Ode to Ramen Noodles

We stay up to watch until the end
of the Oscars because we want
Parasite to win. It does, not once
but four times! And this triumph
for an Asian film, an Asian director, gives
me so much pleasure I want to make
a bowl of ram-don the same as the lady
of the house eats all by herself
though she told the housekeeper
it was for her son. It's in that scene
just before everything turns
on the blade of a knife
and the hinge of a sliding door
leading from the secret hideaway
in the basement. Her daughter smells
the sizzled beef and thickened sauce
poured over the noodles, and she comes
downstairs. She calls the mother
selfish for eating it all by herself,
not even asking anyone
in the household (though she means
herself) if they want some.
And that right there is what it is:
there is only so much anyone can take—
the poor in their flooded hovels,
the closeted, compartmentalized:
everyone playing costly charades
just so a few can swim in a marbled
bath streaked with white like a piece
of wagyu steak. The rest of us
will write letters in the dark,
happy to eat from tins of dog
food if that means our survival.
I saw a documentary of an artist
who boiled and drained ramen noodles
then knitted each strand carefully,
day after day, in a museum. She
wanted to slow down time, raise
something cheap and ordinary
almost to the level of high art.


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