The Chameleon’s Dish

At Breakfast
I interrogate objects
for their hidden meanings
suspecting that everything is
a sham, though not to
the point of paranoia
I forget to eat

By Lunchtime
the objects no longer appear
as an organized effort to
accomplish existence, more
a plate tectonics masquerading
as real estate, a hint of confession
in the chaos yet not enough
to justify a declaration of suchness
I am, by now, very hungry

In Midday
my need for food is sounding
peculiar song-like drones
but there’s silence as well
like a cosigner to the deed
conspiring with a growling gut
this calling, this appetite is making
arguments that seem capricious
and I wonder if the eating
might not cause more problems
than it solves

At Dinner Bell
my stomach is a gust of craven mara
despot of my being, and I yield
ladle out some stew
sitting in the sand upwind
of the cook fire, where
all these elaborations dissolve
under waves of taste sensation
I know I must realize precisely
this, or I’ll have to get up
and do it all over again
probably, tomorrow

Come Evening
a pine branch pops
in the embers and the sparks fly
up, absorbed like nourishment
into the hungry black
belly of night

Title is from Shakespeare, Hamlet III.2 :

CLAUDIUS
How fares our cousin Hamlet?

HAMLET
Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I eat the air,
promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.

Alternate title: A Day in the Life of a Neophyte Yogin

4 thoughts on “The Chameleon’s Dish

  1. “The five colors blind eyes.
    The five tones deafen ears.
    The five tastes blur tongues.
    Fast horses and breathtaking hunts make minds wild and crazy.
    Things rare and expensive make people lose their way.

    That’s why a sage tends to the belly, not the eye,
    always ignores that and chooses this.” Tao Te Ching (Chapter 12), Lao Tzu (translated by David Hinton)

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