Tessa, Of Blood Sausage and Vesuvius

Artless I sat in a gaseous kitchen
watching a sausage stuffing. As paste
slid into casing, a man, escaped
convict, held court with his story,
skinny and starving on an island–
smelling the fat in situ, the gilded
frames and smooth white marble.

The beautiful mistress beheld
the dangerous man–his frame’s
the casing of apparent docility
as the child he’s telling it to fell
asleep on lap. Oh, it wasn’t his
fault being wrongly arrested but
irrevocably tainted now, how unfair.

Does one even think much about
the suffering of an animal, whose
carcass spilled blood, congealing
to a paste? One does not. The way
we feed off another, that’s how
it goes. The truth as always,
rather explosive, a molten core.

Prompt: Hi there, woke up this morning to the sounds of thunder. Now the sunlight. It’s like the storm never even happened. How deceptive. The storm did, just as the man in the story, now surrounded by prosperity, had known starvation. I’m referencing the story in Emile Zola’s The Belly of Paris, conscious of how he contrasts the fat with the thin in his writing which is set in a kitchen. And then I was also thinking about Emily Dickinson, she who inhabits the world of imagination. In particular her poem, “Volcanoes be in Sicily”. In which she talked about “volcanos nearer here”, which isn’t factually true, because there aren’t any in Massachusetts, but of course she is asserting her truth metaphorically. How wonderful the imagination. I wasn’t even in that kitchen except in the story I just read. In your poem, try to link a story to a truth. The truth isn’t out there; it’s sitting right in your heart. “Vesuvius at Home”. Wow.

 

Volcanoes be in Sicily
And South America
I judge from my Geography —
Volcanos nearer here
A Lava step at any time
Am I inclined to climb —
A Crater I may contemplate
Vesuvius at Home.

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