Super Dan Comics Question Box Series #31:
“SAY I GOT RICH AND I’M NOT SAYING”
Super Dan: Say I got rich and I’m not saying
I want to be rich, and I’m not saying
I don’t want to be rich, but
say I was and I had a choice.
Full-time maid or full-time chef?
Please. No contest: I’ll take the chef.
No, a cook. Because a cook can cook,
where a chef spoons sauce
and froth. I’m saying you can live
with a little dust on the table or
soap scum or dishwasher pile-up,
but every day, three times a day, good food is a treasure.
And that’s why we say grace
over our food and not when we
turn on the vacuum.
Later that evening, without fanfare, Super Dan
left the expensive restaurant
shaking his head:
Why do I need a dictionary
just to eat a meal? Was that dessert menu
even in English? What was with that
“flight of wine,” that “ganache dribbled
with hothouse jam.” That “goat cheesecake.” Only a chef
would put goat-anything in a dessert.
I would have a cook serving up some
nice brownies or a simple, straightforward pie.
Give me a good stiff chocolate milk, a warm slice
of boysenberry pie, and I can come in for
that unprepossessing workhorse
of a landing you all covet. I can make
the streets palatable for law-abiding creatures
and also human beings
in this, our tumbling, trying valley.
“SUPER DAN NECESSITATES THE RESTROOM SPARINGLY”
Super Dan necessitates the restroom sparingly
and does not make a priority of meals
although he will, on occasion, eat a banana.
If Super Dan does admittedly take
of the banana, there is in the taking
no innuendo. Like Pig-Pen
from the lugubrious Peanuts series,
Super Dan enjoys a soot cloud swirling about him.
It renders him his super powers.
It enables him to broadcast gems
I was so mad at you yesterday
I couldn’t even watch TV.
Super Dan. My Yoko.
ONE TIME HE NOT ONLY LEANED DOWN BUT IN
me to remember that trouble is a fire that
runs like a staircase up then down. Even
on a beautiful day in June.
The long-toothed icicles hang
from the back porch roof
on a bitter-cold February dawn.
Charles is a boy, quarreling
with his man-grown brother. Their shouts
glance off the kitchen walls, each cuff
shredding the morning air like a riot of hungry tigers.
The stovetop burners shimmer gas-high,
four blue-yellow, grease-clogged
It is winter. Bone-stinging
on the soles and this season
will not be romanticized.
They are brothers and what comes out of their mouths
sounds like scrap metal
or inmost unintelligible squalls
when Charles turns to the stove.
The four real flames. Helpless, he thrusts
his right hand into the nearest flame, pulls out
the first stove grate, hurtles it at the brother.
He pulls another out
Does he hit his brother?
No, the man dodges them well.
Their mother, not more than one hundred pounds,
enters the linoleum-floored room.
The last burning grate whooshes
so intimately past
she can feel its scorch
at her caramel-skinned cheek.
Here the tale becomes half-anvil, half-smoke,
the weight of it collapsing on her, the stun
of her sons, younger one
crashing, a storm of brothers.
Only some deity could unbind
the wellspring Charles has since died for—
that she might have been killed by it, struck
Against each basement wall,
toms stacked ceiling-high
in decreasing sizes.
Crisp cymbals, like amber amulets sparkling
off shallow light,
their discrete thicknesses harboring indefinite pitch—
and they once reminded him
that to relax is to incline roguishly.
When he was four, with a wooden spoon he’d
blister the black-handled dented pots
splayed on the kitchen floor.
Brisket and potatoes set upon the cotton-
clothed table lulled the room, finally.
Every dinnertime night his mother worked
amid the banging. A memory
his family holds fondly now. All his brothers. His sons.
It was then after the day of the winter fires
Charles crooked his insides tight,
but loosened his limbs
until they jellied, quick,
and reverberated, naturally
to become the approximate of a gentle child
whose right hand caressed the memory of a surge,
a rising through, and it
served to marry him
into the vigilant aborted manhood
of a drummer.
All Poems Copyright © Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, 2018