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From the April issue

CHARLES MARTIN

A Ballade of Sorts About a Golden Age

For Michael Donne

“Somewhere between polishing off a bowl of fried to order pork rinds at La Bète in Seattle and downing handfuls of popcorn dusted with apple-cider powder at Barbuzzo in Philadelphia, it hit me: We’re living in a golden age of bar snacks.”

– Bon Appétit, September, 2011

 

Though there are many whom we do not know
Starving to death in places more than cruel,
Where babies die and children do not grow;
Though there are those who spend their lives immured
In darkness living – so to speak – on gruel,
It doesn’t matter, for we here are assured
Of better grub by far than wormy hardtack:
We live in a golden age of the bar snack.
 
If icebergs melt and ocean levels rise,
If more of us can scarcely breathe the air,
And Gaia offers us a grim surprise
As water gushes from our taps afire,
Yet let me counsel here against despair:
Although the situation may seem dire,
We’ll learn to love the heat that melts the tarmac,
Who live in a golden age of the bar snack.
 
If mindless terrorism north and south
Turns distant nations into living hell
And makes of many one blind screaming mouth,
That isn’t really our problem, see?
Some of us live poorly, some live well,
And that’s been true throughout all history,
Although you search no matter how far back.
We live in a golden age of the bar snack.
 
O Prince, no matter whether you prefer
The honeyed almonds or a lightly grilled
Dormouse served up within or out its fur,
Your prairie oysters raw, your Arctic char black,
Know that your wish will surely be fulfilled:
We live in a golden age of the bar snack.

 

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