power of the Suburban Psychedelic Dystopia reached something of a personal apogee.

Then they tried to cut out his heart.

IX. Now, the poem would have to acknowledge its own structure,
and see that it had reached a limit,
That the visual psychedelic splendour of this particular
Heart of Darkness (starring Alicia Silverstone)
stood as a summit achieved, in the end.
I mean—what drug could possibly outshine that?

… there is one, you know.  

A powerful potion, yet so minimal at first, so ubiquitous and supplicating that we didn’t even notice it. There was no explosive anticipation; no terror on the tongue, no legal paranoia, no threat of a breakdown—just a slow, steady, calm rising, like a tide coming in or a river breaking its banks.  A bloodless universal liquid, inexorably flooding us all.

X. IT IS ALCOHOL

And Alcohol is IT:
Your shy-but-growing-more-confident-all-the-time new friend.  Not playing the same silly competitive games as those psychotropics! No, it just wants a chance to get to know you a little better, ‘cause it thinks we could be buddies. Just a drink, and we’ll take it from there . . .

Alcohol is Man’s Best Friend.

No mere intoxicant
But a shamanic machine for interpersonal communication.
Not electrical and mind-controlling, not inward looking,
but magical and fate-making, and outward-pulling
Like a baby’s first breath.

Alcohol is universally appreciated because it is universally appreciated.
it works at all frequencies on the spectrum.
It practices all religions
(Even the ones that lie about it)
and speaks every language known to man.
(And speaks them better when drunk)

It binds you to a reality so social
so impassioned,
so pure,
that how could you not love it?

Community.

Alcohol—despite what they tell you—helps you belong.

It’s mathematics are simple:
the more you drink the more it works.
The square root of drunk is tipsy.
And drunkenness squared is possible-if dangerous

Case in point:

Alcohol is a way of life:

To be drunk (alive) is to be alive (drunk).
And as such,
Alcohol is a vampire
But life sucks, too!

. . . and so it happened

that somewhere in my mid-20s,
By its rapid ubiquity
and sudden ascendance,
this All-About-Eve of stimulants
suddenly stood unchallenged in the glow of the consciousness spotlight:
a star was born.

XI: Alcohol solves problems as a solvent
It ages like an agent.
And tries patients in a pageant
that stumbles from bar to bar.
Hilariously. Romantically.
Magically.  Touching me.

The poem might emulate, now, that confluence of feeling—
Bravery, sweat, communion, love, perversion, filth, energy,
swagger, hilarity,
dancing and absolutely no bullshit,
That it is to be drunk.
That is wasted.
That is set adrift on vaporous boasts
That kisses with the wet mouth of a dreamer
That sings like an angel, and smokes like one too.
That knows how to climb these cable-car things
That can jump like a ninja, just watch this, Pussy!
That eats things made of salt mixed with grease
and still manages to get the girl
I mean, no one remembers.
but it must have been amazing.

And then, It comes clear:
The Glory of Dionysus
Laid over adulthood
Like a gentleman’s coat o’er a corner puddle.


For Alcohol is more than a drug,
more than a temporary dabbling in an unsustainable state
It’s an ingredient for a life
lived beyond survival;
A celebration of a fraught gift
through getting fucked up.
A magic potion that makes sex possible
and creates mysteries out of mundane things.

Alcohol releases the soul to its own recognizance
and allows animal instincts to fly free.
A consecrated liquid,
it turns us all into what we already are:
Beasts, lurching through complex arrangements,
confused about the possible outcome
Tilting at windmills
but trying our best
to always keep the spirits alive

And in that light, it is reasonable
that Hank pissed on cop cars
Dimitri broke his arm
Henry drank a whole bottle of hot sauce
just to annoy his girlfriend
Shane puked every Fourth of July
As a goal and celebration
Rueben broke into an old folks home
to use their massage chairs
Lydia fucked in the walk in
and got frostbite on her ass
Sonya set her clothes on fire
Henry (again) made a street pimp punch him
And F. Scott died so young. 

XII:  American Alcoholic

XIII.  And now, as the stories grow older,
the winds would die down

and we’d sail the seas of Alcohol, away from the fertile lands of youth
along the  currents of  domesticity
through heaving seas of dying dreams
and into the craggy, frigid shoals of Middle Age
All on Oceans of Bad Wine

The poem would remind us
how now, Alcohol, because it was everywhere
began to suffer from that hate-your-best-friend syndrome.
The rich garden that alcohol created

now seemed to need constant watering and care.
The relationships it fostered through inebriation
grew taxing and difficult in light of day.
The boldness it fueled
seemed partial stupidity,
And the effects began to wear
Even as drinking engagements proliferated:
Brunch-drunk routine
Beers before noon
Constant micro-dosing
Cooking, with wine
Do we need another bottle?
I won’t say no to that
Wine O’Clock already
And yes, I’d love another.

And all in a desperate, pre-emptive bid
to both clarify and deny
The excess of youth
of which we’re so envious as life slips away.

Mid-Life Alcohol now took a new hue
as depressant, in part.
And pathetic to boot:
Liquid persuasion?
It just all seems so desperate
And now that it’s everywhere,
it seems to work less.

Promise inverted:
To make us appreciate the real world more?
Or to render us numb
to the world as it is.

(Alcoholic? By many measures, most of us already are.)

And so, as with many long-term relationships,
there came that moment
where Alcohol and I
had to get separated.
Cause the relationship had become toxic.

(And then, Marijuana saved the day…)

…To Be Concluded in Part III. 

 

 

Plan for a Poem #5

I plan to write a poem, titled
“Controlled Substances Act”


1. It would be my drug memoir.

And it would start with some sort of evocation of
the earliest stimulant:

SUGAR!

(And let’s be for real: do you remember how high you could get on that shit?)
Candy was way stronger then.
Halloween was like a Grateful Dead parking lot.
I did things on Sugar I would never do straight.
The addiction full swing, from the first dose on.
frothing, jonesing, withdrawing, freaking
3 years old and fucked up.

You don’t believe me?

Believe this!


Just look at 
that kid,
and try try try
not to see a future
that requires:

a
controlled
substances
act:

Part I

 

 


2. Age 5, Diversified.

The poem would show it like this:
How a mistake-mouthful of something salty
Jolted neurotransmitters
and made the tongue burn
just a bit.
From there, it was easy.

Salt to Bacon, Back to salt. Bacon to Pickles,
to Soy Sauce, to Salt on Salami, to Sauerkraut

And then,
How that omnipresent dyad of “Salt and Pepper” made me want to try

PEPPER!

I got hooked on that stuff.

The burn; the pain.
It led to harder shit:

Pickled Peppercorns
Pepperocini
Hot Sauce
Jalapenos
Dried Hot Pepper
(on Pizza)
Tabasco
Paprika
Cayenne
Garlic-

Whoa!

 

(Somehow, interrupt the poem to tell a narrative tale, of how, at age 6, I first discovered the comfort of the K-Hole, locked in my downstairs bathroom with my older brother, getting through a whole jar of Pepperocini in one go. I seem to recall someone pounding on the bathroom door, like in a drug bust, as we consumed in a frenzy)


3.  I would use then use poetry to evoke a pattern

(that would be repeated later with Cocaine)
of a short dabble into the strange world of a different sort of stimulant:

COFFEE!

Whole gallons drunk.
to diarrhea stage, age 11!
Eating moistened grounds at summer camp with friends
just to get fucked up!

And it was the full experience, let me tell you!
Narrating sensations, overtopping the dam of restraint, trying to get higher, self-consciousness simultaneously obliterated and made more acute; the whole thing laying the groundwork for trips to come, later.

And clearly leading somewhere, now:

A single-use stimulant, deployed primarily for it’s neurological affect, which is also a  botanically derived, granular substance that tastes merely ok.


(Oh, and it’s a partially controlled substance: In Boston, it is illegal to serve a ristretto to a minor)

Oh, and as greater poets before have noted:


“Coffee,
and
Cigarettes.”

            

 . . . Don’t mind if I do.

 

 

 


4. The poem might then shift, and begin a second movement.  

In which the poet would aim for bigger themes,
Talk about Man vs. The State,
Remind us that

CIGARETTES!

are Illegal
(In some strange quarters)

And how that rule, that first idea of
being unworthy of the whole of adulthood was a declaration of war.

 

There would be a great line, there. About the stakes.

Something like:

“Cigarettes were our Franz Ferdinand; a straw man used to open hostilities against Innocence.”

(Or, maybe that’s a little pompous, but you get it…)

…at any rate, Smokes were the first truly controlled substance.
And once we’d discovered that—
that substances could be controlled
that authority commanded stupid laws
and that those laws could be broken
and that to do so was to be socially engaged
we set out to do so.

Fools for trouble, all of us!
Let the war on consciousness now begin!
Cigarettes, lead the way!


V. And now came it fast and furious:

the Age of Drugs

Rapacious Influences!
Divisive emperors!

ACID. POT. MUSHROOMS. DOWNERS

Smoking Pot
Smoking Downers
Smoking Pine Needles
Drinking Mushrooms
Drinking dissolved powders
Talking hits, adding numbers
mild mathematics in service of error
and did it pay off?

 

Tripping wildly

Tripping not at all

Tripping badly

 

 

And getting lost. Getting lost in drugs, until my whole life had to come find me there, wherever it was that I was lost.

 

My friends, my family, my relationships, my own consciousness,
dipped in perspective
That old saw about how you can’t trust anyone who hasn’t taken acid.
Drugs got important…

Drugs were, in fact, a challenge.
And a challenge met is a challenge exceeded.
And so, we had to push it
And do just a little more than was advisable.

And once there, I owed it to the world
to impose my addled self thereon.
Shopping on Drugs. Groceries. Knitwear.
Exposing the madness we live inside.
Music on Drugs. Mano-a-Mano with that shit
Like talking with spirits
Driving on Drugs. Why the fuck not?
Sex on Drugs.
Holy fuck, lost in someone’s body
and it’s not even me.
but it is many kinds of feelings and fun as hell.

(And also like a good marriage: Impossible. Ideal.)

Drugs on Drugs. Playing with fire, science experiments, conjuring argot.
Losing objects, losing perspective, losing control.

I saw the best minds of my generation…


6. The poem, about drugs,

now comes fast,
redoubled
recursive
representing:
his leg was smoke mist
a city covered in fog, as
a nest of smoke
or a spider webs
webs, oh no
I said it wrong
obsessed my mind
the poetic term for style mirroring substance
Words peeling away from meanings
paint patterned psychobabble
like da da da da da
the Art movement, or the
Trio song
Leftover colors being
poured down canyon walls
by
Joni Mitchell’s Female Army.

(Remember, that record?
Ladies of the Canyon?

That record saved me
from a bad trip, once)

 

Sounds sounding funny when you say them alot:
heaping heaping heaping heaping
nourish nourish nourish nourish
tatter tatters tatters tatters
bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb

Tomorrow you’re homeless; tonight is a blast!
(Somehow, the negative always gets a day in the sun)
…and paranoia:
-The fear of that we Don’t Control
-The Feeling that It’s All Rigged
-The Awareness of All Sorts of Evil
-The Guilt at Throwing Away One’s Own Life;

burning like phosphorous

If we see a cop, we go to jail.
Life lived, liver, Live!
So on…
as long as the livre can been Livid
Onward! Sow On, Sew, On, Swan, Wards of Merkin
and the fucking cops better stay out.
assholes
Making it political. Making it real.
For real. For real, we need to examine these
rotten pilings, holding up this society
these legs holding up this society maiden
Figurehead on a Pirate Ship
that is about to crash, all over you
just cause You didn’t know that I
was thinking what You thought I
was, but didn’t know it.
These idiots who are afraid
These heartless cowards
the fascist pigs
and all of them
LIke piggies

hahahahaha

But no, it’s real
These people really are here
seek inner peace
you stupid shits
you stupid shits
you stupids shits
who don’t know what love is.

(Enter MDMA….)

 

… To Be Continued in Part II

Plan for a Poem, #4

I plan to write a poem about a stool in my house,

and how it came to find it’s place.

 

I. It was an IKEA stool, quite simple, named Bekvam.

Many of you, surely, have one.

(In that way we are all sisters and brothers in a great commodity family)

Here is his portrait:

We liberated him from the prison of Flat-pack,

and assembled him, and animated him

as a welcome household tool.

The poem would then speak of how new things make their own way

and how tools relax in being used.

The poet would show how this stool performed its duties selflessly—no complaints there:

He helped us to hang high the pictures

And get down the Top-Shelf stuff

and see just what’s up there.

He could uplift, for sure.

 

…but then, when not in use, he would mope, and maunder, and meander

through our crowded apartment, lost.

He got paint-splattered, and took on a hangdog expression;

He got wobbly, and nicked, and acted dramatic.

Communication broke down.

And then finally, the Stool got vindictive.

Now at night he tripped us up, bruising shins, soliciting falls, waking neighbors,  

kicked inadvertently by across the room by sleep-sore feet.


 

II. The poem would illustrate how,

over the course of many years,

this stool had become like a character in a Kafka story:

a lost, detached, vaguely suicidal

inanimate object, haunting us the living with it’s lack of purpose,

and general waywardness.

To live with it was to live with the French Lieutenant’s Wife.

(Or, worse, TS Eliot’s.)

It was a maudlin, unstable, morose and passive

Not quite furniture; too gross for tool.

Bekvam now became an index of depression,

Shaming us with the fact of limits to our self-supposed compassion

For things that no longer serve our needs,

Like that angry wife in a dying marriage.


 

III. But then, in this poem, something would happen: Something positive.

The stool would be joined, over time, by other IKEA furniture,

and as the kitchen slowly evolved,

(as only a New York kitchen on a Memphis salary can do)

As other Scandinavians joined him,

He seemed to find a sense of solace,

to recognize the glory of belonging to a tribe,

To glow with the comfort of kinship.

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IV. In a glorious final stanza, the poet would show us this new stool,

there, in the corner of the kitchen, under the cutting board

Three Swedish Brothers, planed in white pine and poly.

 

The little stool had finally

“found it’s place.”

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(The would then talk about how I hope to do as well, myself.

Anyways, that’s my plan.)

Plan for a Poem, #3

I plan a Haiku.

To nestle long in the mind-

(Except, I’d leave it up to the poet to figure out the last stanza, which—let’s face it—is the hardest one to get right, and still say in five syllables, which is, like, impossible. Unless you go “meta” or “dada” with something along the lines of … )

Motherfucking shit.

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(Anyways, that’s my plan).

Plan for a Poem, #2

I plan to write a poem about a telemarketer

who calls our narrator on some regular night—an omnipresent Tuesday, or something—and happens to find him tipsy.
Cute, but perhaps also vulgar.
(And who am I kidding: he wasn’t “tipsy.”
He was drunk. And High)

The Telemarker had a vacation to give away
And the narrator—Who I guess was me—had nothing but time
and an insurgent sense of optimism.

And the vacation actually sounded good.  Like, cocktails and conga-line good.

(Plus, the telemarketer had a Hindi accent.
And read from the script in this stilted, half-comprehending way
that the narrator found enchanting.  

and sort of began to pine for,

and soon grew lustful towards,

and allowed finally to release him so that he felt free and unsure and alive.* )

But in the end,the poem would show how all this was not
what I thought it was.  It was actually just a telemarketer trying to sell me something.  And it would show how it was my need to be loved that was being preyed upon, and how it was her need for whatever she needed—money, most likely—that was also being preyed upon. All by some cruel machine that grinds all these moments into dust. 

I thought I was going on vacation
But I was just another sap.

Anyways, that’s my plan. 

*- Ed. Note: Shades of Eszterhas, here: Raw sexy heat.

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Plan for a Poem, #1

I plan to write a poem about how, after many years in New York, having masturbated all my urban desires to satisfaction, it occurred to that I now rarely do new things.

So I go for a walk and think about how to change that.

I decide that I must do something new, everyday, that I’ve never done before; to add to the list of urban experiences of New York, lest that list stop growing. And to refresh my perspective.

The first day, I decide to deliberately step
in Dog Poo.

And it is liberating…

(The poem would be a short, amuse-bouche of a thing, called something
cute, like “Poo York City,” or “Metropoolis”)

Anyways, that’s my plan.

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