No one poses with their toaster & Fuzzy coffee
by Bob Brooks
[ poetry - april 08 ]
No one poses with their toaster
- Ad for Mercedes-Benz
If that's a challenge, I'm up for it,
even beyond it. What I choose
not to pose with is my toaster-oven.
It's made by Krups, the infamous arms
manufacturer, and works badly.
We change toaster-ovens frequently,
because they keep working badly.
The last one was French, and looked as
concept-driven as a Citroen, but was
totally undependable. Our GE electric
frying pan, by contrast, we received as
a wedding present forty-six years ago.
It was one of two identical electric
frying pans given us by identical
twin aunts who lived three thousand
miles apart and hadn't conferred with
each other. We gave one of them away
(I mean frying pan) and carried the
other one along with us to Germany,
where I almost actually acquired
a Mercedes: a 1936 touring car. It had
two giant S-shaped chrome hinges
on the sides, for raising and lowering
the top. Easy to imagine Goering and
those guys swanking around in it - maybe
that's why it came so cheap - luckily, my
sense of humor wasn't dark enough
at the time. 1960, US Army, Berlin,
a year-and-a-half before the Wall went up.
Instead, I bought us a bright red Fiat 600.
Not the smallest of the line, which
would have been the 500, with a
wicker-covered board for a back seat.
The 600 featured hood vents right over
the engine, so that whenever it rained,
which was obviously more often than
would have been the case in Milan,
the distributor filled with water and
the car wouldn't go, and the German
mechanics all laughed. Those Italians,
so crazy! And of course I took pictures.
They're a story anyone could stick to.
How full do you fill those
scoops, I ask her,
how many, how much
water do you put in?
I don't know, she says,
I don't think about it,
sometimes I pour out
a cup for myself when
it's partway done,
though, see? Damn, I say.
What's conclusive to me
is, every so often
it's awful. So I'll say
something like, No offense,
but you know, it's
curious about how - But
she's wise to me,
she knows what I'm
up to. She smiles
like Picasso at the
unveiling of his huge
at the UNESCO Building,
after he'd stared at it
for a moment and then
said to his host, quote,
Well, it's not as ugly
as I thought, unquote;
as if what makes angels
angels is that they
can't explain it.