Contemplating My Golden Years
by Andrea Janelle Dickens

I would love to spin the wheel: to eat
monkey brain, a big durian, and rats (fresher
Tuesday through Friday), or try an extended
stay in a crime novel set next year, fiercely
fiercely undignified, an easy target. I’m not
into sex with a crackhead clown, a monster,
an ebola-infected spider monkey. (They’re not
too good in the sack). I don’t have a retirement
plan. It freaks me out. I’m making it up
as I go along. I contemplate what is a pet
and what is food? A grilled cheese sandwich
served me a steaming load of crap in spite of all
the terrible things I’ve said about the cat and dog.

I have little memory of eating the cobra heart.
I’m still pretty rough: heartbroken and appalled.
I hope to die watching you singing anarchy
from a table top with your shirt wrapped
around your head, with a very small,
very angry and rather athletic oyster.
Like a travelling band given license to kill.

SOURCE: Anthony Bourdain online chat, Washington Post (March 30, 2006).

IMAGE: Celebrity chef and culinary expert Anthony Bourdain.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always been fascinated with celebrity chefs, especially the polar figures of sophisticated, restrained Nigella Lawson and bad boy Anthony Bourdain. What I found really fascinating as I worked on these poems [find Nigella Lawson poem here] was how obvious it was that the language of Bourdain was all public and external; he lives his life in public. And the language of the interview with Lawson was private, domestic, and polite, even while hinting at darker truths beneath the surface of the words she spoke. I tried to capture these impressions as I worked the found words and phrases into these two poems.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrea Janelle Dickens recently moved to the Sonoran Desert, where she lives among the sunshine and saguaro cacti. Her work has appeared in Star 82, cakestreet, Ruminate, Caesura, and The Wayfarer, among others. She teaches at Arizona State University, and when she’s not teaching, she’s backpacking in foreign cities, making pottery in her ceramics studio, or tending hives of bees.