Rub Meat

Michael Heyman, PhD, DDS, SFPS. The Fizzbert P. Pinkbottom Endowed Chair of Nonsense at Berklee College of Music (FPPECNBCM) at a Berklee Poetry Slam

Preface; or, A brief explanatory Discourse, to which are added the Principles of Carnivorous Frictation
If—and the thing is wildly possible—the charge of performing nonsense were ever brought against the performer of this brief but instructive piece, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (at around 1:52), “Mambo—no simple lumpish ham hock enthusiast.”In view of this painful possibility, I will not, though few would fault me for doing so, discuss my long history of educative exertion in the service of various institutions of higher learning. Nor will I resort, as I could, to Letters written on my behalf by various members of the Pusillanimous Parliamentarians for whom I have frequently had the opportunity to present academic delecturation. Nor will I, as I might, remind my gentle readers of my exertions as an editor, with such pedagogical volumes as The Tenth Spoon: An Anthology of Indian Cutlery, the best-selling but academically rigorous Who Ate My Ham Hock? (an understanding of this work alone goes a long way in explaining the excerpt in question), and Applehead Imperative: A Teleological Thigh-Slapper, a favorite of the Kantian crowd.

The phrase “Mambo—no simple lumpish ham hock enthusiast” may seem, to the reader familiar with Patagonian meat-dancing traditions, to contradict common aesthetic practices, but the following explanation should put any doubts to rest. The subject being the rubbing, or in common parlance, frictation (derived from the Old French  fricare), of porcinquity within the South American discothèque, we might expect the hock of ham to be worthy of frictational enthusiasm. If it was good enough for Magellan, who subdued natives of this region with his “splinting” of the many kinds of hock he had encountered in his explorations, including the “flippy burger,” “shucking porkpie,” and “distressed weasel” (all accounted for in this performance), then it should certainly be sufficient for the local mambo enthusiasts. But our narrator is no stranger to the disco abattoir popular in so many Patagonian towns, where the use of the “saturnine cat o’nine tails trailing rectangular soup” was far from uncommon—“rectangular soup” being the colloquial term for congealed and concupiscent offal, a particular delicacy. While he seems to spurn “simple lumpish ham hock,” as if it did not have the pedigree previously mentioned, in truth the “simple” refers not to the common definition of that which is not complicated, but rather to medicinal herbs, or “simples,” those dried leaves and petals our grandmothers stuffed into our porkpies before consigning us aboard freighters bound for the Syllabub Sea. The hock in question is therefore not the medicinal variety (also known as Granny’s “industrial pantaloons,” described in this section of the piece), but rather the kind of heliotropic hock the flourishes more under the bright lights of the aforementioned Patagonian discothèques.

I trust that, with this knowledge, the remainder of the piece will be as pellucid as rectangular soup, and, with a tip of my runcible hat to Lewis Carroll, Eric Idle, and Your Mother, I wish you, Dear Reader, equal hockings of instruction and delight.

Michael Heyman, PhD, DDS, SFPS, FPPECNBCM