O SPAM! O glorious, gelatinous mass!
Let heaven and earth resound with thy praise!
Marbled compote of nose, lips, and ass,
Fried, baked, or raw, served with mayonnaise.
Jonathan Black cannot squelch thy appeal,
Though cubical carcass decay and congeal.
Disturbing haiku by this foul man abounds;
Still, sputtering SPAM is the sweetest of sounds.
Eat it today, or wait till next year--
It's prepared with calcium propionate.
The process of spoilage this serves to abate,
Though effects on the diner remain most unclear.
John Cho, and Booda, and Fishel agree:
SPAM's appeal, the Eternal Mystery.
"Just the place for a SPAM!" the bellman cried
As he landed his blue tin on shore.
The various crew were all sure that he lied
'Cause the SPAM was a creature of lore.
They arrived in the mystic land of Hormel
And to various fates did befell.
The hunt for the SPAM was an uffish affairing
And required a frumious daring.
They sought SPAM with a key, they sought it with care
And sought it with loud, brillig curses.
(Though the story itself takes many more verses)
Suffice it to say that it ends in despair.
They found that pink quarry, take it from me,
But the SPAM was a Boojum, you see.
March, 1521: Magellan makes landfall at Guam.
October, 1995: Guam celebrates its first "Spamboree."
Across the vast blue sea, a thousand leagues--and more!
Magellan sailed--sailed west for spices and glory.
(Spices? Cloves and pepper--could he have known before
The fact, how well these would garnish SPAM? The story
Does not tell.) But surely the crew, a miserable
Mix of many tongues, and therefore reminiscent of
Luncheon meat in its diverse and improbable
Origin, would have welcomed SPAM with boundless love
Normally reserved for manna from heaven; but,
Lacking SPAM, lacking even a vision of SPAM,
They suffered hunger, scurvy, death, and mut-
tered dark mutinous thoughts--treason for lack of ham!
So, eating rats, rigging, sawdust, they journeyed into the dark a.m.
Never dreaming the discovery that would become a sovereignty of SPAM.
Shall I compare thee to a can of SPAM?
Thou art more pink and more gelatinous.
Much ill is said about this fine "SPiced hAM"
Yet never is it called keratinous.
Sometime too hard the arteries are made
And often is the heart's beating too dim,
And every glob of fat in time is laid
Upon the waist, for Jenny Craig to trim.
But thy eternal pinkness shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fat thou earn'd
Nor shall Death brag thy heart attack SPAM made.
When in eternal sloth thy life was burn'd
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see
So long will SPAM's blue cans bring joy to thee.
And who am I to guess what lies in you,
Be it the snout of pig, or hoof of lamb,
Or eye of horse, or rump of wanderoo;
I know not what hides deep within you, SPAM.
And it is this infinite mystery
Of roach or beaver's heart or brain or lung
Which tempts and thrills and tantalizes me
As I explore your taste upon my tongue.
Minced beyond recognition! Why, you might
Be Great-aunt whatzername (God bless her soul)!
Your salt, your sweet remains, in every bite
A secret, safely shrouded in your bowl.
How might I know, if, someday soon, I am
Passed for plain, pickled pork in someone's SPAM?
O! SPAM, thy glories always manifest,
In pinkish mass, and jelly shim'ring sweet
Atop unfathm'd mystery of meat
Encased in tin your honesty is truest
Tin. Your meekness Christ-like seems to me,
Almighty grandeur clothed in lowly flesh
And somehow uncorrupted, sinless, fresh
Preservatives your immortality
And yet I know you aren't my Savior King,
Your sacrifice for me would be in vain,
Your unkosher carnation flesh too profane,
Your unclean parts can no atonement bring.
Your virtues can idolatry lead to
But I will worship Christ, and eat of you.
They say that SPAM saved Russia in World War II;
It kept the Red Army from falling apart.
The GIs in France, they were given SPAM, too.
No flamethrowers needed; they had burning farts.
To the besieged British SPAM brought quick relief.
(Although, by the end, they were longing for beef.)
Chinese and Egyptians, Italians and Slavs
All partook of pork and gelatinous globs.
The Maquis got SPAM, at first to their disdain,
But SPAM had uses that Hormel never planned.
It's true; as a food it was hopelessly bland
But put it on tracks, it could derail a train.
Marines on the beaches of Tarawa knew:
When out of grenades, throw some SPAM. That'll do!
The puzzle is indigestion to the mind:
How might we give a meaning to this treat,
A pinkish thing in fat that looks like slime
That dripped from maws of movie aliens? This meat
Has every dieter's craving sure to be
Only for a thing to kill the smell;
Reducers, take good note! And should one see
Morsels of tainted seafood made one ill,
Everybody knows that SPAM's the best,
Least costly purgative from nature's gifts.
Savants think of its essence and digress:
Proof, they say, that hell really exists.
All in all, what means this slew of evidence?
Mostly: if you touch it, soap and rinse.
If SPAM were morning, dawn would bring on screams;
The bright blue sun would frighten all with eyes.
If afternoon as well were Hormel's prize,
I think the can would start to open, streams
Of viscous goo descending. Yet it seems
This would not be, to most, a nice surprise.
Nor SPAMset, pink meat loosed from its tin guise,
Glowing in the west with greasy beams.
Could any time be SPAM and make us glad?
At midnight, when the soul can not find rest,
In the dim refrigerator glow,
That time is SPAM. Each late-night snack you've had,
Lacking all panache, all trace of zest--
They fed this time. There is no place to go.
Odysseus, riding the crest of the white-plumed waves,
Upon the banks of the new continent did descend.
Set booted foot upon the path, which to glory paves
The way. And yet, upon the wind his nostrils to offend
Did rise a perfume, richer than the hoards of Midas.
(And did not his hunger for earthly wealth exceed
The passion of pork's embrace by labial mass?)
But lo! The hero, nausea stifled, the scent did heed.
Many days and countless nights did last his quest,
Until his eyes, clouded from the odiferous
Swine, upon the distant azure tin did come to rest.
Among the snow-capped peaks and trees coniferous.
And never was such passion known to god or to man,
As the mariner engaging in the Joy of SPAM.
Encased in metal coffin and preserved
With myriad artificial chemicals
The pinkish flesh is saved and later served
In small, convenient, bite-sized particles.
But, oh!, the price at which this meal is bought!
A thousand screaming piglets trapped inside--
Suspended, gleaming, in an oily clot
Just waiting, waiting to be eaten fried.
The dark blue coffin, locked with metal key,
Can only hide the violence for so long,
And when it's opened, frightened eyes shall see
The slaughtered thousands in their greasy throng.
O meat! Thou thing, thou aspirant to ham!
With horror paralyzed we name thee SPAM!
As pink as was a pig, and yet more soft
and gentle than the swine's most coarse of hides.
I held the quiv'ring lump aloft
and gazed upon its beauty from all sides.
'Tis slimy like a slug--yet smooth as silk
As smooth as any fabric come to mind.
I would my mother'd fed me not her milk
but rather this of delicacies fine.
It radiates an air misunderstood--
that some perceive this foodstuff contraband
when really it embodies best in food.
Wait for economists to understand
it's got more worth than spice from far Siam.
You keep your gold and rubies--I'll choose SPAM.
What use could then befit such bricklike meat?
Its malleable texture is no chance.
For those of you who choose it not to eat
you'll find that there are many greater plans.
Could not its claylike texture fashion pots?
A sculptor's chisel, knife, or even spork
could free a shape before the artwork rots.
It stops your bottles when shaped like a cork.
Construction, then? A house made out of it?
Well-insulated, and with what a view!
Once settled in, you wouldn't mind a bit.
Or spin it into laces for a shoe.
Or thread to make a coat soft as a lamb!
Now aren't you glad we've got this resource--SPAM?
Oh foul and trait'rous villain Spam, thou art,
Whom once I held more dearly in esteem
Than life itself, and blessed each noble fart
That from my colon to the heav'ns didst beam.
To think, our sacred union now cut short
By dietary mandates from on high.
Oh weep not, South American export,
For were we not to part, I'd surely die!
Though gentle on my tongue and on my lips
Your residue bides sweet, and satiates,
Yet cellulite profoundly swells my hips,
And in my veins and bowels, canc'rous nitrates.
Alas! We part my love, but pray thee, mind:
When you speak of this (and you will), be kind!
Spiced ham! Pork product wonderful thou art!
Pork shoulder, ham, with salt and nitrate, thee.
Pink flesh within a can. No snout, no heart,
No offal are within thy pedigree.
Both Russia, England thou didst feed when meat
Familiar scarce became. Americans
Took hogs and butchered them and cooked with heat
Producing SPAM to nourish foreign lands.
Thy goodness is not measured by thy length
Or color. Yet to me thy worth is clear.
Consumed, thou, SPAM, becomes my joy and strength.
So why do others ridicule and jeer?
'Tis sacrilege to think this food not great!
For none but SPAM can so my hunger sate!
I'd like to eat a giant plate of SPAM,
With sev'ral friends at Eddie's Bar and Grill;
That Eddie makes some tasty "Not-Quite-Ham,"
Which I will eat until I've had my fill.
Some say that SPAM is used to torture men,
By feeding it to them until they die;
But when it's near I always have a yen
For hearty portions of a good SPAM pie.
Not everyone can like the stuff like me;
Not everyone can eat it every day.
And so I think they'll never really see
That eating it makes life so much more gay.
If you've tried SPAM you know this must be right:
Who e'er loved SPAM, that loved not at first bite?
Thy porcine pink doth taste of MSG,
and lie upon my plate exuding juice.
O wond'rous world that brings such treats to me,
I'm thankful that it's pink and not bright puce.
From the can you were untimely ripped,
and sliced and grilled and served to me for lunch.
The hand of hunger on my stomach gripped,
I found I liked it! Yes indeed, a bunch!
O marvelous pop-top can of square design,
ooze forth thy meaty goodness, yea, forthwith.
Fill my stomach growling, soothe my mind,
mum mumble wif ma mouf full, ids suth blith.
From up in Minnesota Hormel ships
the finest treat to pass o'er human lips.
Though internetters make its sound a shame,
Sing Spamallelujah! Praise unto your name!
I would your spirit were a single mass
Of undivided uniformity
Pink as the rash of roses on the grass
Whose nectars call the self-involving bee.
And, true, when I first knew you, something like
A flush ran through you--and a sudden hue
Bowed, glowing, like the shadow of a pike
Beneath thick waters. All seemed one, and true.
But now I see you have a soul of SPAM;
Those waters are a jelly, long-lathed down
In which the pike drowns, fin-in-hoof with ham.
And your pink flush--a chemical-made gown--
Tints what is grey, by rights--and your tin warms
In far blue, body pressed into the Forms.
What is this odd meat?
Is it torso, snout, or feet?
It's SPAM, I tell you, SPAM.
I've heard it's almost ham.
SPAM is very spiced.
I've eaten it more than twice.
SPAM is extremely good when sliced;
It's even better when it's diced.
SPAM, O SPAM,
I highly respect you.
If you take my SPAM,
The day I will rue.
Maybe it is something from my shoes.
SPAM is a trademark of Hormel Foods.
There is a dim upon your once-bright eye
As though my leaning to you fogged a pane--
By what? You whose bright looking found no bane
Before, who took all in, and would not die,
Falter, and fold on fold of strange fumes ply
Between us. Loved one, let this clotted stain
Not swaddle love. Loved one, loved heart, explain!
Explain, and I will leave you happily.
"There is a difference now upon your breath
And when you lean to me, you reek of death
Made jolly, in a pocketable bunch.
My sight--my sight is fogged with hearts untold
Wreathed in your speaking--many--and long cold...
Old love, why did you eat that SPAM at lunch?"
What is that meat sitting up on the shelf?
This canned meal has brought Hormel Foods great wealth.
So good I can eat the whole can myself,
Brilliant fluorescent pink and full of stealth.
It tastes so good in such a tiny can
It should be in its very own food group.
I know I must be their number one fan,
Eat it in sandwiches, raw or in soup.
The can sparkles like a bright morning star,
Found in Aisle Four, creamed corn just next door.
Small and compact and it fits in your car,
Take just one bite and you'll want plenty more.
This great meat we speak of cannot be lamb,
Smushed into that tiny can, of course, it's SPAM!
I languished in a supermarket aisle
Rubber thongs upon my bunioned feet
When to my careworn face there crept a smile,
As I beheld my favorite processed meat.
No longer did the locked wheel of my cart
Nor lack of Seagram's Seven Crown dismay
And lo, I felt despondency depart
As on those tins, fluorescent light did play.
The frying pan upon my hot plate's glow
Would lend its sizzling fragrance to the air
And I would watch the Jerry Springer Show
And know at last some respite from despair.
For prone to melancholy though I am,
Happiness, to me thy name is SPAM.
The death of summer, that hot oppressive thing,
Left nothing for me to do or say
To make fresh food (like I had in spring)
When broccoli and peas took hunger away.
Now cold, the wind will take my joys
And slow, no lunch meat, passing endless nights.
Echoes of frying fat my mind destroys
As beef and cheddar's semblance fade from sight.
Against all odds I wait for its return,
But never will pot roast come, although I wait.
The pork I ate, and didn't eat, will burn
While stomach acid makes proteins separate.
Batter my soul and end these dreams of ham,
Deliver to me a vacuum-sealed can of SPAM!
Devouring SPAM does blunt kids' appetites;
I try to force this pink junk on my brood.
They pluck it from their teeth with great delight,
And tell me they are just not in the mood.
I try to inspire love for Hormel's meats;
Faced with starvation, they'll chow down in time.
"SPAM is Brit'ny Spears' most favorite eats!"
I tell them as they out their chairs do climb.
"O carve not SPAM for us," my children bleat,
"Nor fry this food we can't identify."
"Four centuries from now, still fresh will be that meat,
The wrath of Time will Hormel's cans defy."
If things had gone all wrong for Y2K,
My children would be craving SPAM today.
What hath this shape that stands before me now?
Not rectangle, sphere, nor is it a cone.
You are piggish, although not like a cow,
Resting inside of your blue metal home.
Your fragrence cannot be moved from the air
And I know not who would do such a thing.
What a shame for you to be trapped in there.
Shall I pull on your silver metal ring?
Oh, you are of the highest quality.
It is true I have tried all of the brands,
And shelf life does not let you turn faulty.
You can be taken to faraway lands.
People all over should forsake their ham,
And only eat the wonderful canned SPAM!
At dusk my craving wings do fly to heights
Above what hands could struggling reach from bed
Or foot or toe would clumsily fast shed
(If kicks could reach so high) from crevice tight,
The treasure often seen in dreams, when night
Has given what high shelves keep close as wed,
Tightly crammed, held fast, so none are fed,
Those midnight glowing cans of blue so bright.
But rise? Not I from weedy stupor. Nay.
Unused thus far in my brief stay, from hand
This broom shall find by aim and God its way,
Unchecked to cupboard still with dust, as spear
To hidden corner flies, its thrust knocks near
This food, my mortal fantasy, dear SPAM.
O! SPAM! thou art so spammish and true,
You come packaged so neat, and clean,
The nutrition facts are well hidden: You are not lean.
You are famous for that tin, that chariot of blue.
But once the sterile seal is broken, all is now pink.
Pink meat, pink goo, and all of it is unclean, blemished.
Reminded of the creater of SPAM, that horrible chemist.
We are forced to take a cautious nibble, so as not to be a fink.
O! the delight! the delicious satin of the meat!
All hard feelings are abandoned as we enjoy the taste!
O! Hormel! your meat gives us such pleasure!
Let us all open our own personal chariots and eat!
We use our suave plastic forks to mash it to a paste,
And we thank the good Lord for providing such treasure!
O SPAM, thy four letters are contrived
To mock my late evenings
Alone among the canned meat items of aisle five!
Thy porcine countenance and frock as blue as daylight leaving,
As distant and coy as the moon,
Shine down a cold and captivating gloom.
Dare I forsake thee for the ambitious
Boasts, the abject preening
Of another's insistent petitions?
None is as mysterious, as joyfully demeaning.
O SPAM if you could only smile,
Purchase me and cart me away from this dungeon of dirt-encrusted, rutted tile!
How much would I love to see
That meal your imagination would envision as a feast for thou and me.
Oh SPAM! A metaphor for the masses,
As the pork product pressed into a can,
Restriction will not make the people wan,
No room to grow for the lower classes.
Squashed pork, like the urban lad and lasses
Shapes not itself but is shaped in a plan
For the convenience of the ruling clan.
The plebians cry out injustices!
And then the proletariats will rise.
The can opener will release the SPAM
And like the people, spam is free to roam
And for repression it is the demise
For the restrained are no longer crammed
The gelatinous pink calls freedom home.
On Eating SPAM for Christmas
When unimpressed with turkey and mince pies,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And curse fat Santa with ungrateful cries,
And look on tasteless gifts from folks I hate,
Wishing I had the riches I have not,
Futures like him, like him of funds possess'd,
Desiring this man's wife, and that man's yacht,
With what I most enjoy presented least:
Yet in these thoughts the season most despising,
Haply I dine on SPAM,--and then my state
(Like to some butterfly of hope arising
From misty dusk) sings carols at God's gate;
For on sweet SPAM I dine with such trimmings
That I relish Christmas joy's o'erbrimmings.
"Let me not to the contents of thy can"
Let me not to the contents of thy can
Add any condiments. SPAM is not SPAM
When altered by unbalanced minds,
Or flaked when the remover doth remove:
O no; it is the ever-fixed pork,
Uncooked, ungarnished, and by Time undinted;
It is like gold to every plundering fork,
Whose worth's unknown, although its price be printed.
SPAM's not uncool, though rosy-hued and cheap
And from it oily trickles constant come;
SPAM alters not, doth neither wake nor sleep,
Its worth cries out though it be deaf and dumb.
If this be error, and such claims a sham,
Ne'er have I writ, and ne'er man ate of SPAM.
On His SPAMlessness
When I consider how my SPAM is spent
Ere half my time in this lunch hour's gone by,
And thirty minutes left I sit and cry
Longingly SPAMless, though my soul be bent
To be served with more, "Waitress," I relent
With gloomy frown, when she returns apace,
"Do you accept Mastercard in this place?"
I fondly ask. But Waitress, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "We hath not need
Of anything except hard cash. Who fails
To tender such, we serve him not. I'll state
It plain. Yet thousands to our diner speed.
For though all cards of plastic we reject,
We also serve the only SPAM in state."
On A Collapsed SPAM Display at Food Lion
Avenge, O Lord, thy fallen SPAMs, that now
Lie scattered in the aisle of Food Lion cold;
Even them whose sell-by date was not yet old,
Whose fall leaves us to dine on bird and cow,
Forget not: in thy book record this chow
That was thy SPAM, that from its tin tower bold
Beside the bloody Birdseye Peas, has rolled
Tumbling instant from the stocks, and how
The store resounded with the clangs that left
Them dented. Their punctured metal armor goes
To trash. And dallying in this store bereft,
My triple coupons do I clutch and moan
Such wonderful SPAM, now thrown away,
And checkout counter bathe with tears of woe.
On First Looking into Hormel's SPAM
Much have I eaten out of silver cans,
And many goodly meals and soups consumed;
Downed tasty treats from many pots and pans
And breads and jams and condiments perfumed.
But of food less expensive I'd been told
That one proud Hormel tinned for wartime ration
Yet did I never taste this porcine dream
Till my can ope'ner raised its lid, Behold!
Then felt I like some lawyer on the rise
When fast-food client stings with coffee burn;
Or like stout Clinton, who with evil eyes,
Ogling specifics of his new intern
Smiled to himself at a wild surmise
Silent, with just a peek, in Washington.
Bright SPAM, would I were wholesome as thou prove--
Set in pink splendor, squeezed within thy can
And waiting, with th'infernal lid removed,
Like Jack K's patient, sleepless in a van,
While sullen waiters at their priestlike task
Of distribution tread cheap café floors.
And gazing on thy new soft oily face
Of SPAM, for which I'll hunger evermore,
Thou yet still wholesome, scarce perishable,
Pillow'd within thy ever sparkling metal,
I wish for ever thy soft porcine smell,
To whiff for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, SPAM to sniff with tender-taken breath,
With SPAM life ever and without SPAM, death.
When I Have Fears
When I have fears that I may cease to eat
Before my fork has glean'd all processed ham,
While yet high-piled shelves in groceries,
Hold like rich garners the full unopen'd SPAM;
When I behold, upon some billboard bright,
Huge cloudy symbols of thou, pink entrée,
And think that I may never live to bite
Thy tasty substance at the end of day;
And when, fair Helen of the luncheon hour,
I fear I'll never dine upon thee more,
No more pour relish on thy porcine power
Of undigested stodge;--then on the floor
Of the Food World I fetal lie, and bleat
Till management removes me to the street.
I went for dinner at a cheap cafe
And got: Two vast and tasteless chunks of SPAM
Plonked in a salad . . . Near them, croutons lay
Half sunk, a carrot frigid peered, and down,
Beneath it smears of coleslaw cold and gray,
Told the preparer worked for minimum wage
But to survive, swamped by green wilting things.
His hands had cut them, that my greed be fed:
Yet on the menu still these words appeared:
"Please try our Caesar Salad, King of Kings"
Look on these words, ye diners, and despair!
I cannot hide my pain. In my dismay
I clutch on my receipt, soundless and stare.
I moan and sadly hand them back the tray.
Despised flesh! Pink sweaty Jell-O sheen;
Unnatural condensation, dewy bead
Of porcine adipose. But no hogs feed
On such as makes this meat not fat nor lean.
It can't be pork: what other cut is seen
To be so red when yet it does not bleed?
No chicken, this, not beef, not veal indeed!
I eat: two gristled bites, a trance between--
The horror in Hormela, the bright machine
Dispensing, unattended, can by can,
The applicants are hired, though weak and feeble.
--Another salty forkful, vision flees.
But memory nags: A screaming, frantic man;
"Soylent Green is made of people!"
Out there, we've walked quite coolly to the can;
Sat down and eaten of it, cool and bland,
Slurped from the spilling pull-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the thick pink odor of its ham--
Our eyes wept, but our hunger didn't budge.
It spat at us while frying and it coughed
Mucus. We chorused as its smells aloft
Did waver, and the lumps congealed in sludge.
Oh, SPAM was never enemy of ours!
We nibbled him, we gobbled him, old chum.
No gourmand's paid to kick against his powers.
We laughed, knowing that better food would come,
And greater cans: when each proud eater scoffs
He wars on SPAM--for life; not tins--for toffs.
SPAM is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods Corporation for luncheon meat. The Haiku Archive Master and the contributors to this website have no legal, commercial or financial involvement with Hormel Foods. Neither the information presented here, nor the manner in which it has been presented, has been sanctioned by Hormel Foods.