Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Table Talk

No, not the beef broccoli again. Pass the Tsingtow Did you hear the one about the cow from Minsk? Try this one written in Chinese and hope it isn’t dog, unless… What's with the cow? …Unless you’re dyslexic. The Dow is down again. Forget about the Dow, I'm talking about the cow. Where else would God be except in the undiscovered. Saw it on Netflix but I can’t remember what. ….gives milk like they’ve never seen before.So they bring in a bull. He’s not in the kitchen steaming the hell out of the rice. It was a director’s cut. And He’s not stuffing truths inside the cookies. Too much good news. When the bull approaches the cow moves away. He’s probably commiserating with those oversized fish in the undersized tank. One of the ten best. I think I just found Him on the tip of my tongue between the sweet and sour and the hot and pungent. . …and the Rabbi said, “My wife is from Minsk".

There’s no deli like Brent's and it’s not just the matzo ball soup. The twice- baked, rye bread makes this a destination. Peggy’s salami recalled a passage from the Thomas Mann book we are reading. Our friend was moved to discourse on Derrida as she deconstructed her blintzes. In the next booth two men were in disputation over Neocons. The man across the aisle with Einstein’s hair wrote in his notebook, sauerkraut dripping from his Reuben. On the way out my buddy mused about Orpheus and Eurydice and never looked back. I’d never thought of cold cuts as brain food or how Darwinism trumps Creationism in the way cucumbers evolve to briny dills. 

Religion and politics all over the news but not on our menu. We talk movies and sports and past glories.. We search the salad for something benign on the tongue or an agreed-upon subject to scorn like the monsoonal air, our H.M.O.s or complain that we’ve forgotten how to sleep. At the next table we overhear a remark on the undocumented busboy or the genetically tampered tomato. How a caramelized walnut found a homeland among the over-dressed greens The imperialism of the vinaigrette causing small uprisings among the fundamentalist lettuce. It could be worse. We could be in the wrong city sitting next to wired zealot and we, without a prayer, while the ice cap is melting in our passion fruit tea. 

Deliver me please from this trendy ristorante where the waiter auditions the specials and the pasta tastes like noise; where we must shout for water and lip-read across the table, then tip and run into the relative silence of traffic. Return me to the Automat where I could introvert into my hot water and ketchup and thicken my life with crushed Saltines, where the man in the change booth throws out twenty nickels like an alchemist who just found the key to convert base metals, fingering them through the glass so I could take communion with a Kaiser roll and coffee. Or better yet I might brown-bag it in the park with some pigeon-covered bronzed general among men adrift on their benches, lost in memories of what never quite happened and I could be one of them. 

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