I believe this piece is going to undergo a few changes in the next little while. I notice a few things I would like to reconsider . . . Edit 1 May 21, 2006  Edit 2 Oct 2, 2014

pot roast peas carrots and potatoes
with onions and dumplings

like a sinuous dancer and her retinue on a familiar tour of the rooms
the scent of simmered beef, sweet carrots, celery and onions
and something else, something musky-bitter
slowly insinuated itself through the busy kitchen
out to the livingroom with its slip-covered furniture and slowly ticking clock
past the warm chrome and blue steel coal-fired stove
the photos on the tables the chipped figurines on the high places
sniffing out the time-beiged textured flowered wallpaper
nosing up the scuffed chipped mouldings
padding up the wool carpet runnered stairs
slithering around the simple square bannister spindles
ghostly flowing along the short dark corridor
swirling through each rectangular invitation into
my sister’s room and mine her door slightly ajar showing
dried palm fronds on pastel pictures of the saints in guilty gilt frames
then through mine half open investigated rumpled clothes behind my door
today’s practice sweatshirt, jock and socks handkerchief
and over to my nose my hungry nose reluctant nose
down the olfactory passages up the sensors into the brain
penetrating the image of the thing swaying in the kitchen near
our mother silently looking over her sagging shoulder at the timer ticking
slowing turning on its temporal spit roasting in its hell flames
turning towards the culmination when all crimes officially
would be forgotten while homework stacked on my desk on hers
had our brains on automatic listening for the creaking stairs
the stumble the door closing the long drilling of pee into the toilet
the interminable squeaking of floorboards outside the closed door or not

the raised invocation to the cloisters for penance before meals
images of the saints all curvy females roasting saucily on spits
over fires in the Colloseum before the rollicking mob of Rome
writhing sensually in rags ripping as we all watched
in fascination as more and more lovely nubile flesh expose
a thigh a shoulder the side of a breast a nipple a beseeching
eye I would rescue her run through the screaming mob leap into the
arena kill the lions break the chains that spread her thighs
and yes yes yes the area just below her softly curving belly yes yes yes
uh supper sure be right there (quick a handkerchief)

In the chapel the table is spread with our simple meal
boiled buttered chunks of ah turnip stewed potatoes onions
carrots celery I have a piece of bay leaf still hard after all that
dumplings puffy pungent hot chewy peppered salted gravied
we shall give thanks for this meal your mother has prepared
and the pope of Himself yawn on about the wonderful mother
meal that we would have helped her with if he hadn’t sent us to
our rooms for whatever was still standing over his shoulder
and looking over ours as he stared at my sister’s pimples
and ordered her to wash her face you digust me.

There is a place in hell
its name is detail
its name is picayune
its name is clarity of cruelty
its name is dread

Out and down in the arena saint sweet innocence writhes spread saucily naked
in chains for our viewing and eating pleasure
I envy her that she has earned pity, admiration, martyrdom
we know she has suffered we admit that being ripped apart does it
she is the genesis of a million masturbations that reenact the mob’s
delerium let’s throw away another life for fun down more roast beef
swill a beverage run through the streets ram our cars into our aircraft into
let’s run riot let’s get rid of let’s yes yes yes yes yes

but oh my sister what happened to you a frown an unkind word huh
there are no marks on skin but deep inside the fist of wroth
has started yanking kneading separating the tender flesh
and preparing the yellow festered malignancy that is to come
that will drive each of us in turn into hospitals and desperation
oh do not let them see you cry, but you and I may weep
and die a little at a time in private lamentations in our separated cells
pot roast peas carrots and potatoes
with onions and dumplings
let us give thanks to Thee O Lord

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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4 Responses to supper

  1. Penny says:

    you have some pretty raw feelings and mixed emotions here. I think that I could relate to your last poem that you gave me better than this one. While it was a difficult time emotionally, I totally found my peace through my faith. I am having a difficult time with your mixing the bad experience up with religion that gave me the only real peace that I had.

  2. Charlie Wilkins says:

    Doug; this brings so much together — the seemingly solid recollections of adolescence; the grinding loving adversarial hateful forces that run through families; the strong sense of a place in which we came of age; the fantasies; the barely contained sexuality that just seems to run through everything all the time for teenagers and only slightly less intensely every other phase of life… I like the unexpected context of it all, the waiting for the meal, the prayer, which for me becomes a sort of lament and plea for broader grace and redemption… and yet that other strange sense that no redemption is needed, except maybe for the redemption of the self, the allowance that this is how it is, that this is life, and that the overexamined life isn’t worth living either. It’s all this stuff, flying from different angles, both kissing and grinding the nerves. Fascinating.

  3. riverwriter says:

    Charlie, you read with such tenacity and intelligence: you make me feel as if I actually know what I’m doing. Generally, writing for me takes place as if I am channeling a poet, with the result that after I finish writing it, I have to read it to see what I said. Sometimes I am quite amazed by what I find. It can be pretty humbling. As I recollect, I wrote the piece in question in several spurts over a period of about two hours, with a few tinkering edits after. Otherwise, I will read what I wrote and wonder what happened to my link to wit, imagination and sense. Thanks for reading. Cheers.

  4. Charlie W. says:

    Doug; the one thing I didn’t get round to saying is that it’s really a wonderful poem, and I love the way you seem able just to throw yourslf into the cauldron, sink or swim… no safety mechanisms. You really do go where worlds collide — inner, outer, past, present, dream, fantasy, art. I think this takes a lot of guts for a writer, and is something I’ve never quite been able to achieve. There just seem to be places I don’t want to go. Shades of my dad.

    I shall read on, with pleasure.


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