The Grub Street Diet

Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls

“This diary would be a waste if I didn’t get drunk at least once with my mom.” Photo: Grep Hoax

“Are you tired of reading food diaries from people who go to too many restaurants?” Patricia Lockwood wrote us when she sent in this week’s Grub Street Diet. “Let’s try one from someone who isn’t even ALLOWED in a restaurant.” Lockwood, the Kansas-based “poet laureate of Twitter,” writer behind “Rape Joke,” and author of the the book Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, continued on: “Have you ever noticed how in English, when someone is crazy, it’s always in a food way? They’re crackers, or they’re nuts, or they’re a fruitcake, or they’re off their crocker (Betty). Well. I just thought I would bring that to your attention, as I spread before you the banquet of this ‘bananas’ food diary.”

Friday, August 22
NO BREAKFAST. Breakfast is a fool’s meal and I would rather be poisoned than eat a single bite of breakfast. Everything about it is baby food except for the vulgar American meats, which seem to have been carved straight off Paul Bunyan’s own ass. Eggs are just a shape, and toast is the reason the British no longer rule the world: too cozy and complacent. I do drink a coffee, though. I’m not going to pretend the Enlightenment didn’t happen.

12 p.m.: I drink another coffee. Actually I drink three more coffees. Am I supposed to be talking about all the coffee I’m drinking? That would take up too much space, I fear. Assume I drink so much coffee that sometimes I pretend that it’s gas and I’m a little diesel truck that needs to get all the way across the country with my … with my load.

2 p.m.: I sit in my backyard eating a chicken sandwich and sighing tragically after every bite. The sandwich is as cold as the universe. Here’s the thing. I don’t need to be rich, I just need to make enough money so that I can sometimes eat at one of those places that makes your sandwich hot for you. I don’t know why but it seems so hard to make your sandwich hot at home, even though it should be easy.

8:30 p.m.: I make it a habit to eat whatever’s in the books I’m reading. This means chowder for Moby-Dick, mixed grill for The Corrections, mushrooms and sour cream for Speak, Memory, and a hamburger with french fries for Ramona Quimby, Age 8. It means that whenever I read Redwall I go out into the yard and eat flowers. (Be careful with this. There are daturas in my yard, and if I accidentally eat one of these I am told I will experience a “vision quest” in the manner of Ayla from the Clan of the Cave Bear books.) Right now I’m reading the new Murakami, which means I eat pasta while listening to classical music and thinking about cats and wondering what it would be like to live down in a well. I bet I would love it.

12 a.m.: Oh no, it’s PMS. You know what this means: I have to eat an entire jar of capers one by one with a shrimp fork, at Midnight.

Saturday, August 23
2 p.m.: Fine, I’ll submit myself to the indignity of breakfast. I’ll eat a … a yogurt. What IS yogurt? Is the yogurt having sex, in my mouth, as I eat it? Is it some sort of dairy orgy? Maybe that’s why the women in the commercials always make such sensual faces as they slide the spoon of demon-curd in and out of their mouths. The yogurt claims to be Greek, but I don’t know why. Perhaps a centaur drizzled honey over it with his tail? That would be Greek as hell.

7 p.m.: LISTEN. I’m writing a BOOK. I don’t have TIME for MEALS, and why haven’t we reached a JETSONS POINT YET, where everything we need is in CAPSULES. I WANT TO DI — oh. My husband Jason arrives home at the crucial psychological moment, rushes into my study, and drops a giant slice of fruit tart in my mouth before either of us can say a word. My death is averted … for now.

9:30 p.m.: I consider myself to be Crunchpunk, which means that if I don’t hear my food crunching, I starve. I haven’t crunched anything all day, so in order to keep myself mentally and physically hearty I eat approximately one hundred potato chips.

11 p.m.: I sip a mug of kratom tea, which is a legal vitamin that makes music sound better to people. It also makes you very hungry. Under its influence, I wolf an enormous turkey sandwich while listening to Brain Salad Surgery and become one with the glittering cosmos. My mouth glistens with a galaxy of mayonnaise. Turkey is … a dinosaur, I think, disoriented, and fall asleep dreaming of myself flying a pturkeydactyl so close to the sun that it becomes perfectly roasted and embraces me with a pair of enormous brown drumsticks. Food is truly a miracle.

Sunday, August 24
11:30 a.m.: A handful of Craisins, the clit of fruit.

3 p.m.: I watch Tampopo while eating ramen. (Yes, I DO eat ramen every day, because I am a student of life.) What is going on with that one scene where the guy puts a live prawn on a woman’s bare stomach and lets it wiggle around until she climaxes? How do I figure out how to do that at home?

5:30 p.m.: Time for a Purse Surprise. Purse Surprise is where you open up your purse and just eat anything that’s accumulated in it over the past few weeks. I get lucky this time — five beef sticks (???), three oranges, a box of mints, two coffee truffles, and a pill that could honestly be anything.

7 p.m.: All I eat for dinner is the internet. It tastes awful.

AFTER MIDNIGHT: GREMLIN TIME. I Google the words “can you be addicted to Snapple Mango Madness” and come upon a bunch of pregnant women talking about the new sinister hold that Snapple has on them. If it turned out I were pregnant and the only symptom I had was that I was suddenly addicted to Snapple and I wanted to drink ten a day until a pure tropical baby fell out of me, this would be the best ad campaign Snapple ever had. I better get started. I drink a Snapple Mango Madness.

Monday, August 25
My husband has long dreamed of opening up a restaurant called “Jason’s Gross” where he only serves things that sound good to him, such as pizza with pepperoni and strawberries and “mashed potato sundaes,” which I don’t have the heart to even inquire about. Today I tell him I will eat anything he makes. He rubs his hands together with glee and begins to write out a menu.

Throughout the course of the day he serves me:

Raw Banana in Elegant Slices
Futuristic Protein Bar That Resembles an Astronaut BM
Pretzels with Ketchup (“No One Ever Tries It, But It’s Good”)
Quinoa Mound with Pubic Sprouts (Erotic Meal)

Brava, I tell him, dabbing my lips with a linen napkin. Jason is, indeed, gross. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I sneak into the kitchen at midnight and eat like an entire rotisserie chicken.

Tuesday, August 26
This diary would be a waste if I didn’t get drunk at least once with my mom. We head out to an Italian restaurant in Kansas City called Bella Napoli and order artichoke and smoked-mozzarella pizzas and a bottle of white wine. Jason isn’t drinking wine right now because he is “healthy,” so my mom and I have the bottle all to ourselves. This is good until she drinks a second glass and decides to tell us the story of a man who just died in a tragic cliff-diving accident. “He was so fun-loving … and it ultimately killed him,” she says. The pizza falls out of my mouth. My fork clatters to the table. We exit the restaurant with tears in our eyes.

To cheer us all up, I force us to go to the local Baskin-Robbins and order Daiquiri Ices. I haven’t eaten one of these since high school, and it tastes MUCH more synthetic than I remember. Jason’s face, as he samples it, recalls one of those YouTube videos of a baby eating a lemon for the first time. He shudders. His expression passes through stages of betrayal, disgust, anger at God. “It tastes like going down on a My Little Pony,” he says finally.

“Does this contain corn syrup?!” my mother shrieks. “Because that makes me misbehave!” And sure enough, before we know it, she has hurled her cone into the trash, raced out of the Baskin-Robbins, and jumped into her car. She’s freaking out on corn, flooring it through every yellow light she passes, and telling us a story about how her father once ate 30 ears of corn in a cornfield and then threw up. “IT’S WHY I CAN’T TOLERATE CORN!” she yells at the top of her lungs. Soon enough it becomes clear where we’re going: to the Cheesecake Factory, the locus of her existence, to get some iced tea.

The Cheesecake Factory is terrifying for several reasons. First, because it implies the existence of a Willy Wonka running around in the bowels of the restaurant. This is big. He’s wearing a giant hat in the shape of a genital lily, he’s juggling balls of fried mac ‘n’ cheese, he’s experimenting with hideous new Skinnylicious concoctions and he’s taking bad children on canal rides.

Second, because why not call it what it is: Vagina Hallucinations in Byzantium. I’m somehow hungry again, so I eat — it grieves me to report — a plate of desecrated chicken tendys that have been breaded with crushed pretzels. Why? Who had this idea? No one knows, but far off in the distance, I am sure I can hear Willy Wonka laughing.

Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls