And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt! Many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores your sense of taste!
Rhapsody on the Prawn
Ah, fried prawns from Gia Nan
The delight of the first bite
Teeth breaking through crisp bubbles of fried golden batter
Each filled with a globule of hot, delicious fat
Which coats the tongue and slides down the throat.
I dip each shrimp in the sweet and sour sauce
Glazing the white meat with bright candy-colored
And candy-flavored redness.
I cut the cloying sweetness with a dollop of hot mustard
A concoction which burns the throat,
Sends sparkles of prickly pain up the bridge of the nose
And clears the sinuses with a warm swell
That can startle and shock if taken in too-full a dose.
Then there is the shrimp itself, fluffy, snowy
A question mark of meat
But no question here as I revel in the tender pop
Of skin as it gives way to my bite.
Each morsel rich in proteins and oceanic nutrition.
But now that’s a bit much isn’t it?
They really aren’t nutritious at all.
So who would write all this? Who would
Write this slavering worship over a shellfish?
Only an unredeemable Epicurean like me,
who watches the Food Network instead of football.
who salivates at the mention of Martha Stewart.
who loves guilty pleasures like skipping out on the gym.
I’m fat anyway and stuffed with shrimp
And deep into middle age.
At twenty I could still see the incline,
My body and mind both responded to the rigors of the climb.
I’d exercise and the sweat would roll off me and earn
Me a gradual growth of muscle, a sharpening of skills.
But now I’ll never look like those people at 24 hour fitness.
I go to work out and see them whaling on the butterfly press,
Building those perfect pecs reminiscent of Grecian antiquity,
Twin semi-globes of sculpted concupiscence
Their creamy amber tanning salon skin swirling down in
Striations of muscle to the perky cherry nipple.
I on the other hand have saggy boobs and a belly
That swells and overflows above my beltline.
A belly and boobs made of prawns, golden crispy prawns
Dripping with sweet and sour sauce. Made of moo shu pork
With its dark plum sauce wrapped in a wafer thin pancake.
And veal oscar loaded with piles of shredded crabmeat and
Covered in a light brown sauce and pork loin with a mustard gravy
Served over sweet red cabbage and seven layer cakes and chocolate
Fantasy tortes from Max’s Opera café and meat pies
Rich with chunks of pork suspended in glassy gelatin
Which slips and squeezes through the gaps in your teeth.
I am just turned fifty-five, happy birthday to me.
It’s time to surrender to the prawns.