Barbecues, mainly. And this is part of it. Calling the dogs in, all limbs and sinew, the vermicular homebound patterns they weave in the scorch of the grass. The glint of the grill in the sun’s fire ellipse, its entirety as it bends toward hyphenate unyielding horizon. I like to soak the mesquite chips for at least half an hour. Then there’s the marinade for the brisket, or the dry rub, the laying on of hands. A replication of primeval violence. In your fingertips the harm of generations, the wish to make right, the failure to cleanse and absturge. Raw matter. Chile ancho, dried chipotles, paprika and salt, pulverized plant and rock, the sad spice and crumble of the earth’s red crust. I put the beef in a plastic bag for two hours before my guests come.
The meat is all talk. It murmurs and sibilates. We stand and watch the conflagration of charcoal. The flame maze, the char, the sauce and slaw. In the glowing embers of the mesquite, the old dead wood, you see the incipient sting of godlessness. The smokehouse and the smoke and the burn in your eyes with which to fever it."