Harvest—La Vendange au Vignoble

by Joseph Fries

Like a kid stuffed with Halloween candy
I have made myself sick on the grapes that
should have gone into the asparagus
bins—the first snow fell, dandruffing the roads,
as we went trick or treating,
I forget what I was that year, maybe
Al Capone and Steve was Adolf Hitler
but that might have instead been the Junior
High historical person night. Go Hawks!
Anyway, fuck the football team, they get
new uniforms every year, the band
has the same ones from the seventies, what
the hell is that? Those were good junkie years,
gimme my fix of EverCrack, baby.

The four wheeler coughs and sputters, struggling
to haul the bins of grapes up the rows to
Moses (’49 Chevy flatbed, straight
six, Granny Smith Green). When I hit my mid-
life crisis, I wanna start a metal
band: Rock Out With Your Coq Out. Better than
some stupid car. The best part of the Fast
and the Furious is when Paul Walker
hits the nitrous—Vin Diesel just downshifts
and blows past him. At my birthday party
we put the remix of Koᴙn’s Got the Life
on repeat and stayed up all night gaming:
rom body boo, rom body boo, rom bom
be bom ba bom body boo—boogie on.

Pretty quick, my clippers get sticky with
grape juice and sap—I get my daily dose
of protein from all the suicidal
leafhoppers that jump up my nose and down
my throat. When I had my tonsils out, all
I could eat were protein shakes, disgusting.
Funny where the mind goes, any way the
wind blows, Freddie Mercury always wrote
awesome lyrics that earworm into my
brain like memories sliding through the head
mush—I haven’t had Cream of Wheat in years,
almost tasty with honey and milk, not
too sickening like these grapes that I can’t
stop eating, royal in purple and black.


Most varieties of grapes native to the Americas have a distinctive “foxy” taste and are thus unsuitable for wine.



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