Register Thursday | June 27 | 2019


Side dish or muse?

Imagine an All You Can Eat buffet with just one choice-coleslaw-in minimalist Japanese poetic form. That's right. Two dozen haikus on the theme of coleslaw, the North American side dish of choice. Okay, not of choice. The side dish that's forced on you at thousands of restaurants across Canada from St-Hubert to White Spot. The side dish that's sold in bulk at your local supermarket. The side dish that few actually order, but that everyone gets... How much can you digest?

The Coleslaw Haikus

Creamy, also tart,
a soggy crunch contradicts
its pale orange heart

Silken cabbage strips
soaked in Mama's moon magic
with sodden carrot

Small pile on the edge,
the main course has gone; not the
Small pile on the edge

Brassica ole-
leafy Latin roots.

Shredded white cabbage
in buttery vinegar:
one bite is enough

Cabbage head, solo,
or tangled up with spirals
of blushing carrot

A bit on the side
like an old, wrinkled mistress
Forgotten, unloved.

Abandoned, it clings
Stubbornly to the plate, grows
Hard in the hot wash

When left out all day
It emits a curdled cry
Silent yet deadly

Thin sticks of cabbage
protrude from its smooth, round mound
like glistening pins

A pickle slice draped
across its curvaceous peak
Fails to seduce me

A bluebottle fly
lands on the surface and drowns
in acrid juices

The menu lists you
not. Are you unworthy? Or
are you a garnish?

The undercooked prawns
quickly cause gastric distress,
but you get the blame

Soft velvet liquid
cannot mask your acerbic
side, sour after-bite.

Even a mile high
with turbulence and terror
you remain untouched

At snooty functions
posh waiters dish you up with
silver trenchant tongs

How can one so sweet
turn vitriolic, caustic;
so sharp, so bitter?

At large gatherings
your tendency to mordant
maudlin goes unchecked

After the marriage,
before the speeches, the Bride
and You are unveiled

Your ubiquity
and omnipotence arouse
reverence and fear

Like spaghetti, you
are not a smart choice for those
Out on a first date

At Moishes, you're a
Star, up with the fries and the
Monte Carlo spuds

Handsome, bearded guy
at the buffet, heaps you high.
He loves you, baby.