Michael Rothenberg

Parable of Pork

live like orphaned pot-bellied pigs
too big for the recliner

          rather sniff out truffles
          $800 a pound
          market price June 1999

bacon sizzling
garnished with pineapples
biscuits and collards

          that's me in Hollywood
          talking too much
          squealing top down convertible

                    Dear Reader:
          What am I?
          Chopped liver?
          Where do the strangers sit?

                    the waiting room stinks with grunt
                    of cronies, fuck you and your attitude!
                    in difference you make yourself
                    similar, not me. I take my own root

                    insulin, heart valves
          spare parts when body breaks down

knuckles pickled in a jar
far from your new age Orientalism
a delicacy
jiving till the cows come home
slopped in smokey sauce

          inarticulate white boys
          mocking, cocking around crowing
          bitter schoolboys want a spanking
          I know what you'll do
          when you don't get what you want
          blame it on the pig!
          convert to Judaism or
          Islam to set yourselves apart


          who are you fooling
                    with your literary policy?
          editorial criticism? style?

                    feed me
          you're gonna need me
          Nature made me fat & beautiful, not art!

nurture me
          scratch my head
the best of me follows
the rest of me when I'm dead

live like orphaned pigs
dig in mud
          be cool
big cats can't match a boar
     (have you ever heard a piglet fart?)
it was meant to be
pigs rule!

                                        (June 7, 1999)

Red Light Message

From what Julie said, it's true you can do
anything including be involved in
government & politics in your community
It gives you a sense of place & community
which can transform the culture
as poetry can, but the subject of this
panel begs the question. Procrastination
is the great curse & pitfall of the writer
For years I have heard writers say,
"I have no time to write. I'm too busy trying
to make a living!" But it's important to get
past that because writing is
a discipline & practice and you
make time to write & you learn to write
at that time, and channel your writing
to that time, and then you are safe
You have to write, anywhere, anytime
available. The time exists
A line a day can create an incredible life of work

                                        (June 26, 1999)