“The Sausage Master of Minsk” by August Kleinzahler

        I was sausage master of Minsk;
young girls brought parsley to my shop
and watched as I ground
coriander, garlic and calves’ hearts.

At harvest time they’d come with sheaves:
hags in babushkas, girls plump
as quail, wrapped in bright tunics,
switching the flanks of oxen.
Each to the other, beast and woman,
goggle-eyed at the market’s flow.

My art is that of my father:
even among stinking shepherds, bean-
brained as the flocks they tend, our
sausages are known. The old man
sits in back, ruined in his bones, a scold.

So it was my trade brought wealth.
My knuckles shone with lard, flecks
of summer savory clung to my palms.
My shop was pungent with spiced meat
and sweat: heat from my boiling pots,
my fretful labors with casings,
expertly stuffed. Fat women in shawls
muttered and swabbed their brows.
Kopeks made a racket on my tray.

But I would have none of marriage:
the eldest son, no boon,
even with the shop’s renown, was
I to my parents. Among mothers
with daughters, full-bottomed, shy,
I was a figure of scorn.

In that season when trade was a blur,
always, from the countryside, there was one,
half-formed, whose eyes, unlike
the haggling matrons’ squints, roamed
and sometimes found my own.
And of her I would inquire.
Before seed-time they always returned.

Tavern men speak freely of knives,
of this, of that. Call me a fool.
For in spring I would vanish
to the hills and in a week return,
drawn, remote, my hair mussed,
interlaced with fine, pubescent yarn.


Source: Kleinzahler, August. Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems : 1975-1990. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Print.

wikipedia poem, no. 18

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

lies 
beyond
    The edge, a tired of the 
          freezer
         I 
       find the hacked with vacation clouds
       in the freezer
   I find the universe
       Its edge but what lies 
beyond
The Yoghurt 
Tree 
weeps 
         at the real 
prospect of the side. Living grapes in the asphalt’s softest
feed

the 
hacked with vacation clouds
        When 
the kitchen 
the universe
      Its edge, a 
tired 
of 
     the kitchen real prospect 
        of feeling things, 
         even!
Weep!
      Again, I’m 
  hacked with language
Mortified at 
      the, 
by 
   now, 
  felt 
up
universe
       Its edge, tired of the church by now, felt up
      hacked 
with language
Mortified at 
the noon 
clouds

I’m tired of comparing things.