Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Food porn

I just discovered PlateIt Magazine and am in love. Digital subscriptions are free.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Garlic, camaraderie, and loneliness.

Poet Mark Mitchell plays with kitchen tools and words in the following four poems, moving from a lighthearted look at the awkward garlic press to an a quiet investigation of how cooking keeps loneliness at bay.

My favorite lines here are those of the first stanza of "After the Guests." The image of abandoned carrot sticks and celery troughs like skeletal aircraft in the quagmire of leftover dip is fresh and amusing. Thanks for sharing your work, Mark.

"Garlic press and garlic." Lee Kindness, 2005.
Creative Commons License. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Cleaning a Garlic Press

A blind and legless insect
Glints dull gray         
Under the flow of water.
A green toothbrush
Breaks its bristles
Against heavy mesh
Pushing bits
Of pulp into the sink.

This small monster
Dries and drains against
My wine glass.
I sniff my fingers:
They stink
Of a good meal
And soap.

 Mark J. Mitchell

Artist unknown; 14th century. Public Domain.
Via Wikimedia Commons.


Today is composed of odors:
Garlic is roasting while coffee brews,
Green peppers and sharp red onions
Stinging tears to his eyes.
Piece by piece, with oregano,
With oil, tomatoes, it will
Become a sauce (except the coffee,
That’s the cook’s humble reward,
The thing he tastes today),
Tomorrow it will swell to a meal.
Today smells just fine.

Mark J. Mitchell

After the Guests

Crudities left like airplanes
Crashed in dip canyons.

Scattered squads of bottles
Guard the crumpled plates.

Music comes to an abrupt stop.

There are coasters, chips
And peanut shells in unlikely places.

The host and birthday girl
Eye the full sink, thinking,

 “It was a marvelous party.”

 Mark J. Mitchell
"After the Guests" first appeared in Graze.

Home Alone

Cooking for one
Has a purity. Like science
Tested in an afterhours lab:
If the experiment works
There’s time to tell the world;
If it fails,
No one needs to know.

Cooking for one
Is an exercise in logistics,
Keeping the dishes
To a minimum,
Re-using each spoon and pan.

Cooking for one
Is the practice of optimism,
A ritual meant to chase
Loneliness away.
It’s a game we play
While waiting
For someone to come home.

Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock, and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last 35 years, as well as in the anthologies Good Poems, American Places; Hunger Enough; and Line Drives. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the film maker Joan Juster. Currently he's seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Swallowing love & similies

Holly Day's poem "The First Step" grabbed me with the first line, but what I really love about it is the idea of eating the written word, understanding the meaning of marriage by swallowing it. Lovely.

In Changming Yuan's poem "Fish," both the sound and concept of the phrase "swallowing similies" perfectly reflect what we're doing here at Eat Your Words.

Many thanks to both poets!

The First Step

I take the piece of paper, put it
in my mouth, feel the word "love" dissolve in my saliva, in my blood
and now I understand marriage.

The individual letters drift like little stones
throughout my body, break up like tiny meteors, turn to sand
sink to my feet and

keep me here.

Holly Day

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is a recent recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and German. Her novel, The Trouble With Clare" is due out from Hydra Publications in 2013.

"Here," Heidi Kenyon, 2014


If you could, would you become a fish
That can swim, freely in the water, but without
Being able to touch the horizon?  —I don’t know

If you could, would you become a whale
The king of the ocean, the ocean of words
For instance, the most powerful?  —How powerful?

You wait for all other words to feed you
Like planktons, or swallow other fishes like similes
Metaphors, because you are big. —Yes, very big

If you could, would you become a blue whale
Whose calls and songs can reach afar, far
Beyond a civilization? —Who can hear me then?

Changming Yuan

"Jonah and the Whale," Pieter Lastman, 1621
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Textured with
Presented in the shape of
All female tenderness

As smooth as sleek
As fantasy, where, and whereby

man go

Changming Yuan

Changming Yuan, seven-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China but currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. With a PhD in English, Yuan has most recently been interviewed by World Poetry (CFRO100.5FM), and had poetry appear in Best Canadian PoetryBestNewPoemsOnlineLondon MagazineThreepenny Review, and 800 other literary journals/anthologies across 28 countries.

"Still Life with Mangoes," Paul Gauguin, 1896
Public Domain, courtesy The Athenaeum.

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

Defense.gov 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 café.

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 Schlangenkürbisse 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.