Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Song of Lunch, A Poem by Christopher Reid

The Song of Lunch (published 2009, TV-BBC drama 2010)

 I bought the paperback edition for a song. I recommend mixing a chilled double martini at an  appropriate time, put up your feet sip and read and sip again. It could change your life. As Hemingway might have said, this poem is "good and treacherous and true.

   The Song of Lunch is very much about food - lunch at an old favorite haunt - an Italian restaurant, to be exact, where this couple used to meet and that was fifteen years ago!.

Lunch being a game with few rule,

and those unwritten,

it's important to him that the field of play

remain the same

as he fondly remembers it.

Pumpkin ravioli, carpaccio, seabass with asparagus, pizza and many glasses of Chianti uncover an old love affair, addressed directly and indirectly, old and sometimes sexy mannerisms.  Even their manner of ordering reveals what they are now..

He looks tired, and apprehensive; she looks lively and content now in her marriage to someone else. He sulks over the  atmosphere; she engages in  "restaurant semaphore" and relates pleasantly to the waiter. He retreats into "infantile truculence." [p. 59]

This encounter concludes in that painful and male act of regret, shame and loss, then,, spurred by grappa , and his weakness to face how damned awful and downright embarrassing he had been int heir relationship and failed book of 30-some poems about "The King of Death." He sees himself as Orpheus seeking to rescue Eruydice.

Abruptly, depressed, guilty and regretful, he then lurches from the table and stumbles, to the gents. In a daze to escape, he ends up on the roof and collapses for a short snooze. Below, she gives up, pays and leaves. The disaster, we learn, stems from even meeting again in the first place. 


 Josephine Hart, art critic, said: "We feel that what Christopher Reid did was to take a personal tragedy and to make the emotion and the situation universal." Indeed.

Rickman  played the surly leading terrorist in the action film, Die Hard (1988). and is still surly and "difficult,",seemingly viciously distracted as he schemes.  Emma Thompson is fondly remembered from Howard's End (academy award and BAFTA) and Sense and Sensibility" and numerous film, stage and TV appearances.


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