Wednesday, June 04, 2008
we ate out for dinner yestreen. as we went out, we could see commotion across the street on the green. why, it was the Prom Walk! which I had never heard of prior to seeing a sign for it a few days ago. I suppose it is a town tradition but it never crossed my path before. I didn't look carefully at the proceedings. a red carpet was set up on the green, and a flowered archway. I gather couples would strut their prom stuff under the arch. which, methinks, would hardly take the 3 hours that the sign indicated. it was weird to see gown dresses and shorts intermingled. guys in hoodies, etc. I suppose the casually dressed were family and underclass kids. our neighbour remarked, about last year, on seeing a group of boys dressed in white tuxes wearing white baseball caps turned to the side. what ev. this sort of thing is and was meaningless to me, tho I don't sneer at these who do it. well, maybe I do. it seemed laboured and hoky. but I do get the need to do it. an assertion of the specific time and place. okay so we went in search of a restaurant, having a vague idea of one. which we found, at exactly 5:00. didn't look overly open, but lights were on. inside it looked tonier than we were looking for, dressed as we were and not wanting to pay a lot. but we were swept in with much hospitality, and that was a good sign. indeed we were about the only customers. menu prices were on the high side but, lo, the early bird specials were reasonable, so we stayed. a list of dishes at $14.95, including soup and dessert. in my previous life, in the wine business, I had opportunity to eat at several of Boston's most lala restaurants at the time. which I did not pay for, because I would not pay 100 dollars (in the 90s) for dinner (the company supplied the wine). I can remember, as an example, being served 1 1/2 bay scallops, AND three string beans. other dishes were served, but you get the idea. nouvelle cuisine. when I got home, I had something to eat. that's art at its most superficial and pointless. there are aspects of art that are simply stemware. the wine taster lifts the glass to the lips but does not taste the glass but the wine therein. it is not the genre that is of interest, but the thing inside it, the specific event. ANYWAY, we three muddled thru the decision process. I chose chicken marsala. Beth had something with mussels and Erin lasagna. my dish was delicately rendered. the marsala was subtly evoked. I don't mind a crunching use of such flavourings but the fragrant dollop was skillful. Beth was very happy with the mussels. I have little interest in seafood, tho will eat it, so I didn't sample her fare. Erin's lasagna was meatless. I find lasagna oppressive. even when I was running 80+ carb-demanding miles a week, I was not wild about lasagna. the waitress, Debbie, asked if Erin wanted marinara or creamy basil. had I been confronted with that choice, I might have gone with the lasagna. the creamy basil was lovely, delicate. Erin had raspberry iced tea, which was pleasant if too sweet for me. he finished it quick so Debbie brought a carafe, and later a 2nd (Erin has a mighty thirst). Beth and I shared a bottle of Monkey Bay sauvignon blanc, fresh, crisp, and grassy. product of New Zealand. I have yet to have a sauvignon blanc from NZ that could not stand next to the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume of France, which are also made with the grape. I hate the mark up that restaurants use. 200%-500%, and it is not like they did not order the wine last tuesdays so have no holding costs. I have had, btw, the white wines from Chateau Margeaux and Chateaux Haut-Brion, as well as Chateau d'Yquem's dry wine. those are off the board, if you want to sell your children to try them. I never took wine that seriously but I will cop to the aesthetic of such wines. which does not of itself place me in the hell of bourgeoisie. lusting for them would. I did not mench the soup course, minestrone for all three, which was fresh and clean. for dessert, Erin and Beth had chocolate mousse. I had cannoli. both were wonderful. our server seemed to be closer to management. she brought a new hire to our table to show the ropes. she was certainly more than what's yours?. I do not like lusting after subservience, but a sociable awareness aint bad. the decor of the place showed effort. on the wall outside, there was a rendering of a tomato can label. which was nice. a faux marble pillar was too amateurish. in the room where we sat, there was a rogue's gallery of paintings. one I know was a knock off of one by John Singer Sargent, the proud European lady. the others were knocks offs too, likely, but I could not say of who. not good knocks offs. as Beth said, they were like Addams Family. the walls were painted a grim burgundy, on a swirled plaster. it was reasonably ridiculous and distracting. the 2 other rooms were much more ordinary, wood and windows. it was a fine dinner for all three of us. I bring it up because food is an accepted aesthetic. we all can critique food, just as we all can critique movies. poetry is seen too arcane to speak to. which is silly because the process is no different. in a poem, words are nodes of interest. the reader takes them in their configuration. the reader need not accept the cultural emphasis (that Shakespeare is the bee's knees, for instance) nor any other outside force. the whole event is in the poem, there. just as the dinner is on the plate, not in a review of the restaurant. you will notice, when you look at your copy of Days Poem, that I dedicate it to Beth and Erin. this is locus, nexus. wine is not efflorescence for me, but from the aesthetic consideration of it I developed a sense of critical and aesthetic standpoint, and of critical process. the important thing was Beth, Erin, and I dining together, not that the service was A1, tho it was. poetry is not arcane, it is made of words, and we use words all the time. poetry uses words in ultimate emphasis, let us say, tho I do not really think it is ultimate. those kids trooping under the archway were in a heightened context. relevance comes, tho, thru a cogitation of the symbolism. I do not think the Prom Walk invites that cogitation. the satisfactions of dinner are more than sensory. the writing of today does sound ALL ALIKE. a centripetal force exists that can throw one free of the mundane manacles of sensation to a deeper thought. this is the real aesthetic, hard fought for. it is the brimming awareness that counts. hello.