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Contributor Series 8: Feast and Famine, Dixie

04.04.11 Posted in Contributor Series 8, words to linger on by

Contributor Series 8: Feast and Famine

By Louis Gallo

Dixie’s pure Cajun out of Bayou des Allemandes
where her family owns everything, oil money,
but she’s sweet, gracious, and makes sure her
copper red hair bounces when she talks, and she’s
animated, lively, innocent I guess, the kind of innocent
that’s been around, and she laughs a lot, smiles constantly,
but deep down she’s sad, you can feel it, and today
I bring her over to our family’s Sunday feast
at my grandmother’s, which I don’t usually do
with just anyone, so for now I’m into Dixie
and her eyes bulge when she beholds the food 
on my grandmother Meem’s table because Meem
goes all out when I invite guests, and back then
most of my family is still alive and I will be lonely
when they’re not but what can you do? I’m close to Meem,
real close, but I know she judges the women
that come round and doesn’t like any of them
because I’m the crown prince according to her
though she’s really the boss … look at this:
a platter of bruschetta dripping with butter and
olive oil, the baked ham and pineapple, chickpea
soup, tagliatelle pesto, artichokes stuffed with
Progresso bread crumbs and oyster paste,
a bowl of fava beans with olive salad,
and for dessert we’ll have lemon ricotta cake
and caramel flan (the best in the world) … 
we all dig in and Dixie eats daintily, exclaiming
with each bite how delicious though I happen to know
she prefers French to Italian, and I mean Cajun
French–they eat alligators down there–and speak
some twangy patois that sounds like Japanese.
But Dixie’s too hungry, she’s always hungry,
and I like her much, how could anyone not?
and she’s damned fine looking and drives
an MG convertible, and I don’t mean
by hungry greedy, there’s no greed in her soul,
she’s just famished, and she wants to eat me up too
and that might be fine if I felt like being eaten
and sometimes I do but right now I don’t
so it’s rough dealing with her and she never gets enough
of, well, you know what I’m talking about,
as if deprived her whole life, and I know it was
a messy divorce, she crushed when her husband
confessed he prefers men, which must have
bludgeoned her self-esteem, and I’m sorry for her
and want to help but I don’t want consumption
(and I don’t mean tuberculosis though I don’t want that
either), I mean being swallowed anew each day
and she can’t help it, she’s needy, and when I explain
it to her, she cries and promises she’ll change
but she can’t change because Dixie is Dixie
and I remember times when I felt the same need
and it’s desperate, scary, nobody likes it,
and in bed she almost begs, pleads, she’ll do
anything anybody wants, just love me, love me,
but love is a mystery and you might
wind up with Medea or Medusa
while eager Dixie languishes on the sidelines,
still compliant, ready to forgive, and hell, the girl
is rich and hot, so why the hesitation? Oh yeah,
I forgot to mention spumoni, we have that too,
and get this, hand-made by Meem. We’re full,
bloated, but Dixie accepts a second round of flan
and spumoni, and that’s what I mean, how is it
possible? She’s not fat, she’s lean and trim,
 and that wavy hair bounces and she’s laughing
and telling Cajun stories and even my half senile
grandfather is charmed, charming, she’s charming,
though I know that after this grand lunch I’ll drive
to the gazebo in Audubon Park and tell her
we need to see other people (that cruel line
which covers a lot of ground) and she will burst
into tears and I don’t want to use the word grovel
because I really like this girl and have a few needs
myself, many needs, and I wish Meem were still alive,
and the others too, and Dixie’s so ready to comply
and enthusiastic despite the telluric sadness
and it’s a mistake but maybe another place,
another time, because right now, at this instant,
I’m hungry for nothing.

Louis Gallo’s most recent poem to appear at vox poetica was Gifts Not Errors as part of Contributor Series 6: A Currency of Words in September 2010.

One Response to “Contributor Series 8: Feast and Famine, Dixie”

  1. Sarah says:

    Gorgeous, rich story-poem.

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