Anthony Bourdain, An Elegy
I feel like a cuttlefish in a cuttlefish stew. Cut up in brine. Seasoned and chunked.
Like yak testicles turning on a spit, basted in a language I don’t understand.
Like asphalt pie, patched in but too flimsy to drive on, ever weary of bad road.
After the news I can’t sleep. A Food Network cameraman is following me around in my dreams, farting an air of iguana curry. I can’t locate my inner sauna, my frozen lake.
Someone asks if I will remove my sarong, display my insect parts. I’m supposed to eat a bucket of tree grubs faster than the next guy.
No, that’s not it.
I’m in the Mekong Delta beside an octogenarian drinking rice whiskey and singing the sins of my countrymen.
Snort this, the old man says, for TB.
It might have been outside a temple in Bhutan where he hid his last prayer as they bulldozed a road and a little jet sputtered off toward a mountain.
It might have been late night in Berlin eating currywurst and doner kebab as Metropolis was screened and there was too much good wine.
At some point a decision? God forbid. It might have been anywhere.
Who will tell us what to eat on Monday? Langoustines and pata negra?
Who knows what there is to do in Akron?
Where to go when the night runs into morning?
What to do with all of the bones?
Like Typhoid Mary, summer came and went. Political criminals and oligarchs, opportunists, traitors, liars and others paid to lie about liars ate it like the spring before it, in big media gulps, immense helpings, straight up the nostrils. Then this.
Strasbourg? Cuisinier et voyageur.
I found myself reading about Frigyes Karinthy, the distinguished Hungarian writer. One day early in the last century he was sipping coffee in a Budapest café when he heard the roar of an incoming train. He sat and processed the sound for a few minutes and then realized there was no train near enough. I must be hallucinating, he thought. But he wasn’t. He had a brain tumor.
Cooks have had it hard. It’s no longer confidential. There’s that. Travel is worth it and can be lonely. That too. To give us the world, from East Africa to West Virginia, with humility and style.
Smoking a joint on a Seattle balcony looking out to sea, as the world is made and undone.
Requiescat in pace.