Saturday, August 1, 2009

Inaugural Issue: August 1, 2009

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Eat Your Words: A Journal of Food Literature. It's our goal to provide a satisfying combination of food and literature.

This first issue is heavy on the poetry, but we'll be seeing more prose—both fiction and nonfiction—in the future.

In this issue:

Pat Tompkins
Pearl Pirie
Steve Klepetar
Leslie Greenwood
Marjolaine Hébert
Lucille Gang Shulklapper
Michael J. Farrand

Our visual artist for this issue is Patianne Stevenson, who paints food and also creates food sculpture out of recycled cardboard. Her gallery is available to view at, and her pieces are available for purchase at Please visit Patianne online and check out her other work!

Photos in this issue are taken by Eat Your Words' editor, Heidi Kenyon.

Enjoy this delicious repast!

Kitchen Massacre

She guillotines tender young okra,
chops onions and cooks them until they wilt,
heats tomatoes, the better to skin them.

She plunges ears of corn into boiling water,
cores a head of pale green cabbage,
all for a simple summer dinner.

She's a vegetarian, the ethical
nonviolent kind.

—Pat Tompkins

This poem appeared in T-Zero.

at the kitchen sink
I split the pomegranate
juicy red popcorn:
a well-named fruit rich in myth
and antioxidants

—Pat Tompkins

This tanka appeared in red lights.

Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area (aka Food Central). Her poems and fiction have appeared in
Mslexia, Bellevue Literary Review, bottle rockets, Astropoetica, and other publications.

after a week of chocolate withdrawal

curious, standing three-quarter turned from him
backlit in a sunshine space, his hand cupped a shape
a sickle thwacked the passion fruit that dream dubbed
cocoa pod, cracked the shell as a lobster mantle,
plasma welled, he called it wound juice, tipped it
drank it sap sweet, licked his lip, offered it to my
shaken head,

he broke into the fruit, pulled the halves, scooped
the pulpy black meat with a metal paddle, worked it
back and forth on a soapstone slab, sunlight from
sudden clerestory, room rough-hewn limestone large
the sibilant slaps works out the 3 layers of the bean,

one thick as lotus paste, a humus blackness, he laid
a dab on the end of the paddle, offered me, at a pinch
my hairline tingled, at tongue complexity of flowers,
smoke, bitter grainy undernote, behind it, slow release
so tender my frame tightened in fear of it, recaptured
too much of my own breath, felt a dizziness compel exit

I stayed, still his slap and from the compound
the thickest was all worked out, slid to one side
mounds of coffee black, almost dry cocoaed clay
while from the smoothening brown separated the
last of slow of warm golden honey run, nose humming

tactile energy field topaz growing towards his
swelling mist of burnt umber wrinkled sweat
where the two heats met between our sides
I dipped a cautious finger to the stone, watching
his face gave permission of slow eye crease smile,
the honey-whey of viscous cocoa rolled my head,

stoically refused to eye the caramel cream of melting
mid density, still he swayed his glinting blade working
loose more of the last two grades and I could feel
the ceiling of the room rise, an aria of skylights.

—Pearl Pirie

Pearl Pirie writes from Ottawa, Canada in various blogs including Humanyms, Pesbo, and for the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter. Her last chapbook was oath in the boathouse (above/ground press 2008) and her next chapbook is due out this fall from AngelHouse Press.

Revenge is a Dish

¼ cup harm
2 tsp hurt
1 tbsp finely chopped wrong
dash injury to taste
½ cup grated satisfaction
(may substitute retaliation if sharper flavor desired)
1lb lean, boneless retribution, trimmed
2 cups low fat chastisement
6 medium curses
½ cup oaths
1 large malediction, peeled, seeded and quartered.

In a large lead mixing bowl, combine harm, hurt, wrong, and grated satisfaction. Sprinkle with a dash of injury. Mix with wooden spoon, riding crop, or bludgeon until well blended. Mixture should be smooth and blood red. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Cube retribution and stir fry over medium heat until pink in the middle, about 2 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

Stir in chastisement. Add curses one by one, stirring rapidly, until a thin glaze appears, about 3 minutes. Stir in oaths. Bring mixture to boil and let simmer 35 minutes or until retribution is tender. Let cool to room temperature.

Remove harm-satisfaction mixture from refrigerator and gradually add to retribution. Make sure all the cubes are completely covered. Add quartered malediction to each of the cardinal points. This is best done at full moon, but any midnight will suffice.

Invite exactly the right guest (s). Salt to taste. Chill and serve cold.

—Steve Klepetar

Rub This Poem With Garlic

And roast slowly on a spit.
Collect the juices in a small, shallow pan.
Let them swell and deepen like an artificial lake.

If you stand alone, sip cool water, let your visions
rise and braid in summer thick air:

a golden dragon with an emerald eye, forests
trembling in a black fist
of storm,
palominos slow and lazy on a meadow
bright with clover and Queen Anne’s Lace.

Baste with a long-handled brush.
Make easy, sweeping strokes, as if your body
were the pigment, your fine hands a blazing spirit’s
skin. Breathe the darkening smoke,
let your dolphin eyes swell and burn with tears.

—Steve Klepetar

This poem appeared in Words on Paper.

Steve Klepetar teaches literature and writing at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he eats lots of hot dish to keep warm in winter. He is a four time Pushcart Prize nominee.


Green glistens from misted leaves crisp
Among aisles of summertime produce.
Squash a pale butter yellow beside
The waxen sheen of green zucchini, carrots
A smart complement to snappy celery.

Purple plums and ruby cherries demand
Royal prices for their season, and corn
Is not much cheaper by the dozen.
Bananas stacked like baseball gloves
Palm empty cups near tiers
Of oranges arrayed on bleachers. Lemons
Bright as buttercups conjure pitchers
Of porch lemonade without the pucker.

Summer grins in wide-mouthed
Watermelon, blushes from fuzzed cheeks
Of peaches, refreshes in cool sherbet melons.
Tiny and blue, they can be easily overlooked.
Once we hung coffee cans from string
Around our necks, freeing both hands to work.
Mosquitoes circled and raised scarlet welts,
But we slapped and persisted, until our lips
Were stained a satisfied deep blue.

—Leslie Greenwood

Leslie Greenwood has a B.S. degree in Pharmacy and maintains her connection to the arts through theater and writing. She has published freelance articles and completed a children's chapter book. Online, she is published at The Green Tricycle.

My passion's fruit

I pick the one ripe avocado
nearly black in a sea of grassy greens

I squeeze, salivate this timely promise,
the taste of fruit and nut as
smooth as butter on my tongue

I will serve it on a bed of green leaves
dappled with kumquat, sliced blackberries,
black peppercorns, crushed

I will baptize it in balsamic vinegar
and feast on the small true pleasure
that life affords me today.

—Marjolaine Hébert

Marjolaine Hébert is a writer, poet, narrator and literacy advocate. She fills her creative well in the rich prairie land she calls home (Winnipeg, MB). Marjolaine chooses to share her creative process by using the Internet as her workspace for pieces in progress. You can follow her works at

Rice Soup: Kitchen Credo of the Little Cook

In the 1940s, when I was ten,
mother tied a faded apron
over my school dress. In her hands
a box of rice contained the contents
of my life. Kernels rattled like truth
in fairytales from the cardboard box
into the Pyrex measuring cup.
One cup of rice cooks to three or four cups.

Two quarts of water tapped
from the faucet, first measured, then poured
into the dented, aluminum pot
mother scrubbed with Brillo
until it shone,
the way her face used to glow.
Too much water: soggy, gummy rice,
Too little, dry.

My stubby fingers pushed
in the knob on the gas burner, held it,
turned it until the blue flame rose.
The water came to a rolling boil,
all bubbly and steamy,
the way my mother used to be.
Drop the washed rice into the boiling water.

We watched the clock, leaning
on the pink formica counter, edged
in stainless steel, playing our favorite word game:
Ghost, while I thought about my father,
resting upstairs, after his heart attack,
the real ghost, not the game.
Boil rapidly fifteen to twenty minutes.

Mother stooped, then lifted her double-boiler
from the wooden shelf in the white-painted cabinet.
When the water boiled, I set the rice over it.
We covered it with the striped dishtowel
I used to dry when mother washed.
Set over boiling water until fluffy.

We filled a soup bowl with the rice,
added warmed milk, a tablespoon of sugar,
a dash of cinnamon. I carried it
on a tray to my father, while mother
stayed downstairs. I watched him eat
every morsel. He asked for a little more.
I understood what he wanted.
Always measure, carefully.
Season to taste and serve immediately.

—Lucille Gang Shulklapper

This poem appeared in
Peninsula Pulse.

A Workshop Leader for The Florida Center for the Book and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Lucille Gang Shulklapper writes fiction and poetry. Her work appears in many publications, as well as in four poetry chapbooks: What You Cannot Have; The Substance of Sunlight; Godd, It’s Not Hollywood; and In The Tunnel.

English Three Fruit Marmalade

English three fruit marmalade
Lazy teatimes in sunny Somerset
Though memories of childhood may fade
These one can never forget.

—Michael J. Farrand

Michael J. Farrand has never actually tasted English three-fruit marmalade, but as a poet he could not pass up writing about it. He's the author of the "international farce" Heaven and Hell which turns on the wonders of British cuisine. More of his poems on food can be found at

Thank you for reading. We encourage you to return in a few weeks for another serving!


  1. Congratulations, Eat Your Words! It's a lovely journal & I'm proud to be part of it:-)

  2. Lovely, unique, and inspiring! I am so looking forward to the next post. And, I am so delighted to be included!