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Sport 5: Spring 1990

Harold Marshall — Restaurant Verses

page 122

Harold Marshall

Restaurant Verses

1. Hier in der Zunft Stube

I'm dyslexic—
two weeks of speaking pidgin German—
Heidi (or Gretchen) brings me beer,

weizen Bier (made from wheat)
is neat, its creamy froth tops
thirty centimeters. A week ago

I first came in and humbly, stumbling asked,
'Was heift Bunftstube?' does Heidi remember
my prowess with the deutsche Sprache

and the Gothic script? A Lieder episode
is transacted on my right by an intense suited
gent and his sometime flushed reluctant partner

while canned mountain music yodels the story
in dialect at a mercifully acceptable level.
She says no but holds his hand and the story's

all but told— O schdne Mullerin, dein ist mein
Herz! And now he's reading her palm!
Emotional kitsch

connived at by the gonad driven
heart. Tonight I'd settle for the gonads.

page 123

2. A vegetarian in Hong Kong

Pallid with commitment to the sanctity
of life he makes the seventh at a table
of carnivores and waits anxiously

for the menu. Are the vegetables braised
in chicken stock? Confiding he confesses
'I don't care much for vegetables'. While

the others indulge in Thai steamed fish
spring rolls black bean beef abalone king
prawns and pork fried rice he picks

diffidently at the ambiguous mess
of pottage. How does he survive?
Once that was said to me in another

context. Cultivate the death of appetite
and finish like him. Afterwards he will abuse
his body with icecream and french fries.

3. Hilton Expresso

the Hong Kong
restaurant you know
tucked between erotic look closely
ivory statuettes and leather
wear; as women enter
they case the male jointees. I'm alone.
Watch this one in green: I'm seen—
caught in her peripherals
by an under-ear or over-shoulder
high-bit-rate glance.
Then the menu

page 124

4. Dim sum

They bring
the steamer baskets
and the Tsingtao beer
without eye-contact. Stone
faced they look
beyond the fractured
arches, glass bricks, me
and pseudo—(yes I felt
them) Chinese antiqued carvings.

So I look too
and add carrara marble
painted anaglypta, chrome
and figured axminster to
my yum char lunch.