Boston Review
table of contents
new democracy forum
new fiction forum
rave reviews
writers’ guidelines
bookstore locator
literary links


Search this site or the web Powered by FreeFind

Site Web



Holiday à la Carte


I had a bialy with low-fat

cream cheese and an iced coffee

and a grilled chicken sandwich

and a small salad and a Coke

and an iced tea and some

nuts and Cheese Nips and two Molsons

and half a charred salmon,

a dozen steamers and three more Molsons.


I had an English muffin and

coffee and some corn flakes

and a fish fillet sandwich

with chips and iced tea

and two Molsons, a Saranac

in there somewhere, a Labatt's

and a grilled chicken sandwich, and later,

a single malt scotch.


I had a cup of fruit,

coffee, two small

muffins and a tomato juice,

a Killian's Red and a Molson

with sliced turkey

on a Kaiser roll, chips,

and then a Labatt's,

two, bread rounds, pâté,

a fillet of beef,

smoked chicken salad

and a kind of fusilli

that I liked, with olives.

A Corona and one

adverb of resignation—

or is it concession?—



I had coffee and

shredded wheat and fruit,

an apple turnover and a

half a bagel with cream

cheese and grapefruit

juice, a Killian's Red, half a

burger, cole slaw and grilled

tuna, a pickle, a pepper,

a slice of watermelon,

a Molson Ale, a Davidson's

India Pale (local, Glens Falls) and

a share of the chicken chili nacho

appetizer, a Ceasar's salad with

Gulf shrimp and one notion

of want, nibbled;

a Jameson back in the room.


I had coffee in the

room, a muffin from

Dave's, a turkey

sandwich in the van,

three beers at the track,

clam chowder (with reflected cloud),

an iced coffee, another

on the road,

sushi take out,

La Fin du Monde at home, a Molson,

and a half measure of quiet.


Black coffee at 5 a.m. and orange

sections, a spray of city

horns in the dark, a

Molson, turkey on a roll,

coleslaw and a pickle

and another Molson and

two auxiliary verbs, were and

might, and a crab cake

and a green salad and

two Czech beers, Lobvo,

I think, and a cup of coffee,

and an in-flight snack,

a Stella Artois, two, and

coffee and a fruit cup

and a muffin and a nut roll

and one subordinate



I had the ground, finally,

and some coffee

and a Guinness and a

salmon salad

on a baguette with cucumber

and tomato, chips, and Marcel

Broodthaers's "Casserole and Closed Mussels"

at the Tate Modern,

a Young's Ordinary Bitter, before

a windlass of jet lag drew it all up

out of me in a Richmond loo, all but for the mussels.

A mug of Earl Grey

to begin again.


I had an orange

juice and black coffee

and brown bread with

marmalade, half a banana,

a Coca-Cola, a bite of

chicken sausage, a pint

of Beck's and a ham and cheese

sandwich and a Heineken,

a Holsten Pilsner, some

hummus, a potato

soup and a Moretti's,

a slice of pizza and

a crab and papaya

salad, gelato and

espresso, one call home,

a fainting regret and

a finger of single

malt scotch.


I never went from

boy to man. I ran

along the Thames, was stranded by the tide,

had coffee and brown

bread and marmalade,

a Braeburn apple,

and a cup of tea, a

bottle of Beck's, a

mature cheddar salad

sandwich and a

Boddington's Bitter and

another adverb of

concession, however,

and a thought about the

various models of my youth.

Rocket and parmesan salad

and baked red snapper

and glasses of Côte Tariquet,

three, and a dessert

of traditional trifle

and a port wine and

a glass of Beck's at

the Roebuck and a

Wild Grouse taken with

a twist of irregular verbs—

speak, speed, spell, spend, spill

and a crowning

subordinate conjunction—

as soon as.



I shunned shall in

favor of will and had

tea and toast and then

coffee and juice; I dragged

to the post

and wrote a note home,

happy that my eldest son

might settle, and had a

frothy English coffee and

everyone else seemed taken ill.

        By swings and roundabouts

had a pint of Carling

and a bag of crisps

in the Gatwick Dickens, and

shrugged off a harmony

of tenses from the crew.

I had a chicken salad

bloomer, the rest of

my crisps and a Coke

with lemon and ice from

the flight attendant,

Helen Wright, and ground again.

I had a sweet

"bon soir"

from a late-night Lisette

with an Opel, ma voiture, awaiting,

and later, a Kronenbourg

line called 1664

("seize cent soixante-quatre," poor)

and cold chicken, green salad,

grapes and a delicious

camembert, courtesy

of friends.

Août 26



30140 ANDUZE

TEL: 04 66 61 91 83

6OEUFS MOYEN                                         8.66F

PISTACH CASI                                           20.03F

CONF CO  370G                                        11.87F

6OEUFS MOYEN                                        8.66F

TUILES PIZZA                                            6.82F

P H 6 RLX                                                   15.28F

BIERE BLONDE                                         28.93F

BIER.DELIRU                                             45.27F

                3 x 15.09F

LIQUIDES 19.60 %                                     28.00F

CONTREX 6XIL                                          17.38F

FRUITS/LEGUMES 5.50%                        13.80F

FRUITS/LEGUMES 5.50 %                       11.40F

MOUCHOIR CO                                          9.12F

SPAGHETTI                                                  7.67F

YA.NATUREX4                                             6.56F

CHEVRE 2000                                             14.69F

CAMEMB.CASIN                                       11.41F

LIQUIDES 19.60 %                                     28.00F

=TOTAL                (20)                                294.45F=

=TOTAL EURO                                               44.89=

(1 EURO = 6.559570 Francs)

ESPECES                           (FRF)                 294.45

MONTANT EURO                                        44.89

001/ 1 /26/08/2001/10:35:18

Numero de Ticket : 009634


probably my favorite works

of Marcel's are the

mussel shell pieces, like the

ones where the shells heap

up beyond the confines

of their cooking pots and

the lids sit on top. Mussel shells

are not a common material

in America.

"Thus the pieces

stand in gegensatz

zu diem 'internationalen

stil' der meisten Pop-,

Minimal- und Konzept-

Kunstwerke. I'm glad of

that. Marcel has written

poems about mussels

revealing the kind of

complex symbologies

he imbues them with,

but in these works they

can simply be seen as

a material of which there

is 'too much' of," writes Mike Kelley.


Août 27

À six heures,

the sprinkler starts,

out of the dead, still

silence of a countryside


wick, wick, wick, wick, wick, wick,

accompanied by the low

bass hum of the pump

beneath the house. The sky,

she brightens.

L'oiseau. Le coq. It's

6:30 now in Langue d'Oc,

a region named for a language,

Occitain, once spoken by the troubadours.

I have black coffee

and croissants, still

warm, from Monoblet,

a small mountain town, all limestone

and tawny faces. When

will I be

what I've become? Ham,

bleu cheese, baguette,

Leffe Blonde and straw-

berries. Un

Blanche de Bruge,

deux, in Uzes, and

one pang of regret: I pass on

"La petite peinture" box, complete

with tiny easel, straight edge,

compass, affixed

palette and booklet of

sample sketches and

instructions in French

for mixing colors—at 650 francs

I think it too much at an antique

shop. A misstep.

Storm coming and

energies seem to gather toward

the present, longer than

the little "now" or even the longer

"maintenant," the kind

of present that is a presence,

a weather, a condition.

What kind of present lasts

forever? Je ne sais pas mois

                     I had

Cuisse de Canard, confit aux

Cèpes et Filet de Merou, sauce

aux crevettes et un Kronenbourg, deux,

et cognac et sorbet citron.

Hail falls, fell; clear,

cleared. Jameson on

a terrace, the moon—

à minuit—half, and

yellow. Bonne nuit.

Août 30

At dawn, a dream.

I am signing the guestbook

at a friend's art show

and someone else has

written, "I didn't get

the sushi piece at all

and something-something-something

doesn't rate as art."

I notice as I sign my name

that I've added

an adverbial suffix to mon prénom

Michael become Michaelly—and figure,

well, that's the standard

for a dream.

        Off to Nîmes today,

to Carré d'Art.

Sir Norman Foster's

musée in the old city of Nîmes

is stunning—glass

and steel, full of sky and light,

drinking in the amazingly preserved Roman temple

from about 5 A.D. across the street

and framing it; and the current show,

a collaboration

between Bruno Carbonnet and

Christophe Cuzin,

plays with the notion of

houses, flowers,

skies and windows

["contre-plaqué, placoplâtre,

verre et acrylique"].

Lunch (mussels) in a courtyard after, but

is Michaelly really Mike Kelley?

        Skipping dinner ce soir.

As the sun ducks behind

a cloud to the west, the

air cools a few degrees, you

can feel it, and a wind,

slowly, insistently, fills

these trees, holm-oaks and

mulberries, and the grasses—

wild thyme, lavender, rock rose and rice straw—


Août 31

I dream you are in

Albany, with your father,

who is not well. There

is a lot of press around.

You are staying with

a friend, perhaps

my cousin Danny—

or now you maybe know his wife, Eileen,

or someone else I vaguely know. You say

bitterly that we will be going there

a lot, won't we. There is

a general pronomial confusion

throughout the night.

In some morning

the square window to

our sleeping room is pure silver,

and the air slinks in,

cool and shy and silent,

a lover without a tongue.

"Les Vitraux"

L'art due XXeme siècle a donné à notre église un certain climat, privilégiant la lumière, la couleur plus que la forme. Les pierres vénérables prennent des tons d'une richesse inouie d'ors, de rubis, de lapiz lazzuli. Claude Viallat le créateur, a très bien traduit dans son oeuvre la clarté mouvante du soleil. Bernard Dhonneur, maître verrier, a utilisé une technique nouvelle: les vitraux sont réalisés en verre soufflé à la bouche. Les verres sont colorés au moment de la fusion avec un ajout d'une couche d'émail coloré sur un support blanc, après une étude en atelier, en étroite collaboration avec Claude Vialllat.

Claude Viallat est né en 1936 à Nîmes. Lors de ses études, il a découvert Matisse, l'abstraction américaine, et a développé un art abstrait critiquant le statur traditonnel du tableau. En 1966 il inaugure durant l'été tout son travail à venir: avec les premières toiles libres sans châssis, il adopte une forme, "trouvée" par accident, rappelant un haricot, qui deviendra emblématique de son art. Depuis, cette empreinte caractéristique, ni géométrique, ni organique, est répétée a l'identique sur toute la surface de ses oeuvres. Sa recherche sur les supports l'amène à travailler sur des bâches, souvent de grand format, ou toute autre texture, de préférence usagée et réputée non picturale (parasols ou stores, sacs de jute, habits…). Il en déconstruit alors l'espace par l'emploi répété et systématique de cette forme, en jouant de la polychromie, des coutures, de la complexité de la découpe, et des motifs trouvés sur ces supports variés. En 1993 il obtient le Grand Prix nationale de peinture.

Pour l'église Notre-Dame-des-Sablons, clasée monument historique, Claude Viallat a conçu 31 vitraux, repartis en rosace et fenêtres. Ils sont réalisés par le maître verrier Bernard Dhonneur, ils comportent plusiers couleurs dans l'epaisseur, leurs formes êtant obtenues par gravure à l'acide et l'ensemble relié par des résines acoustiques. L'emploi de grands volumes avec des nuances dans les couleurs et la matière a permis de serrer au plus près la pensée de l'artiste.

Lake George—London—Langue d'Oc

—Michael Coffey



Michael Coffey's two books of poems are Elemenopy and 87 North. He is the managing editor of Publishers Weekly and editor of The Irish in America.

Originally published in the Summer 2002 issue of Boston Review

Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2005. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 | home | new democracy forum | fiction, film, poetry | archives | masthead | subscribe |