One day the Pirate and the Parrot went to see their friend, the Nudnik Who Became a Jihadnik, as he energetically engaged in preparing eggplant salad with his whistling scimitar of damascene steel while crouched outside the cave that constituted his secret location.
“Hola!” hollered the parrot.
“Hola to you too,” replied the Nudnik Who Became a Jihadnik.
My friends, he then added, it is
such a perfect pleasure to see you!
You, parrot, put on fifteen pounds,
you, pirate, look puffy and pale.
How can be so unhale
in this ambiance indo-iranic?
Have some eggplant. It’s rich in vitamins,
it has no chemicals, it’s organic!
The friends tasted the eggplant and pronounced it good.
In all my adventures in nature,
avowed the good-natured pirate,
whenever I took a break from
plundering to set out hiking
or, as more usual, swimming,
or when, with my tread betraying
I entered an eating establishment
such as restaurant, cafeteria,
taco stand, noodle shop, kiosk
specializing in local
specialties or that
global gobble, I’ve never
and I mean “never,” never,
no I never, not ever ever,
ever tasted such enticing eggplant!
It is as gentle as babies when they are barely born
and not detrimental like rabies infecting a mammal forlorn,
yes it is tasty and zesty like the leaping of a grasshopper above a freshly-ploughed furrow,
yet it’s not noisy and nasty like the weeping of a teenybopper when she stands on the subway platform thinking about ending it all because something her “friends” did awoke the dracula of her inner sorrow,
no it’s more like that split second when the human pain of that young shopper and, more importantly, her resolution to throw herself under a train after Stephanie and Jennie compared her to a small landlocked sockeye salmon called kokanee, because that sort of insensitivity is common to young people from an outlying borough,
suddenly dissolves to the unheard strain of Little Orphan Annie singing “Tomorrow and tomorrow.”
This eggplant, responded the Nudnik
Who Became a Jihadnik
because his therapist told him
he kept too much on the insidenik,
reminds me of capitalism
and its relationship with imperialism,
for I have poisoned this eggplant,
yes friends I have poisoned this eggplant
but not like poisoned poisoned
so that you fall down and expire,
no, lightly and unmethodically
as if I were adding a seasoning
like cumin or maybe cardamom,
sufficient for diarrhea
lasting perhaps a few hours
or several days, not more.
My aims for this were pedagogical,
my means were both psychological
because memory respects suffering
much more than it does the logical—
were it not so! but it is—
ratiocination. So, please,
avoid capitalism, friends:
that’s all that my dish demands.
Don’t eat the eggplant, parrot! It’s poisoned!
Allack and welladay! Diarrhea, here I come!
Eugene Ostashevsky is the author of The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza and Iterature, two books of poetry published by Ugly Duckling Presse. This poem, an earlier and different version of which appeared in Zeek, comes from a novel / poem-sequence in progress, called The Pirate Who Does Not Know The Value of Pi.