Monday, January 29, 2018

Four Menus for Books by Kelly Cherry, Katherine McCord, and Sonya Huber

Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, And Other Essays From A Nervous System, A Menu, by Sonya Huber; Temporium: Before the Beginning to After the End, A Menu, by Kelly Cherry; Run Scream Unbury Save, A Menu, by Katherine McCord; Plath's work, A Menu, by Katherine McCord


As I write this, my new medication is shaking my hands: I just wrote "sheak" then "shek." Words, red, flash. Just a sec, I need more medication . . . stop psychological pain. So Plath's work, A Menu, I'm using to introduce us, seems apt. Kelly's and Sonya's books beautiful. Oh my god. Exit. Craft:


Ariel and Other Works, Sylvia Plath, by Katherine McCord, A Menu
  1. Drink some milk.
  2. I was lying: Some people eat horses.
  3. But you can eat grass.
  4. And capsules. But not all at once.
  5. They make you fly which is better than eating
  6. like with crop circles, which make wheat and corn lie down,
  7. mushrooms,
  8. honey, which is not easy, bees sting.


A Menu for a Book of Fictions, Temporium: Before the Beginning to After the End, by Kelly Cherry
  1. The first course is nothingness. How does one eat nothingness, you may ask, but the answer is clear. Nothingness is what the squirrel eats while trying, unsuccessfully, to steal the birdseed from the birdfeeder. He does not move on to a more accessible meal; he cannot see anything more than his own determination. We call this deranged. To eat is to be not deranged.
  2. Today's meal is matter arriving with time. In the beginning, enjoy the beginning with fine wine and delicious mushrooms. You will be sated with happiness.
  3. Now we have the taking in of serial time, from early China to the colonial era, which, we admit, is a little hard to swallow. One wants to regurgitate all that whipping and hanging of slaves and mistreatment of women, black and white. But soon we are at
  4. which offers us a banquet of civilization, with its industrial and mining smoke (well, that's not so good) and also the development of the auto industry and opportunities for working women, although the working women earn pretty much nothing and get trapped in locked rooms where fire breaks out and everyone dies.
  5. I'm searching for more agreeable amuse-bouches. Indeed, on this day we see that women are permitted to work as scientists and even as philosophers (they had for very long been prohibited or laughed at for wanting to do philosophy) and those are tasty occupations. One female philosopher has gone so far as to re-envision the way the world came into being. That is a superb dish!
  6. After such a rich dish, we perhaps prefer to cleanse our palates with Sambuca or Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream Liqueur. Simply hearing the name of the second liqueur will make you salivate but your first sip of either will make you think you are in heaven.
  7. The last item on our menu is most unusual. It is, in a way, a return to the Nothingness with which we began. The difference is that, between the two, Armageddon arrives. Armageddon is only for those with the most exquisite and educated understanding of smell and taste. In other words, it is for those who can eat chocolate-covered ants, Haggis, tripe, and tuna eyeballs. You must have a strong stomach to digest these edibles. A wasp cracker is another inviting choice.


The Menu for Pain Woman by Sonya Huber
  1. Turmeric tea, which is made with a can of coconut milk, turmeric, a dash of black pepper (supposed to help with absorption), honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This will help calm inflammation.
  2. Dark chocolate: as much as you want. Also, you may take any extreme recommendations to cut sugar from your diet and fire them from a cannon.
  3. Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free English muffins that taste like sawdust. Grind them up, add water, and use to stucco a wall or ceiling or tomb.
  4. Gelatin capsules, used for supplements and vitamins. Take one outside, open it beneath a northern night sky far from the city in which aurora borealis is throbbing and spinning, and catch this magnetized hypnotized air. Take two capsules of northern lights each evening with dinner.
  5. A carrot cake made with cacao butter and various other expensive and exhausting ingredients. Decorate with new foam earplugs in a variety of colors in a celebration of all the ways you have discovered to make the world slightly less overwhelming when the surge of pain threatens.
  6. Fantastic lime-y margaritas with fantastic gritty salt around the rim. You cannot drink these because they clash with your meds, so instead you may either soak your fingertips in the liquid or swish and spit.
  7. Literally anything else within your limited anti-inflammation diet you feel like. Do you want an $11 smoothie? Buy it. You are starving for allowed indulgences. 


A Menu, by Katherine McCord, for RUN SCREAM UNBURY SAVE, by Katherine McCord, the courses that should be spread out over days, listed in order, People, they have to be eaten in. this. order. Thank you. 
  1. Bamboo, lots of bamboo. I'm told you have to harvest the small "shoots" in March and cook them almost immediately, so be prepared.
  2. Corn, lots of corn. Preferably corn flattened via Crop Circles. Unless you want to go with wheat, but that seems a little too hopeful, don't you think?, given you and I aren't into a lot of prep.
  3. Frosting from a can. Preferably in the middle of the night but more like just take the can and a spoon to bed and go on a bender after a long time of not being able to sleep, it being your last resort, your fucking last resort, after trying all the sane things (ocean sounds, rainforest sounds, baths, herbs, psychiatrists, sleeping pills, and exercise (but that was at the end when you were truly desperate. Okay, you like exercise but not when there's an agenda.))
  4. Shredded apples. Yes, that once shredded look like slaw. You want them shredded because they need to look damaged.
  5. Not pheasant.
  6. Jello, okay? Just Jello. With whipped cream. But you are going to have to go all out with this which means a regular grocery store. Preferably with that green and white linoleum and it has to be high summer so that when you walk through the door you feel a whoosh of air conditioning. Oh, also there are TONS of windows in the front with blue-sky light streaming in so that you are way out of your perpetual S.A.D. and feel hope, People, hope. So no Whole Foods for you. You are going back in time when you were a teenager and knew nothing about things like red dye (not that Jello had or has it, ever, but you know how people get). Remember the glasses from McDonald's that were painted with Hamburglars and stuff? Random, I know, but in a good way. Now, this is probably the most important thing you'll hear in your life (okay, in the next 30 seconds), so I'm going to help you with an excerpt from the book to illustrate: 
  7. The world is a serious place. Both horrible and wonderful in its seriousness. I get that. But I am just trying to have as much fun as possible. For example, for the Fourth of July in two days, I will be serving blueberries in cherry Jello with every kind of whipped cream: "Lite," "Regular" (Normal), "Sugar-Free," "French Vanilla" and "Chocolate." That is, whatever they have.


Kelly Cherry is the author of 27 books and 11 chapbooks. Her newest titled are Temporium: Before the Beginning to After the End: Fictions, Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer: A Poem, and Beholder's Eye: Poems. She and her husband, and their little dog, Booker, live at the bottom of Virginia, also known as nowhere.

Katherine McCord's newest book, RUN SCREAM UNBURY SAVE, a literary memoir, chosen by Michael Martone for the Autumn House Open Book Award in Creative Nonfiction, was published in early 2017.

Sonya Huber is the author of five books, including Opa Nobody, Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and the new essay collection Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System. She teaches at Fairfield University, where she directs the low-residency MFA program. More at

1 comment:

  1. this is a good book I read them all, I would like to know if their continuation will, if so, when?