That’s from Fan’s inspired "Bar Tab: Mother's Ruin," in this week’s issue. Her Rauschenbergian word assemblages – “frumpier than their cashmere-sweatered, silk-bloused neighbors,” with “the snarl of eighties-era Hüsker Dü and Circle Jerks,” with “the thematic connection between a drink named The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (sherry, grapefruit, cardamom) and one called Lee Marvin (tequila, agave, orange),” with “the energetic barkeep who claimed authorship,” with “the New Fuck Buddy (rum, coffee sauce, lemon),” with “Szechuan-peppercorn duck wings” – first surprise, then delight.
There’s another exquisite construction in this week’s issue – Lawrence Joseph’s poem "A Fable." I don’t claim to fully understand it. I like the swift, vivid notations at the beginning – “Great bronze doors of Trinity Church,” “A red // tugboat pushes a red-and-gold barge / into the Narrows,” “A bench in the shadows // on a pier in the Hudson,” “The café / on Cornelia Street” – like pictures by a savvy street photographer, Marvin E. Newman, say, or Sid Grossman, or Morris Engel, or other members of New York’s Photo League. And I like the specificity of the place names – Cornelia Street, Peck Slip, Water Street, Front Street, Coenties Slip, Stone Street, Exchange Place. The poem expresses passionate engagement with the city. I like the colors – bronze, red, red-and-gold, green, the yellow in Gauguin’s “Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ.” How often do you see Blake and Gauguin juxtaposed? Not often. Most of all, I relish the lineation, the stanzas’ wrap-around edges – enjambment, I think, is the fancy word for it. I’m not sure what to make of this poem. But I’m glad I read it.