After Hera Lindsay Bird
After Bernadette MayerNote:
In the 1980s, Bernadette Mayer instructed:
“Write the poem: Ways of Making Love. List them.”
In 2016, Hera Lindsay Bird published ‘Ways of Making Love after Bernadette Mayer’.
Back in the 1980s, Mayer instructed:
“Rewrite someone else’s writing. Experiment with theft and plagiarism.”
In 2021, I re-write Bird’s ‘Ways of Making Love after Bernadette Mayer’ (2016), as
‘Ways of Making Dinner after Hera Lindsay Bird after Bernadette Mayer’.
I insert myself into a game between two writers.
Uninvited, but hopefully not unwelcome, I play.
As if we all knew the rules from the beginning.
As one blade sharpens another blade.
As two frozen chicken thighs defrost in the silvery corners of a kitchen sink.
Lonely krill find their home in the belly of a whale.
So tiny we lose sight of them, retracting our telescopes
in the jowls of a decaying beast.
You are chewing gum, and I am the world’s deepest hunger.
I am an elaborate silver service and you are Antiques Roadshow,
estimating my price.
You invite the crowd to dine, insisting they lick the metallic crevasses of residual dust.
Chocolate soil spills across a garden bed.
Pumpkin tendrils coil, binding our wrists to our ankles.
It’s like watching the Food Channel while nauseated
or a hairdryer rising dough.
Like caterpillars at Yum Cha, going hungry due to their limited dexterity.
Native bees gather around your cactus thumbs.
I open my hand, like a stop-motion droplet bursting on impact.
I want you in a Roman vomitorium, expressing everything you’ve ingested into
sacred vessels of Western material culture.
In the labyrinthine pantry
of The Louvre.
In the depths of fermenting kimchi, our skin tingling with probiotic bacteria.
In the cold aisles of a pillaged supermarket
because writing poetry about eating together
when you could be writing poetry about fucking
is sad comfort for the insatiable.
It’s like baking a sponge cake from rubber.
It’s like sucking the marrow from an anaemic ox’s tail.
It’s like studying to become a veterinarian surgeon for eight years
so you can gorge on animal feed
absorbing the nutritional iron of livestock
before eating the livestock,
knowing you did everything in your power to suck the marrow from their existence.
But love isn’t calculated malpractice
no matter what this poem would have you believe.
The years bleach eggshells degrading into compost
embraces unfurl like petals in a too dry summer
and here we are sitting down to dinner
as if we had never done so before.
- 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLECOMING SOON with E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones