Howling at the dinner table

I saw the best palates of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical unsated,

dragging themselves through page gutters at deadline looking for the unfit,

eggheaded hipsters yearning for an ancient distaste for new culinary blight,

who paid and self-hating and condescending sat up snarking in the glow of a laptop and keyboard raps,

who opened their brains to menus and saw the angelic staggering of umami illuminated,

who failed university with chilled eyes hallucinating blazing among the scholars of taste,

who were hired for loquacious rage and publishing obscene slams on the ink of the page,

who cowered, eating their quarters and listening to the muttering reviews in the hall,

who got busted with a belt of fruit leather returning through the dark,

who ate their words and transformed their minds to a purgatory of opinions like waking nightmares, all ill-                             thought and endless fill,

incomprehensible rush of an insult leering toward culture and pop, putting on blast all the defenseless world                          of simmering thyme and greens,

patient cynicism, backed statements in the dawn, slam drunkenness and joyful

blinking light of a phone and its vibrations roaring with rantings lightened of their minds,

who hitched their cart to indignation and diction until the noise of derision brought them higher and begot                             best-believing beatitudes in themselves,

who wrote all night and bickered and listened to the song of unnecessary onions in their audiobooks,

who wrote continuously sixty and nine hours from scrawl to screen to print,

an army of pathetic linguists throwing gibberish from the windows to their doom,

phrase turning scrawling striking inking facts and anecdotes and the slips of diners and drive ins and dives,

whole newspapers dissolved in damnation for seventy days and nights, the meat served cold,

who vanished into their own gullet leaving a trail of sauce on their maw,

smelling Eastern sweets and ground bones and monosodium glutamates of Chinese food on the tongue,

whose tongues wandered around the mouth, wondering where to meet cherry stems together,

who bit down through pork pork pork to find a lonesome word or slight,

who worshipped Swedish chefs and bork credos because the deadline buzzed again endlessly,

who chewed blubber in the streets seeking revolutionary dishes that were revolutionary dishes,

who were mad when falafel on the tongue was anything but ecstasy,

who jumped on the food trucks of fairs on the impulse of crepes for the coming rain,

who moaned hungry seeking yogurt or oatmeal or soup and attempted to converse about hot dogs and                    sandwiches, a hopeless task,

who disappeared into the gape of their jaws leaving nothing but sickness and food reviews scattered on the page,

who reappeared one day on twitter with yawning emoji for eyes sending out incomprehensible tweets,

who wrote screeds on their hands protesting the greedy haze of franchising,

who did it for the Gram weeping while the commenters shouted them down, and wrote think pieces, and feral                       mobs also scrawled,

who broke down crying and trembling for lack of an article idea,

who bit into wings and shrieked with delight at their own culinary pedantry and indoctrination,

who howled in the drive thru and were towed away gnashing their teeth,

who let themselves be sickened in their stomachs, and belched with joy,

who tasted and were tasted by pineapple sailing the curvature of the tongue,

who brunched in the morning in cafés in kitchens and bistros scattering spit to whomever may enter the spray,

who tried to pose endlessly but wound up with no faves when the bland and naïve angel came to mute them                           without a word,

who lost tongues to the shrews of taste the fuzzed dish of peaches the dumb-eyed blackberries in their bloody                       bloom and the cold bruised shrew of the icebox,

who chewed insatiable with a can of Hamm’s a donut a double quarter pounder and belched, a long mire of gas                      hot and suffocating like a final vision of fried gizzards before losing consciousness,

who soured the chicken in their mouths, and were ready to pour on the salt until sunrise, the meat sad and                              burned and naked on the plate,

who went out eating in Colorado in anger, the secret of these reviews, the ordained — play of the pen stuck in                        a windowless bar, dim-lit ristorante, on the tables of hovels with underpaid wait staff and the gas sta                              tions and solipsism of judgement, and home cooking too,

who lolled tongues at the bakeoff, woke to a botched Manhattan and were hung-over with heartless Ramsays                         and kitchen nightmares and stumbled channels,

who scrolled all day with screens full of ads on the hour’s top waiting for a documentary on steamed meats                             and foul drums,

who engorged themselves on cooking drama in the LED glow and their heads will be bloated with advice                                  ad infinitum,

who ate the imagination of lamb stew and the muddied imitation crab,

who fell for the romance of grocery aisles of onions and bad music,

who packed boxes of pork ribs, and heard the birds plucking straws above,

who choked in a kitchen’s crowd like flaming tuberculosis surrounded by crates of oranges,

who reviewed roiling reusing lowbrow jokes which in print were crass at best,

who ate their own tongue hands pride self-respect words dreaming of pure adoration,

who plunged into Buzzfeed looking for an op-ed,

who cast their golden fork ballot for a chain, and shame fell from above for days,

who drove thru three times consecutively, and were forced to beg for nautical troughs to keep them supplied,

who were caught in line in bald-faced want of McNuggets amid viral blasts of reviews and the cannibalism of                          trends and the lasting burns of slick editors, or were rolled down by searing lemons in the paved alleys,

who ate car seat fries this actually happened and left others unknown lying on Chinese-made floormats,                                   searching for cheap beer,

who took food from windows, craved the window, leapt for easy fare, cried and danced on pedals barefoot                              played capitalist games of nostalgia American monopoly threw up their hands into the sky, shrieks in                                   their ears from the electric headsets,

took to the highways on end to find remembered mouthfeel and sweet elation,

who passed fried bugs through lips to find a culinary vision or to find another umami,

who ate in Denver, who digested in Denver, who waiting in Denver again blogged and finally left to eviscerate                         meals elsewhere, and Denver is better for it, we know,

who wrote listicles in cathedrals praying for a new GIF set, until the internet crashed for a second,

who crashed servers waiting for golden tickets and a charm that might woo newsreaders and dads,

who cracked teeth on habit, on almonds or ice cubes or wishbones to the unending void called the drowning                          tide of clickbait,

who begged for a radio spot or a shout out and were left with business cards in their hands,

who threw dung at aspiring cooks and presented themselves as witness with pulled hair and so many sources                        a whole city would be lost in lobotomy,

and who instead were given a gift of editorial thought opinions gibberishing and publication,

who in attempt at humor overturned professional style, resulting in forced laughs,

returning to the thirst for blood and tears and flesh of the written reviews of the pages and blogs of cuisine,

The New Yorker and The Lawrentian’s columns, breaking the hungry soul, roiling in the solitary dreams of                             taste above, standards weighty as the moon,

with the last recipe flying into the trash, the last key stroked the last letter inked on the page and the last                                  reader swayed, the yellow pages twist restaurant numbers in the book, and good food becomes a                       hallucination—

ah, critic, while you are not satisfied I am not satisfied, and there is a fly in our soup—

and who ran through Octoberfest obsessed with a spice of the planted catalogue a mess of cinnamon and vine,

who argued and made leaps in Logic and Sense through rhetoric, and trapped enjoyments and joined verbs                             and norms and phrases and cooked the pessimist until the omnipresent demand nearly outpaced us,

to create a spine and a poor human review and stand wordless shaking our fists, confessing that we do not                              mind the comfort of carbs and cornbread,

the furious critic and food lover fistfight in heaven, each armed with the same eraser,

and rise in longform in the lively sizzle of sauce and diner seasoning for love into a four star three Michelin con                     stellation that wagged the last tongue

with an absolute love of all food butchered for us and good to eat a thousand years.

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