CHEAP EATS After three or four days of sleeping under stars, swimming in rivers, and staring into the fire, I have nothing in me but poetry — so don't bother looking for any restaurants in this restaurant review.
Here's one I caught while my brother and friends were fishing for fish. Let's call it "Water Bug Poem."
On the American River, in it, up to my gut, watching water bugs. Who said that corn and cows were beautiful to the extent that they were what they were? Water bugs disprove you, existing more fully in their river bottom shadows, perfect circle feet on slapstick-figure bodies, skitting over rocks, mud, rocks. Every now and then a dead one floats by and what's the difference, under water? I don't care where, I'll say it again, in bubbles: You’re beautiful. I have a big straw hat and sunscreen, stand alone, shriveled and shivering, no longer feeling my big white feet beneath me. You know how it is? When all you can do to be warm is piss yourself.
That's a poem, even though it might not look like one and has urine in it. Come to think of it, damn me, there was a psychiatrist on this camping trip with us, and I forgot to ask her why a chicken farmer in his or her forties would still be fascinated by scatology. Of course she was pretty much stoned the whole time almost, I think, so I don't know how professional an opinion it would have been.
One e-mailer wonders if I secretly hate my readers. I don't think so, but I'm willing to wonder anything in the world or even sometimes just outside of it. So...
No, I really don't think so. Or if I do secretly hate my readers, I secretly love them too, so the two you would think would cancel each other out, right, rather than make me shit on their heads every week in July, year after year? My own uneducated guess, dear reader, is that if there is any secret hatred behind all this, it's not about you. It's between me and me — and I promise to try to work that out in therapy next week. Because your point is well-taken: "Life is hard enough on a bad day without getting besieged with the contents of [my] intestines."
Another possibility is that "shit happens," and maybe I personally have managed to make my peace with that fact. But that doesn't mean I have to rub it in everyone else's face. I could very easily flush, light a match, open a window, exit stage left in a cloud of shame and sheepishness, and find something more universally entertaining to be proud about in print.
Like pee! Just kidding. Farts? Farts are funny to everyone, right? And they always were and always will be? Right? Can we compromise and have a Toot-Toot Pride Month?
I'm still kidding. Sorry. And I do have another poem to tell you. Call it, um, "Someone in the Kitchen," because someone's been in mine. Can you tell?
I succeeded in not thinking about you sometimes, actually, in the mountains. Then, winding home on the nearly no-lane road, I started seeing blackberries. Already itchy and pinched, I pulled over and started picking, easily overflowing a tin bowl and cup before it hit me: Dude, you have my pie pan. I want it back.
That there is a true-story poem, and I ate all those blackberries before I got out to the main road, for the record. It's that black teeth time of year again for me, hooray! Almost drove off the road several times, smiling at myself in the rearview mirror, for kicks. It would have been a very scenic death at least.
Well, once you get to 80 West, you have to drive past Ikeda's twice, once just outside of Auburn and then again just inside of Davis. I made it past the first but could not resist the second, partly because I needed gas and to pee real bad anyway.
Take the Mace Boulevard exit. And never mind all the produce and other stuff. I think the Auburn one even has burgers. But the important thing about Ikeda's, if you don't already know, is the pie.