The Paris Diet

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audio of Jay Rogoff's poem, The Paris Diet

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Jay Rogoff

The Paris Diet

 

                1870


      Butchers’ lines inch forward: hours
      for rationed horse, 100 grams.
      Ingres-smooth steaks (dark donkey flesh),
      gleam behind glass, fine bloody art.

      Emeralds, pearls, gold have fled
      from velvet-lined shelves. Smart boutiques
      offer jewels more rare: perched inside
      each bauble box, a fresh egg.

      Gourmets who, two months ago,
      recoiled from horsemeat’s blackish red
      claim a dog chop fries up like strong-
      flavored lamb, gives jaws exercise.

      Rat salmi has partisans,
      a partridge-pork tang. (Serve it hot.)
      Yesterday: dead black cat for sale,
      fresh-strangled by the owner.

      Paris crawls on, ravenous
      as Géricault’s Raft sprung to life.
      Teenaged girls take men home for one
      lump of brick-dust bread baked with straw.

      Zoos supply posh restaurants:
      a cut of fat-slick camel hump,
      kangaroo tail, heart of giraffe;
      I’ve dined on trunk of Pollux!