Canto LXXVII

My first childhood foray into the realm
of “foreign food” was greasy beef chow mein
from the nearest Chinese to our home.

We gave short shrift to that small town refrain
about local moggies that went missing,
although I hear the Chinese said the same

about the first McDonald’s in Beijing.
The first few times I pushed aside beansprouts,
pak choy and onions before I gave in

and shoveled the whole lot into my mouth—
a gluttonous, lip smacking reverie
of slop and crunch and gristle, just enough

to keep my fussy tendencies at bay.
The thing I loved the most was how it kept
the cuboid contours of the upturned tray,

a noodly sandcastle that would reflect
the way that dog food slid out of the tin
with such allure that I have to confess

to wanting a taste when Mum wasn’t looking.
But when my twenties came I veered away,
affected tendencies for finer things,

traveled the menu, made a long essay
of Szechuan chef specials, ordered dim sum
at the designated time of day.

But finally I’ve returned to square one,
I’ve exercised my gastro-snobbery.
Give me the greasiest plate I’ve ever known,

the salty, bitch-slap tang of MSG.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. peter litton
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 00:44:48

    I like the Chinese references in these poems. In one hundred years time, when China owns the whole world, groups of Chinese literature students will make pilgrimages to Slough to seek out the birth place of Niall O’ Sullivan…you will be more famous in China than Li Po.

    I like this: “a gluttonous, lip smacking reverie of slop and crunch and gristle…”

    Reply

  2. ReadMeSthingYouLove (@RMSYL)
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 21:31:09

    That last line is a joy…

    Reply

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