We need the ceremony of one another,
meals served, more love,
more handling of one another with love, less
casting out of those who are not
of our own household.
‘This turkey is either not cooked
enough or it’s tough.’
The culture is in late imperial decline.
The children don’t like dark meat or
pepper. They say the mother sometimes
deliberately puts pepper on the things
the grown-ups like better.
Less casting out of those in our own
household with whom we disagree.
The cat will not hear of cat food,
he waves it away. He has seen
the big thrush taken from the cold
box, dressed and put in the hot.
‘If I set the alarm clock, will you turn
on the oven when it goes off?’ then
she went off to see the profane
dancers of the afternoon. It was done.
The fact that I don’t like his pictures
should not obscure the facts
that he is a good man
that many admire his work (his canvases
threaten my existence and I hope
mine his, the intolerant bastard)
that we are brothers in humanity
& the art. Often it does, though.
The cat has followed Hazard from his studio,
he looks mean. He upbraids
the innocent dog and
all of us, he casts us out.
‘There’s pepper in this gravy. We’re
supposed to eat dry turkey and you’ve
put pepper in the gravy.’
The meal is served, nevertheless
with felt love, some godless benediction.
The grown ones have wine after the other
bottle. They cast out a lot. ‘The dancers
this afternoon were, well, thinky,’
she says. She toys with her glass.
‘He is strictly a one-joke painter,’
he replies, ‘painted that one twenty
years ago and is still putting pepper
on it, ha hah. Finish your turkey
you two and leave a little gravy for someone else.’
The cat is taking notes against
his own household. He watches.
Hazard would like once to see
things with the cat’s eyes, flat.
Now it is time to go to bed. Hungry
and alone most go to bed in this
decline and in all others, yet
Someone has fed us again and blessed us
with the manners of bohemia. Among barbarians,
a lot is expected of us, ceremony-wise.
We rise to that expectation.