A Seven-Eleven in Pennsylvania
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Auguste Escoffier, for I drove down Main Street under the stars with a heartache self-conscious looking for a convenience store.
In my heavy fatigue, and in need of sugar, I went into the neon Seven-Eleven, dreaming of your concoctions!
What chips and what candy! Whole carloads of teenagers shopping at night! Aisles full of sophomores! Girlfriends in the popcorn, their sisters in the jellybeans! — and you, Nicolas Appert, what were you doing down by the day old donuts?
I saw you, Escoffier, peerless, lonely old genius, poking among the sodas in the refrigerator and eyeing the cashier.
I heard you asking questions of each: Quelle est cette de Coca-Cola? Combien coûte la Mountain Dew?
I wandered in and out of the perilous stacks of cans shadowing you, and watched on the CCTV by the manager.
We strode down the well-lit aisles together in our solitary adventure tasting Jujubes, grabbing every frozen novelty, and never passing the register.
Where are we going, Auguste Escoffier? The doors never close here. Which way does your knife point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our ramble in the market and feel absurd.)
Will we drive all night on these empty highways? The streetlights add glow to moonlight, no-one left in the bars, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we roll on dreaming of the lost America of my youth past blue cars in driveways, home to our quiet kitchens?
Ah, dear father, chef, solitary old craft-master, what Paris did you have when Carême quit stoking his coals and you stepped out on a smoky pavement and stood watching his blackened ghost disappear in the rain?
* Thanks to Allen Ginsberg
More Favorite Brand Name Recipes Cookbook, Publications International, Inc., 1984