‘Assemble yourselves, make haste, come together from every side to my victim, which I slay for you, a great victim upon the mountains of Israel: to eat flesh, and drink blood.’
…or younger, anyway.
So JOB was visiting the Dappled Things website, as one does, and he stumbled across this in the “featured poem of the day” department: a little ditty he composed a while back for some M.L. character…
[Image: Gargoyles at Notre Dame, and the Café Grotesque mascots they inspired.]
See me up there in the upper right-hand corner?
As Percy would say, I’m “validated” like the young man who sees his own town in a film or lights up William Holden’s cigarette without acknowledging that he knows Holden knows he knows who Holden is, etc.
(p.s. This is not meant as a provocation, so please if you have anything bad to say about the current president, I would refer you to previous dust-ups at this blog on that issue, which I won’t even link to because I don’t think it bears any relevance to this post. Here, it’s all peace and joy and I don’t really care what you think about the current president – I’m making a Percian point here, which is much more important.
As a smoking/meat-smoking friend of mine in California might say, “Oh, you don’t like my politics? That’s nice. Did I mention that I bake bread?”
Except in my case I would say, “Did I mention I make a helluva good Chicken Cacciatore and that I can make you a martini that you will never forget? Sit down right there at my kitchen table and I’ll stir us a couple, and then let’s light up a smoke—cigar for you? Perfect!—and cigarettes (unfiltered) for me. Let’s talk then about the beauties of poems that completely nail the execution of a perfect enjambment of lines, of women who wear their hair down, of early R.E.M. albums and whether they were meant to be concept albums in the tradition of Pink Floyd and Yes but tinctured with a Southern Gothic ethos, of love in a time near the end of the world, and of children and how, one way or another, the little dears are going to get you out of bed in the morning. Yes—oh, and how’s your drink? See? I told you so….Cacciatore will be ready in about 20 minutes. How ‘bout another round?” )
Since you built it, you know that there is more rock there
Than water and more air than
Rock—there where fire has no place. The familiar
Old thing, its audacity is mere and thin
As its shaft, stabbing into this Pliocene crop
Of driftless children. Dear nearly dead dynamic thing,
It hardly begins to know itself before it spits and slops
And vomits air. Then, with a cough
And a rush of sucking sounds, it slips up the crude iron pipe
That responds with shivering thunder down between the elven earth
And cousin rock, always
To engender water forth — forth — and forth.
But also, like ghosts behind a clock, crusted gray as
A vole’s pelt and crimson-jawed, the years of rust creep
Upward in more silent ease
Along its sloughing shaft, and fold
Their slender gelid claws around the man-squared handle,
Worn to a green shine with use. Its rucked crank grows grumpy and old
With weather—the same by which the gaskets, cracked as candle
Wax, have lost their Vulcan grip.
So within the icy tangle
Of four winds, a million suns pique, hone and strop
This Sisyphean siphon
Into a steady ceaseless drip,
A metronome of drops to set its count of winters in Wisconsin
As it slides and plunges air
Through its piston
For a deep transmission of elements, where ages of rock are
Greater than time. And more timeless
Than rock¬, there is water here, more — more — and more —
All of it thirsty as
Fire’s industry to slake
The spongy spring-formed surface
Of the cold-cased earth. The pump takes
A breath, drawn from subterranean catastrophes,
And exhales. Submerge your hands within its stream of cold—they will ache
Like the grief of memories —
Baptize your tongue in its running column of blue, it will be struck
Dumb as tomorrow’s yesterdays.
In the parlance of beef barbecue, the black crust that forms around the brisket in a slow smoke is known as the “bark.”
The purpose of the bark is to seal in the moisture so that – yes, I am going there – the bark is at least as good as the bite.
“The bark, you say?”
Affirmative. The bark.
Perhaps to temper the fire of my hubris with a little smoke of humility, in today’s Gospel reading (Rite of ’62) our Lord’s words were a fitting reminder of priorities, even as my Weber was attending to its business, I should be minding my own:
“Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?” (Matthew 6:24-26)
But then after returning home from Mass, I wondered if our Lord also considered cats in these calculations…
Alas, they seemed undeterred by maledictions and threats of malefactions, should they even be considering carnoklepty…
Of course, I should have trusted n the Lord (and it being a Sunday too!)…
A smoking crucible of muscle, tendon, flesh and fat amid the bucolic landscape of Wisconsin…
Water for the pan, beer for the cook, a mop and mop for the meat…
In which the first mop is applied…
The expert hand of a pit-master…
Behold the astonishment of the crowd*!…
Those pictured: besides three of my seven daughters, our new French daughter, straight from Territoir de Belfort (in grey sweatshirt) in whose honor (and apparently it is her first sight of bbq brisket)and by way of official welcome, we are “doing it up,” as we Americans say, with a Sunday brisket.