In Defense of Ice Cream as a Spiritual Practice
First of all, ice cream is utterly destructive
to the body. Let go
of all the brittle little lies about calcium; please don’t talk to me
of endorphins’ role in stress reduction. Let us be plain
about our pleasures. Ice cream leads to death.
Maybe not immediately, except in extreme cases, but combined with its like,
ice cream is generally fatal. There is, therefore,
an inherent unselfishness at the core of the eating of ice cream,
a delight that melts away itself.
“This is my joy,” speaks the eater of ice cream. “And it is also,
in due course, the complete annihilation of the ego.”
To eat an ice cream, one must know something
of the unspeakable joy latent
in all corruptible things.
There is a cow at the heart of the world,
and we are all fed, for a while.
Our terrible hunger, the ravagings of Cortes,
the vanilla and cocoa bean advancing from a ground of blood:
while all the passing time the sweetness is already there
in the cow’s lowing. The earth is
ravaged into its shell, we dig deep for one last lick, and we get it.
A bell echoes in an empty lobby.
To really enjoy an ice cream – say, two coops of Rocky Road
encased in a waffle cone (for what is a poem, really,
but two scoops of Rocky Road encased in a waffle cone),
we have spend enough time in the rooms of 98-year-old women
to notice how our lives become like a silk dress after the party,
loved still, and more, but easily dropped,
how in time we return to an essential rightness that was never there before.
How a true reaper addresses his scythe only to what is finished. What is ready.
We come back to life from those rooms, come back to the ice cream stand,
and are ready to order our own dissolution,
with a cherry on top, saying,
“this is my body and this
is my family.”