23 July 2010

Poetry for Friday

I just finished a week at Rice University.  I attended a seminar designed to help prepare me to teach AP Human Geography this coming school year. 

It was an exhausting, yet exhilarating week full of meaty content and great discussions.  One of the fabulous new resources I was introduced to is The Writer's Almanac...which I now have delivered to my inbox daily.

Imagine my delight when upon opening the email this morning I found the following poem!
To those it offends, I am sorry. 
Well, not really.

Why I am Not a Vegetarian

by David Oliveira

It's not that I love animals less,
a case could be made I love them more—
and it's not that I love vegetables less,
I love them rare,
nothing more savory than raw celery
clawing and kicking its way down the gullet.

What I find hard to stomach is vegetarians.
If there is a vegetarian at the table, we all
get called in to be witnesses at a police lineup.
Cheese, eggs, fish,
each suspect paraded for identification—
pronounced innocent, guilty,
please take two steps forward.

And it's not like there is just one canon
for the good host to worry about.
Each vegetarian comes with a different menu.
Most won't eat anything that had legs,
though many eat fish, a fin nothing like a leg,
And eat shrimp, that have legs
which count as fins since they come from the sea
and taste so good in a Newburg sauce.
Oysters are problematic, without legs and from the sea,
but mostly eaten alive, like carrots.
A few pass on eggs because of the latent leg potential,
though pasta is usually okay,
the potential hard to realize under the marinara.
One friend doesn't drink milk
but asks for extra au jus
for his mashed potatoes. I haven't the heart
to explain what kind of vegetable the "au" is
or how many get squeezed to make a cup of "jus."

Don't misunderstand,
I admire those who stand on principle,
however vague, who doesn't admire
the resolve of, say, a Jerry Falwell,
to bear the weight of so much conviction
he can hardly walk to church.
Praise the Lord for limousines.
As my mother would say,
"Live and let live—
Just keep the details to yourself,
And pass the ketchup, please."

"Why I am Not a Vegetarian" by David Oliveira, from A Little Travel Story. © Harbor Mountain Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission

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