Cheap Eats

Switching sides

One word: beets
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS The whole time that Earl Butter was with us, from New Hampshire to New York to Michigan, there was something I wanted to ask him but couldn't quite put into words. That is, until he and Phenomenon hugged me good-bye and drove away, leaving me, at 44 years old, for my first time ever at camp.

Then, as soon as it was too late, the fog lifted from my sentence and the wording was clear and succinct: "How do I learn hopelessness?" Huh? Help me. Read more »

Butterfly bride

Tortas El Primo
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS There was a man on a tractor talking to a man who wasn't on a tractor. There were a boy and a girl by the road, in the grass, playing with something in a bucket. There were two men going into a broken down building. There was a woman sitting on her porch steps looking at her hands.

I didn't cry at the wedding, but the next night I came home from a next-night barbecue, closed the door to my room, and Patsy Clined into a saucy puddle on the bed. Read more »

Home sweet home

If all goes as planned, tomorrow we will wake up near an unpronounceable, unspellable tidal river
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS First windmills we saw were in Wyoming, and I was in the back of the van writing about Don Quixote. So that was cool. I like stuff like that. Then in Nebraska it was my turn to drive and we went through a tornado. It was just getting dark out, and at first this was amazing. Lightning was everywhere all at once — not just bolts but balls and flowers and roadmaps. Explosions of pure pyromania, like fireworks or a war zone. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

I was in the van by myself. Read more »

The horse's mouth

Willie Bird's Restaurant
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS My favorite novel is Don Quixote. I've been reading it since I was three. Or so. Over and over and over and over. But I'd never seen Man of La Mancha, even though it was Crawdad de la Cooter's favorite musical. On road trips, we would listen to her old tape over and over, singing along, dreaming the impossible dream, and so on.

Then I saw Man of La Mancha. Read more »

Lonely enough

Taqueria San Jose
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS I don't even know the name of this river. Three, four, maybe more years in a row we've been coming here, and the women bring magazines. My brother and Wayway and Jolly Boy go fishing and don't catch fish. I sit on the rocks with a pen and don't catch poetry.

At the bottom of the river, on a slimy rock, sits a barrel-shaped bug with four black legs sticking out of its head, an off-center orange dot, and — I swear — barnacles ...

Nature is so punk! Read more »

A new kind of reverb

I was walking in my sleep when I did what I did
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Call came at 10 at night. I remember where I was. I was sitting at my new desk, deciding between not doing this thing I needed to do, not doing that thing I needed to do, or just going to bed and not being able to sleep because I had so many things to do. It was the perfect time for the phone to ring.

EARL BUTTER I got paid! I have pork! Read more »

To get to the other side

Burgermeister
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Florentina Morales Espanola, 88, is going to pray for me every day for the rest of her life. She showed me where she goes to church and told me the name of it, but I forgot. She has 63 grandchildren in the Philippines.

I came down for the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Mountain, and we did everything on "Indian time," which means you get there when you get there, according to Sam. And sometimes not even then, according to me. You take the scenic route, the coast, the trees ... places where time turns into time. Read more »

When she comes

Granzella's
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Turns out I have an aptitude for accidental deletion. My most recent masterpiece entailed the loss of three weeks' worth of all-day, every-day home recordings, 11 songs and about 10 gigs of GarageBand files: gone and unbacked-up. In fact, to illustrate my flair for spectacular failures, it was in the act of attempting to back up the files that I deleted the whole folder.

In other words, I've spent the last month neglecting my friends, missing deadlines, and annoying the bejesus out of Weirdo-the-Cat for nothing. Read more »

Tamale soup

Shanghai Dumpling Shop
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Some week for the chicken farmer. Starts out in the city, my hand in a late-night pot of boiling water, fussing with unthawable frozen tamales, and ends in moonlight in the woods, digging a very sober hole for a very dead chicken.

Foxes have found me.

In other news, there's a spot on the back of humans, below the neck, below the first few vertebrae, between shoulder blades, the soft, special niceness of which will haunt me now for the rest of my life. Read more »

Like breathing

Hide-a-way Cafe
|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Oh, I gave up on Internet dating a long time ago. Like: March? Then, on June 1, this:

My response to his personal ad left him breathless, he said, because blah blah blah. (I'm paraphrasing.) But he definitely said "breathless." I know because I peed my pants when I read it. To leave someone breathless ... that's big. Read more »