Friday, May 20, 2005

A Blur of Sea Bass


I am sitting in Bella Pasta
without my glasses
I left them in my hotel room

The waiter explains the specials
and reads me the menu
which is in particularly small and blurry print

The tables and chairs are polished beech
The ambience is chrome and glass
Light fizzes playfully on the cutlery

I dip my rustic bread into the dish
of virgin olive oil and sweet balsamic
and savour the warm Shiraz

From this commanding street-corner seat
I watch Wolverhampton and the world
pass before the large windows

The evening traffic is heavy
A motorcycle roars past the
Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Shop opposite

The first course arrives. Arranged artfully
around a bed of rocket (rained-upon

with olive oil) four thin slices of succulent duck

A quartered fig sits on the rocket
and a fold of Parma ham perches upon the fig
My taste buds swoon, recover, swoon some more

I finish the generous glass of red
I order another. The young Italian waitress
has an intoxicating scent

A truck rumbles past the
Harley and Japanese Cruiser Specialists
Two teenagers slouch past The Tattoo Palace

I am regretting my lost youth
I want another chance. A few more chances, actually.
So much to do. So much to taste.

The sexy waitress brings the sea bass
It lounges on a bed of asparagus
dripping warm flavours over the crisply turned
vegetables around which laps

the sweet, tangy sauce,
redolent of dusty Mediterranean holidays

And I am losing the poem

the form, the style
the plot

Any moment now I shall be rhyming
I finish the second or fourth glass of Shiraz
I order chocolate ice-cream
I stare at the old people, lining up
by the door of the Flame and Lily Nursing Agency

I sign the bill
but have no idea what I’m signing
up for


28 comments:

hazel said...

Wolverhapton was never poemised in words so evocatively! Poemised? Is that a word? perhaps I mean imaginated?

Cocaine Jesus said...

personally i like it when you lose it just as the sexy waitress waltzes in but then again i like rhyme so what do i know?

smashing poem, especially the lines "i dip my bread into the dish
of virgin oil and sweet balsamic
and savour the warm Shiraz"

man i can taste the bloody thing.

Mystique said...

I like the descriptive imagery in this one. Damn, I'm hungry now!

"Any moment now I shall be rhyming"

Hehe..

transience said...

this was a sensual experience in itself. food is one of those things that truly nourishes...and you did it justice, roger. such excellent wording.

NicoleBraganza said...

Sometimes the ambience of a place is everything. You described it so well. Seems like you had a nice time.

gulnaz said...

The sexy waitress brings the sea bass
It lounges on a bed of asparagus
dripping warm flavours over the crisply turned
vegetables around which laps
the sweet, tangy sauce,
redolent of dusty Mediterranean holidays

this was probably my favourite part, but then i liked the way you dip the bread in virgin olive oil too and how the light plays on cutlery...
but i think my most favourite part is when you say you don't know what you are signing up for.

there is so much to taste ....

just as so much to enjoy in this.

Anonymous Poet said...

I feel like I am there with you. I love the lines: "Light fizzes playfully on the cutlery" and "My taste buds swoon, recover, swoon some more." These capture perfectly things we have all experienced.

Your lines: "I am regretting my lost youth
I want another chance. A few more chances, actually.
So much to do. So much to taste" remind me a bit of W.B. Yeats' "Politics" ("How can I, that girl standing there, My attenion fix . . . But O that I were young again and held her in my arms!"). Only, you are contemplating food, not politics. But it has that same essence of nostalgia.

Also, I have put up a post on "Why I Write" at my site. If it strikes you, I would be interested to hear any thoughts that you might have.

Thanks again for sharing.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

I like how you gradualy become jumbled by wine, it's funny how the mind flits about when drinking.It's also funny remembering when I was younger how an old person was anyone over thirty (it seems those we consider old get older as we do).

Russell Ragsdale said...

So many wonderful things are here in this abundantly sensual poem. I can't find the words to let you know how much I enjoyed this (an unusual problem for me -- you'll say)!

Sue was spot on with the use of becoming jumbled with the wine -- it gives a great sense of pace and movement to a poem that could have easily been sedentary and merely obsevational. It is also thematic to the sensual observation that this poem is. And like Gulnaz: dusty Mediterranean holidays -- that echos with a Yes like the stream of consciousness section in Joyce's Ulysses.

I'm with CJ, I could just taste it, see it, smell it! And AP, not only Yeats, but Whitman as well.

Now that I'm over 60, I'm fascinated with our appraisal of life in a culture of youth (like the one in which I grew up). Wow!

Syl said...

Italy, I found, was intoxication of the senses. You described it so perfectly. Mind you...seven courses with a new wine for each might have contributed.
So much said here.

Amie said...

i quite enjoy this poem. do you really regret your lost youth?

Roger Stevens said...

Well, much of my poetry is fictional - but based on reality. Kind of semi-autobiographical I guess. It's not that I regret my lost youth so much as I'd like to have a few more goes - to do all the things I didn't do the first time.

michael said...

What would the youthful you think of the older you I wonder? I often think we change so much over the years that we are really quite different people and if I should meet the youthful me I would find that we didn't really have that much in common!

Nicki said...

how interesting...I find it reassuring for others to talk about age. I'm always amazed at how old I am.

Despite a huge supper my tastebuds still jumped to attention, savouring your evocative poem.

Cate said...

With a seven, five, and four year old running around here all the time it seems like life is one big rhyme. Eliza just went home a few minutes ago singing out to her brother, "Andy is a squir-urt, He rubs his face in dir-urt.

I guess that's why when I saw the title of your post, "A Blur of Sea Bass," I thought, "That's nice. It rhymes with Blue Sea Glass." Once your mind gets started rolling in that direction it's hard to stop the momentum.

Pincushion said...

'I sign the bill
but have no idea what I’m signing
up for'..

Such succinct summation! For some reason..I can't help relating it to life..it IS life..isn't it? We don't know what we've signed up for..but the prelude to it..is beautiful too :)..I suppose the Shiraz does it for me!

Surfed in from Trans and loved it too. You'll find me hangin in here quite often..hope u don't mind ;)
..linkin to u!
Cheers!

Laura said...

The moment blurred by, I'm hungry now - I really like the way your food and thoughts get caught up in the wine, smells and people passing by - and how all this is caught up in your mind wandering along with changing ages - teenagers and old people, passing the days.

jadedprimadonna said...

This poem really sets my senses on fire. I'm going to have to go get some shiraz now.

finnegan said...

Sheeeit!Thisisgoodgoddamnedstuffyouputuphere!

Quite original pop-the-cork food review poem. I felt like I was sitting there at the table enjoying the lollygagging. Splendid stuff.

Liam Wilkinson said...

This is lovely. The light fizzing on the cutlery, the rustic bread, the swooning tastebuds...

hello, table for two please...yes, the Sea Bass....

Jonathan said...

Roger... we'll have to have dinner sometime...

longblackveil said...

yurrrmmmy.. excellent.

Lorena said...

very nice observations. and your dinner sounds delicious.
nice last line
"I sign the bill
but have no idea what I’m signing
up for"

Neel said...

Brilliant writing! Sexy waitress and Shiraz, that's a dangerous combination.

floots said...

You commented on my site a while back about liking poems which ramble (not your word but it's 07.00 and I'm only semi-conscious) and that's why I enjoyed this. I was there, in the blur - where I so often am.
Thanks for your visit and comments. The top CD was Charles Lloyd, late sixties jazz.

Sarah said...

yum... shiraz..

like food.. like sex.. like love..

it made my mouth water.

Sarah said...

thanks for stopping by my site.

Blue Athena said...

It was almost like i was there on the table right in front of you...amused. :-)