Watching the Food Channel at Lola’s

I mean the cooks, the clerk, us.

After we pick up our food:

dinaguan, black meat and

bitter melon; pinakbet, adobo,

golden grease. A shot of rice

vinegar, please. What does that

tell you about me? About

us? We sit at a table, stare

at the monstrous things

they eat on that show―

whaddaya call it. Can’t

remember. Anyway, nostalgia

is a dangerous thing. Who

can afford it. Not me.

Seriously you just eat this

because it tastes good, though

someday it will give you gout,

a heart attack. You’ll have to start

eating brown rice, and only then

discover it actually tastes

better. This is today, not

yesterday. Food’s an adventure

the sweating host says; he pulls

crimson strings of mucilage out

of an ochre pile on a dish, stuffs them

into his mouth. The ochre pile sighs,

deflates into its juices; it melts

under the lights, gives in to its fate―

the camera’s intimate, loving gaze.