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COMMISSIONED POEM: When the Sommelier Farts

Commission Todd to write a poem for you, and prepare for a few surprises. When Chris Causey asked Todd to mark the 50th birthday of his irreverent, iconoclastic friend Paul Mahon—wine connoisseur, Latin Club alumnus, and notorious prankster—Todd conducted seven interviews with those who knew Paul best, and concluded that a hearty blend of wine, wisdom, and potty humor might pair well.

When the Sommelier Farts

he lifts his nose and blurts:

“I’m getting dried berry…

flint… mocha notes…

hints of honeydew melon,

and oak…” and it’s no joke;

he actually is.

Our arts

are louder than our hearts—

we wear them like

iconoclasts wear clothes.

The florist’s may be rose,

but the same world passes

through the sommelier’s

rosé-colored glasses. Your

basic mud and grasses

are, in the right snuffle,

truffle. Some people

don’t see people, but only

people-shaped graces.

How they do it


knows. Some arts are bigger,

bolder, more fruit-forward

than others, that’s just

how it goes. De gustibus

non est disputandum,*

which is to say:


farts the sommelier,

it’s just another big bouquet.

And who would have it

any other way?

Red, white, inbetween

Read, write, guillotine

Slicing off the heads of caps

Wrong words, ideas and gaps

Liquid licks flow through perhaps

I think, I drink, a little more

Wine and words flow through the pour

Alea iacta** wrest

Poems by Todd Boss are best.

 Paul Mahon

"When the Sommelier Farts" was printed in a limited letterpress edition and circulated at a 50th birthday celebration at which both wine and words flowed freely. The poem was written while in residence at Write On, Door County, thanks to Jerod Santek.

Todd's practice of writing poems on commission has inspired a podcast called There's a Poem in That, in which he helps total strangers discover the poetry in their most intimate stories.

Paul is such a bon vivant that learning about him from his friends and family was a true inspiration. Commissions are fun, because the people involved become very special to me, even if I never meet them. For this project, when at last I hit upon the idea of a sommelier farting, I knew I was onto something. I could just smell it.

This project helped inspire my podcast, There's a Poem in That, in which I help total strangers discover the poetry in their most intimate stories.

* De gustibus non est diputandum is a Latin maxim meaning roughly: "There's no accounting for taste."

** Alea iacta est roughly translates: "Game on."

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