Metropolis 16-26, Robert Fitterman, Coach House Books, 2002

A remarkably flarfy procedural poem, Metropolis 19, entitled Dream Cuisine: Neo-Colonialism, Nouvelle Cuisine, Lewis & Clark and the Union Square Café, is a spare cut up of the journals of Lewis and Clark mixed with the menu copy from the Union Square Café in New York City.

The poem goes beyond a simple distanced ironic equating of pretentious urban dining with colonialism because the actual attraction of the food (and of the descriptive food-language) and the appeal of equating Lewis and Clark with self-exploration are both intact in the work, despite the intentionally flat arrangement/critique. This sets up funny, contradictory energies in the poem, and makes for a tone of fused lament and absurdity:

Elk skins, I was obliged
to leave my celery root

coconut chutney of self-

a fine morning bejeweled
pulsating with Mexican seasoning.

we had the trumpet sounded, and fired several shots
but he did not join us, the evening 's growing influence

of a black root; a kind of Liquirish

social fabric
croquetted wontons

the birnt hills, down the lolo trails

the lower part of the Cove, gusto

the same sleeping crepe.

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