Dear Boutique Grocery Store in My Neighborhood,
I think a person should love his or her work
I love food
If you stick me in the olive oil department
I can discourse for hours comparing the oils
And the olive who grows only where winters are temperate
I’m a little far north for a good olive
but I sometimes summer in Italy
where the oils in the southern provinces are heavy
in the north the oils are milder
olio extra vergine di oliva in Tuscany is a favorite
as well as the darker oils from Umbria
especially around Assisi
Spello in particular.
I know everything about olive oil
which is by the way one of the seven holy species
mentioned in the Hebrew Bible
not the olive but the olive oil
the olive releases its dearest product
I can discourse about that too
so my experience has prepared me well
for a position at your store.
Don’t you think I would be a fine addition?
I am becoming inspired by my President
Who has offered up a jobs bill
And what sensible Republican would
Put me in the tomato sauce aisle
I love tomato sauce and know everything about it.
I mean the perfect red sauce
the superiority of red to white sauce
(white sauce an inherently flawed concept)
the perfect red sauce
that elevation of the lowly tomato to holy consequence
the interpenetration of spices, herbs, flavors, tomatoes
the sauce the identity of its ingredients but the ingredients not
the identity of the sauce —
as if there is something that makes it sauce that is larger
more consequential than its constituent ingredients.
The perfect red sauce, when it’s made right,
you cannot pick out the individual tastes,
unless it’s a wrong sauce
then you know there’s too much basil
or it’s too heavy with oregano, or bay leaf, too sweet,
or too olive oily
but when the sauce is right
it’s a perfect blend
and it just is, not this or that
it just is
the perfect red sauce.
It is many and it is one
many ingredients one perfect taste
not a combination of independent tastes
but one glorious irrefractable, irreducible taste.
I can talk about this for hours.
I enjoy the dry goods part of the store also
I can flat out order the best notebooks
Clever affordable pens [from Japan I’m afraid]
And three by five cards, etc., I am so delighted
That you carry them.
I would suggest adding a shelf of work clothes
I love overalls.
Also, the coffees and teas are a special expertise of mine.
I know everything about coffee and tea
And my taster is keen.
I am working on various deadlines for publications
And this has been a good distraction for me
So if you offer me a job
I may or may not take it
Depending on how far on my manuscripts
I have worked.