Richard Spuler

Something Like Reflections on a Pleasant, Unpremeditated Lunch, Without Decartes

Still, first encounters of this kind are problematic.
How could I admit I didn’t know
the difference between eggplant
and melanzana? Or if I claimed to know a difference,
would you understand?

(Scene: I hesitate, or give you to under-
stand a hesitation resembling me. You
[across the table] intuit the moment,
are first to place napkin upon lap.
The salad arrives. Oil and vinegar.)

Who begins? Or had our meditations on
the first philosophy their own beginnings?
What of the Things of which we may Doubt,
of the Nature of the Human Mind; and that
it is more easily known than the Body?

(We skipped the part “on God: that he exists”)
and spoke of Truth and Error,
of the Essence of Material Things
(and again, not “of God:
that he exists”, but more importantly)

of the Existence of Material Things,
and of the Real Distinction between
the Mind and the Body of Man.
(You understand, this is historical speech.)
And-what about Dessert?

Of course it was nothing like this at all.
The guest we never invited never showed,
leaving us now with only the difference
between the shoulder and the road,
between the ghosts in the closet

and the ones next door. Nevertheless,
having been through windows and other relationships,
we could guess: la philosophie du jour?
There is pasta, and there is pasta. Like there are
recipes for the worlds in our throats
for something like a lunch, like
French for something like meditations on
something like method and madness, like
speaking in tongues about the edge of old wounds,
who pays the bill, and encounters of this kind.

Richard Spuler’s poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines. He is currently working on a collection of short stories and poetry (Memorabilia and Other Assorted Forgettables). For nearly 20 years he has served as Senior Lecturer in German at Rice University in Houston, TX. He enjoys music and reading.