Sunday Sundries

11/14/2021 Anchovies

Juris d. Ahn

Part 1
“Fishy Smell”
I mean anchovies
I write sardines, I live
in fear of becoming my father
doesn’t the fear betray you too?

I blame cans with keys
and misremembered games --
all of us stuffed in a closet, body on body
breath on breath, innocent doesn’t mean
not erotic, erogenous adults take a gift
too far in either direction, if you ask me

You don’t, and so we draw a line and say
“That’s the problem with culture.’ like this one
glorifying you and me, occupying this small space
with its excess of others
		Previously, Mesopotamian and Sumerian cults
		adopted the cattle pen as model for non-royal
		housing, architecture continued today, sanctified,
sanitized sacrifices hidden in the floors, 

No wonder, occasionally, we get a whiff, a slightly fishy-smell
Part 2
“Fishy Taste”
There was a book, published by my favorite occult press
called, ‘Zen Without Zen Masters’ I never read 
from cover to cover, this
doesn’t mean 
I don’t remember the method 
For example

“You solo-dine at your favorite restaurant and order your
favorite meal. Savor it. The next day, go back, now

order something you hate. Savor it.
become the person who would
love, love not the commercialized love
the real ecstatic deal -- Love, love for one
moment transforms the whole world, a cosmos
of the singular, “Ahh!” or “O” depending
on which end of the Innocence and  Experience,
spectrum you lie. See how easy, it is
to become someone else?

We’re doing it
right now -- cloth on cloth, skin on skin
this closet, a biological Faraday cage,
wrapped as we are in each other’s
electro-magnetic-cardio fields,
our hearts synchronizing,
freeing us
from other

Although my resistance has faded with age
I could never get over the fishy taste.
Part 3
“Oysters are Different”

How can an autobiography, use the second person? I would argue
although you wouldn’t listen, placing me outside where I belong
autobiographies rely upon their eaters, at this table
at least, let us be honest, avoid hyphenation, and
the dilution by let’s, don’t you agree?

See, you’re already a participant, the most important member
of this team. Now, since you know, how I love them, you
ask, “What about oysters?” “Well, Oysters are different”
I could stop there, Oyster haters would celebrate
“Yes, they’re different. They’re slimy. They’re too salty 
They cleaned New York Harbor, until our greedy
ancestors ate them up 
with a never-ending 
dawn to dusk
dusk to dawn

And you would be correct -- Don’t you feel good?
This is about you, not I, remember? I meant the
opposite, this side of the keyboard, with your
foot pressed against my ear, and you lying
on my chest, each inhale strained
as much from the weight,
as the Co2 buildup

If you don’t stop tickling me, they will find us too soon
this packed together, will become a distant memory
frozen in a block of time, waiting to become an ice-
sculpture, dripping with impermanence at the end
of our banquet -- I describe oysters as the taste of
ocean under the dock, to which the naysayers
say “Ewww.” Maybe I should say
“Tidepool,” instead? The sense
of discovery, the obliteration
of self by the trapped sting-ray
gliding over

sand, as unnamed
Green-blue fronds
wave gently at
their passing.

This is right, isn’t it?
You can feel it, the sweet-salty,
wet punctuated by dry, ocean outside
calling our ocean inside  --
	my parents knew very little about wine
for 10 years I harbored a deep distrust
of mussels -- not for the gathering --
despite the cuts, the hanging in tidepools
the glistening rainbowed black rocks
the hunter-gatherer genes fully
satisfied -- the cheap white --
destroyed the taste. I didn’t
know any better and like
you, if you followed the
same trajectory__________________________ out to the edge
years before experience taught
us better. Once

I was hungry
in Homer, Alaska
hitchhiking all-day

taking a break from the fish factory, sitting on the wooden
delineation between land and liminal waters, where East becomes West and back again, depending on the tide,

Saw the pizza joint, on the docks, sitting over 
waved waters, framed by the 
cry of seabirds
And both snow-covered and steaming______volcanic mountains
interrupting the transit  between Russia, China, Japan
and other bespoke horizons, contributing to my decision 
to order steamed mussels

I’d been wrong all along, again 
Our rightness was suspended, 
in garlic and butter with good sherry 
and parsley, shallots grown 
locally in andisol loam

What does this have to do with anchovies?
A good question, unless, you are for or against
defeating the purpose, creating a division
where previously, only a whole allegory 
on the transience of taste, lay between
the tableware --

I would be forced to answer “The reason we
are in this mess, is the ill-considered
conversion of taste into morals
Enforcing the arbitrary
as if inevitable 
like those damn Puritans
and their silly cloths --

I always thought anchovies were a good idea
Having adopted the fancy-restaurant
while special occasioning or traveling 
ethos of hand made omelets
and trying everything, going further
later in the day, tasting what lay
embedded on crushed-ice 
As has been stated, previously 
I loved the snotty oyster
and if it had tentacles
give me --

Of course, they’re smart, but I cut back
when I saw them outwit, smarter than most
but still a favorite with dolphins, the brighter
happier mammals.  --

The very, very adult treat
anchovies on a pizza seemed a natural
part of the imagined tests Innocence
believes before passing thru developmental-
stages -- Why is your hand crushed down, between
producing a shiver and a new longing?

As a middle-aged adult
traveling with my partner’s adult children
in Denmark, at the Pizza place,
because as Americans,
you need to, don’t you?
Of course, 
being on the continent
a shared landmass
produces authentic
Italian, by which,

it seemed, less marred by industrialization
than what we were habituated to. Remembering
the mussels, ordered an authentic Napoli 
pizza starring anchovies, and some of you
will believe me at a deeper level than others
when I say, “They were disgusting,” I also said

	“Every few years I need to order anchovies to remind myself
	how much I hate ‘em”

And of course, no one got it
I remember as teens, raw eggs swallowed by the dozen
or the time, I had everyone eat graveyard dirt
it seemed like the action
we needed and wanted 
to change the direction
of the situational discomfort

Once you have seen a waiter, 
mix a bowl of caesar salad dressing 
by the table
on the cart
with the one
wobbly wheel

You can’t go back
you can’t unmix
the raw eggs and the Parmesan Reggio
and the peppery fresh cut-grass olive oil 
and garlic. Despite the tuxedo,
his energetic whisking
would fail without the bass 
beat of the anchovies

Parts 4 thru 7 on the ‘morrow, maybe, y’all.