Monday, February 24, 2014

Issue 4: A Return

Three and a half years is a long time. You certainly don't want to leave food lying around for that long. But poetry? That never goes bad. So, although it's been awhile, this new issue of food-related poetry is supremely fresh and delicious.

This issue contains work from the following writers:

David Allen Sullivan
Carol Smallwood
Rev. Daniel Klawitter
Arvey Kane

Thanks for reading. We're glad to be back.

Heidi Kenyon, Editor
Bellingham, Washington
February 24, 2014


Angel Mikaeel (Michael), the Provider   

I am crow. My beak

berates the branch above you.

It is my hunger  

you’ve been attempting

to fill, but I’ll never eat

what you humans touch,

only bitter seeds

that shatter at my beak’s will.

Let me come to you

and lie in your hand.

Cover my head and jerk back.

Then pluck, fry my flesh,

and eat. Feather thin,

I’ll scratch the back of your throat

until it opens,

turns pain into song.

All the doors you’re braced against

will fly their hinges.

—David Allen Sullivan News Photo 080301-F-5677R-015

Third Person Shooter

The forward gunner
            patrolling Mosul whispers:
                                    Just video games.

Ferguson squints sweat,
            sees a woman in hijab,
                                    possible target,

balancing two bags,
            one in each hand, woven nets
                                    too tight to see through.
Her eyes glance his way.
            Should he be suspicious or
                                    honored by her smile?

She turns, but he feels
            her eyes on his as if he
                                    were the one on trial.

All night they burrow
            into him—wants her to be
                                    the lewd prostitute

he picks up playing
            Grand Theft Auto—but she’s not
                                    playing any games.

He thinks he wants to
            eliminate ragheads, make
                                    up for what was lost

to nine-eleven’s planes.
            Volunteers next night patrol
                                    to see where she walks.

Of course she’s not there,
            she’d seen too many like him.
                                    He’s doing time in
country, rounding out
            a single tour of duty
                                    on route to college;

she is making do
            in a neighborhood torn up           
                                    and wired, but still home.

He sees a photo
            on the net while looking up
                                    the rippling effects

of occupation.
            A woman stands tall, gripping
                                    the cattle guardrail

on a transport truck
            bound for a refugee camp.
                                    He swears it’s her face.
Tapes it to his bunk.
            It isn’t just erotic,
                                    a deeper calling.

The bags she carried
            might have been filled with onions
                                    for mujadarra,

not the IED
            overplayed training videos
                                    had him conjuring.

He sees her slice them
            on a counter, revealing

                                    a green tear in each.

—David Allen Sullivan

Kanan Majeed, Lawyer

Clouds heavy as blood-
soaked sponges clot the night sky
above Fallujah.

They hide the bombers
that drill like blind mosquitoes
above this caf├ę.

The tea in my cup
quakes, spoon I stirred sugar with
rattles against glass.

I no longer join
the patrons in the basement
they call a shelter.

I no longer care
where the bombs are falling. Some
would say it’s despair,

but it’s something pure
that singes air I fall through
as I come to meet

myself in the flesh,
bow before my reflection

in the quavering glass.

—David Allen Sullivan

David Allen Sullivan’s first book, Strong-Armed Angels, was published by Hummingbird Press, and three of its poems were read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Every Seed of the Pomegranate, a multi-voiced manuscript about the war in Iraq, was published by Tebot Bach. A book of translation from the Arabic of Iraqi Adnan Al-Sayegh, Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet was published in 2013, and Black Ice, about his father’s dementia and death, is forthcoming. He teaches at Cabrillo College, where he edits the Porter Gulch Review with his students, and lives in Santa Cruz with his love, the historian Cherie Barkey, and their two children, Jules and Mina Barivan. He was awarded a Fulbright, and is teaching in China 2013-2014. His poems and books can be found here

Christian Rohlfs Zwei Schlangenk├╝rbisse 1910

A Southwest Salad

has sprinkles of light and dark beans, plain and speckled corn,
thin chips, shredded cheese in two shades, lettuce light and dark green,
a lime slice to squeeze (not stir) camouflaged forlorn
granting fingers a fragrance evocative of distant tropic isle scenes.

Thin chips, shredded cheese in two shades; lettuce light green, dark green;
the lime slice of dark green skin guarding pulp, juice, seeds
granting fingers a fragrance evocative of distant tropic isle scenes
so you leave McDonald's having filled winter needs.

The lime slice of dark green skin with pulp, juice, seeds:
a prize varying in size but even a sliver provides scent
so you leave McDonald's having filled winter needs:
visiting the Southwest and tropic isles when it snows is time well spent.

A prize varying in size but even a sliver provides scent--
a lime slice to squeeze (not stir) camouflaged forlorn.
Visiting the Southwest and tropic isles when it snows is time well spent
with sprinkles of light and dark beans, plain and speckled corn.

--Carol Smallwood
This poem appeared in Scrivener Creative Review, 2012.

Carol Smallwood co-edited (Molly Peacock, foreword) Women on Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets  McFarland, 2012;  Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity and Other Realms was nominated for the Pushcart. Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, 2012.

Lunch At Corafaye's

(A soul food restaurant in Denver, Colorado).

The tongue is tied to recollection,
as thick as the good gravy
and as secretive as the collection
of recipes handed down like Scripture
from matriarch to daughter
in her family's ancestral tree.

Believe me when I tell you
it's food that can make you cry.
This delicious genealogy
of fried okra; sweet potato pie.

Every taste is true: from the black-eyed
peas to the candied yams,
the catfish and the "recession special"
Spam sandwiches.
It's just like I remember
in my grandmother's kitchen:

from the wood-paneled walls
to the sound of fried chicken
splattering in the pan.

If love can be measured
by food for the soul,
then we have been expanded
by a love so large
some may call it gluttony,
but I prefer abundance.
A feast with the fixings
free of charge. 

—Rev. Daniel Klawitter 
This poem originally appeared in Front Porch Newspaper.

Rev. Daniel Klawitter is ordained in the United Methodist Church and is a member of the Poetry Society of Colorado.  His poems have appeared widely in literary journals both online and in print, including: Blue Collar Review, The People's Tribune, Penwood Review, Sacramental Life, and Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.  

Still Life of a Roast Chicken, a Ham and Olives on Pewter Plates with a Bread Roll, an Orange, Wineglasses and a Rose on a Wooden Table

At My Table

At my table
are empty plates
hungry for a feast.
Goblets thirst
to be filled
from dark bottles,
pardoned from tomb,
uncorked, and longing
to release inhibition.
Conversation simmers,
heated with opinions
and sometimes fact.
Aroma wafts from fire
and flames flicker
atop waxen sticks.
Linen tucked in lap,
dinner is served.

—Arvey Kane

Arvey Kane is a native of Huntsville, Alabama, where he currently resides. Experienced as a technical writer, he has turned his passion for the written word towards creative writing.  He has been published in the on-line journal “In My Bed Magazine” and has had several poems published as well.

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