Friday, June 25, 2010

poem: Acerbity hot murphy

Strange provenance for this one. Friend X is in China with daughter Y; sends a picture of a Chinese menu; amidst menu items, translated into English, there is an item called "acerbity hot murphy." Right between scrambled eggs with ham and season fresh vegetable dish. X throws a little contest our way: best guess at what "acerbity hot murphy" is. I email back that, for one, it is the title of my next poem (how could it not be?), but in reality (so I surmise), acerbity hot murphy is a "saucy courtesan in Irish tweed."

(Teresa, I will get the image to you for proper translation.)

Acerbity hot murphy

in her sassy tweed,

essaying the jonesier joints,

cadillac bars, all

hunky dory callico bliss:

central topics fill

the limelight,

the glut of terra luna

washing down the ways -

bitter, sweet, garish

splendor tumbling,

bookmarking the last

frozen dime

of pleasure's singlemost

dream. castaways

on the fallen line,

one menu you

can't resist:



calculating in Qatar's


Celsius heat;

this were the one

who once,

who will,

who fashions,

who envisions

paso doble,



Blogger San said...

I believe you've got the recipe down.

12:03 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San: Needs habaneros.

12:10 PM  
Blogger anno said...

mmmmm.... delicious!

12:58 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

It's got the habaneros and a whole lot of vinegar and nuts but no balls.

1:25 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: Beware the after-taste.

Teresa: Ouch!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Okay. It's 辣椒土豆絲, which literally means hot pepper potato strips. I guess the "murphy" is part of the Irish connection for potatoes. I assume acerbity means it has something sour in the mix. The word for potato here also means peanut in other regional dialects; hence, my first comment that it has nuts but no balls. I think I know what it is, too. They cut the raw potatoes into shoestring strips, then they use whole red hot peppers (the really, really spicy ones), then they add a garlic, lemon, and hot pepper paste. Stir-fry till the potatoes are soft. The garlic is in large chunks in the paste. They sometimes also add a seasoning called "sour powder" to make it even more mouth puckering. It is an acquired taste. Our Chinese restaurant kids sometimes make this dish.

1:53 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

What an awesome sleuth you are, Sister T. Thanks for decoding the murphy part for us. I could sense the acerbity (kind of like my "Albanian," when I use Google Translate) and the hot, but the murphy - that's genius!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Well, the "acerbity" is technically NOT in the Chinese, but I expect they wanted unsuspecting English speakers to beware because that kind of hot and sour phenomenon does not always go over well. Some people do sour, but not hot; others will eat hot, but not sour. It makes me wonder if there is an Irish shoestring potato dish called a "murphy." I do think you got close with the courtesan in tweeds, although I'm thinking it has more kick and is more down-to-earth than a courtesan; perhaps a fiery-tempered washerwoman.

3:17 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: I dig the washerwoman. She the one.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

No, it came to me in a flash of lightning: it's "riverdance to an erhu". Now how do you put that into poetry?

3:58 PM  
Blogger jsd said...

A saucy dish indeed :)

7:47 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

jsd: Irish TexMex Chinese at its finest!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

the Italian Bistro in Clarksville has a dish called Pasta Murphy - sausage, mushrooms in a pink sauce with jalapeno peppers - how funny is that? Can we throw some Italian in the mix LOL? I always thought it was the owners nod to Tex Mex.

Love the sassy tweed, cadillac bars. caramelized once, will, fashions and envisions. Irish washerwomen dancing and Chinese erhu players in a remix of Fantasia.
Hope this comment doesn't post multiple times - having some issues with the puter..

7:19 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: Sounds like the Hot Murphys are more ubiquitous than I would have ever imagined. Ó Murchús of the world, unite!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

deartháir o

10:37 AM  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

Ah, that's a funny story and I love how you get inspired by that. And it's (again) making me a bit hungry. :)

6:03 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

I'd say it's time for you to go get you some of them murphies, DM!

8:46 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

it might be a bit spicy for me...
sounds just right for you!

3:16 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie: I think the acerbity and hot can be scaled down for Montanans; the murphies remain constant.

9:01 AM  

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