Last night I dreamt (that somebody loved me…ah, Morrissey! how you’ve colored our weltanschauung) that the Director & I were seated at the bar of a white-hot izakaya in Manhattan that only served rare, very expensive worms—I remember seeing fried worm & green bean tempura go by—& tsukemono. We stuck with the pickles, sheepishly; I felt like a rube, an unenlightened mass of 1.

But then I woke up & remembered the Cycles Gladiator pinot noir I had at Billy’s Inn the other night.

As I mentioned w/r/t Wine Poem 1, despite tasting class after tasting class—never mind my obviously ingenious way with words—I’ve yet to grasp the finer points of wine description. References to other fruits in particular have always struck me as odd—by fresh-cut pineapple or full-on durian or wild cherry just plucked from the navel of an island virgin, did you maybe just mean grape?

Something’s happening, though. Maybe it’s a result of this very project, approaching wine through the back door of poetry. Maybe it’s just a result of heavy drinking. Either way, all of a sudden, I’m detecting things I never detected before. I’m an awakening mass of 1.

Take the aforementioned California pinot, which I only ordered because another glass (which, at Billy’s, actually amounts to a quartino served in its own carafe—always a nice touch) of aglianico was beyond my present means.

At the first sip, the word lychee jumped to mind & kept jumping, like a child with ADD after a long car trip. It was definite, the hint of that velvety-sweet yet superjuicy, almost pearlike fruit.

I’ve since Googled the wine & found notes all “ripe black cola” this & “cigar box” that. Please! It’s lychee through & through.

Since then, while pouring glasses from a bottle of 2005 Alfredo Roca malbec the Director picked up at Divino the other eve, I suddenly smelled cinnamon. The scent lingered as we drank, & I knew it was time to post Wine Poem 3—the inspiration for which, however, was actually a sweet, sparkling Italian white virtually impossible to find stateside: schiacchetrà, which you roll around on your tongue along with the word—SHOCK-eh-TRAH—while lounging on a cafe terrace in Cinque Terre, sun slanting along the pink & yellow buildings to sparkle on the Mediterranean below.

Vernazza_ Italy

Wine Poem 3 (Florence/Vernazza
1999)

The day to be the sun was the one Michelangelo made a snowman on

as the icicle’s hourglass ran out

from each branch of each
tree on the grounds of the castle de Medici,

all day long the day
falling

somewhere along a spectrum running

from cycle to continuum—

circle slipping into loop,
loop

losing grip on curve,
loosening the grasp, curve lapsing

into line, line going off on tangent

marked at points now and never by sparkling,

coordinates glacial and
palatial,

shape and phase, monument
and monument to the demise

thereof, from moment to moment losing momentum—

sun-motes sticking to vision like burrs.

Memo to self: become
someone soon. A downpour

has left this view drying
in its wake, view like a film on the surface of surrounding,

a beaded layer over it that is it

—the midst of a vineyard via a trail

as one by one the grapes
drip from their leafy faucets,

the taps leak splashing
green and black,

and one by one the grapes light up like rafter-strung bulbs,

or room after room as the sun sets,

and one
by one the grapes come out and shine like pulp from a star.

Was it
sweet of you to come?

If you were dead, the sky would hang

like a jade burial shroud sewn with gold threads,

but it’s
hung like a shade rolled up to let in breezes of light.

So let’s
vow, marry, wed. This view is a window

of time in which to act for act’s
sake,

we who are drawn here together like
drapery,

folds in woven duration,

folds in dusk’s bolt, drawn
here

following the sun like two exclamation points in a row.

How the emphasis would taper off were you to go.

The day to be time passing

would be the one some
unsung Impressionist whiled

away tracing the shape of a cloud on,

but in lieu of your death or dying
time less ceases to exist
than it exists to cease,

and when the young Ludwig
Miës van der Rohe was out building sandcastles,

those were the days to be the surf—

getting your rivulets all tangled up in seaweed

to wriggle out of the sea’s
bruising squeezes, mottling your gilded strands and tassels

to be the moat’s fulfillment and ruin,

and they’d have been the days to sneak onto wine turf and throttle
yourself

with a vine, knot the noose with the grapes twinkling

like dots of pure green
exclamation point all around you,

dangling a modifier with
this ring
before them—

These are the grapes that make sciacchetrà

slant-rhyme with rocketry. It tastes like juice wrung from a star.

It sparkles like the
coercion of space into spaces,

like the visible on the
wane that the clear may wax.

Somewhere between the pivotal act of your life or living

and its riveting consequences, along the way 

ad astra per aspera,

there must have been a
night to be the rain,

a means of siphoning the
energy of Sisyphus

off from the myth of inertia

as it snowballed from rock fact

to refuel belief in
impetus. A way to confirm.

But the day to be a
scorcher has to coincide

with the wedding on the palace lawn

in a pavilion lined with ice sculptures of the pantheon

and must subside in
thunderstorm

with the gods of wine
making pools

of themselves, fools for self-reflection as they melt
down

into figures entering the centrifuge—

as what, rotating, separates—

Let’s pledge our devotion
to perpetual motion,

let’s be the betrothed becoming
otherwise,

lightning-struck,

composing toasts and going into shock—