Daily Archives: November 15, 2016

American Appetite Parable

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

It helps to have
gigantic teeth.

Of course, if possible
you kill it first.

But if you’re big enough,
perhaps you needn’t. 

Does that sound awful?
It is awful.  There’s no way around that.

But honestly, you might have to eat it
while it’s still alive.

While you’re thinking about that,
consider how you’ll stop it from moving

long enough to get those bites in.
No matter how large your teeth, 

you can’t eat it while it runs.
You’re going to have to stop it

from running.  Bring it
to at least a crawl so you can

get a leg up on it
and open your mouth.

Also, can you make that first bite
count toward the slowdown and stopping?

Think on these things, but not 
for too long.  It’s charging

and it’s huge. Tremendous, 
really. But remember, 

it’s made of meat. Aren’t you hungry? 
Hungry enough to at least try?


American Oatmeal Parable

Forced to eat oatmeal each day
by my addled blood.  
Gotten so used to it
that a day without it feels like treason.

Once upon a time I liked it well enough. Still
sounds good right up to the first bite —  
a blues bowl of blueberries and cinnamon,
tan pulp gone purple with berry dye. Then

it becomes all bent notes until “good-for-me,
good-for-me, good-for-me” stops echoing inside
as I put empty spoon and bowl into the sink
with that sense of weary duty to a life I truly don’t love,

followed by seeking out morning news. Upon seeing it 
my addled blood so often becomes curdled blood;
all that weary duty feels heavier, and heavier, 
a weight in my stomach as dense as the cursed daily bowl —

but every day I force it down. I do what must be done,
take in boredom and pain and anger because
as much as it hurts, I must stay alive a bit longer;
because “good-to-me” means more than just feeling good;

it’s about doing what must be done 
to save my blood, my country, my life.
Whatever I choke down I choke down to do just that.
Gotten so used to it that a day without it

feels like treason.