Category Archives: poems about food

Feast and Famine

 

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                     Feast and Famine

 

More is less,
I have heard.
I take another bite of chocolate,
starting more of me.
I keep getting fatter,
tasting delicious
love in my cheeks,
on my tongue.

It nibbles at my teeth.
My dental bills send my dentist to Singapore.
I floss more between my teeth.
I don’t listen
when other people discuss their diets.

It is painful
filling cavities with food.
It gets hard to sit in theaters,
my stomach pressing against my chest.
People ask if I am pregnant.
I say yes.
I am giving birth to more of me.

Meanwhile, I’m a good listener.
People eat my ears up,
take big chunks of them.
I can grow more.
Right now,
this third croissant
is going to my ear.
The next will grow me
more tongue, bigger lips.
When you notice and inquire,
I’m going to tell you stories
that will wind around your skinny waist
like snakes or punk belts,
coil over coil.

This mouth has blistered
in the sun of Africa
in countries now starving.
Well, they were even starving then.
And children sat very close
and learned the words I pointed to.
In the market,
women taught the words
that my mouth needed
to buy their goods.
This is what I bought
in Bati market
on those three hills
where the desert caravans
would wind,
where the high black breasts jutted,
where the scarred faces sought beauty.

In the red dryness,
I bought a silver beaded marriage necklace for myself.
An old woman offered it.
I thought she had done with it, it was such a bargain.
Years later, looking through my photographs,
I saw my necklace on the neck of a young girl––
her bride price purchased for ten dollars.
I never wear it.
It is so beautiful
and I
am growing larger
to feel more ashamed.


I bought also:

lemons, string and wooden beads,
embroidered strips to make a belt of,
Lalibela crosses out of brass,
Shawls as thin as gauze,
a bride dress to be packed away,
camel dung chips for my fire.

On the dead television
in the other room,
some nights they show worlds
that are not strange to me.

Things haven’t changed that much,
 though fewer die now than back then.
I’m not insensitive. I send money
I send money
I send money
but it’s never enough.
What I want to send back
is the necklace.

Too late. That young girl is dead,
buried in a woman forty years older.
I eat for her grandchildren.
I imagine their bellies
swelling with the food I eat for them.
I can hardly ever eat enough.

 

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Picture taken at Bati Market, Ethiopia, 1973

 

For the dVerse Poets challengeto write about some hidden part of ourselves–something we would ordinarily not talk about.

Old Lovers

 

Old Lovers

We meet in the kitchen,
your face slightly blue
in the light from the refrigerator.
Left-over shepherd’s pie in one hand,
a half-gallon of Costco vanilla ice cream in the other,
you seem suspended in a middle land
between repletion and guilt.

Being here for the same purpose,
I offer absolution,
and we talk about the future,
sitting with forks and spoons aloft,
eating from the same bowl and carton.
It is part of our sensuality,
this culinary communication at 2 a.m.

Wishing to go deeper,
we seek out chocolate
in that place
where you have hidden it
for years––on top of the refrigerator.
Knowing all your secrets,
I am the one who retrieves it this time.

This is what might happen
if we were not divided by miles,
you in your country,
me in mine. As it is,
you feast on ribs from Dexter Barbecue,
I eat the ice cream with a single spoon—
these mid-night fantasies
reality enough for old lovers
building new communions.

 

 

 

Prompt words today are talk, middle, sensual, future and kitchen.

Debatable Edibles at the Pot Luck Dinner

 

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Debatable Edibles at the Pot Luck Dinner

That dip indeed looks most delicious—
one of many lovely dishes
spread out here upon the table.
I’d eat them all if I were able,
yet, I admit I am suspicious
of this and several other dishes.

I fear that they may harbor fishes—
foodstuffs far outside my wishes
of consumable provender;
for fish of any size or gender,
no matter how incredible,
I’ve always found inedible.

Tuna, marlin, salmon, cod
are flavors that I find most odd.
Clams and lobster, oysters, shrimp—
brand me as a seafood wimp.
Anything with gill or fin
I do not choose to put within.

No horseradish or mayonnaise
can shield me from the pure malaise
that befalls me when I bite into
a canape I’ll later rue.
You cannot hide that fishy flavor
to turn it to a taste I’ll savor.

Many others  have met defeat
when trying to get me to eat
anything from sea or lake.
It’s a mistake I just won’t make.
So keep your ceviche and dips.
I’ll make do with potato chips.

The prompt today is suspicious.

It is also appropriate for Smorgasbord, which is the June 13, 2018, prompt for Ragtag Daily Prompt today.

Less Spice is Nice

 

Once I liked my dishes spicy,
but lately it is getting dicey.
As time progresses, I find it’s not
advisable to dine on “hot.”

Somehow, my tastes have seemed to tame.
It’s all those extra years I blame,
that turn me once more into child.
Please, make my taco extra mild!

 

Rerun. Lots to do today!The prompt today is mild

Feeding Love: Haute Cuisine

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Haute Cuisine

It seemed a meager portion for such a pricey place––
three peas, a single escargot. Potatoes? not a trace.
They’d spilled some brown stuff on the plate and dabbed a bit of green.
No wonder other diners all looked so very lean.

Two bites and the first course was gone, the plates all whisked away,
replaced by a sparse salad little more than mounds of hay.
A tiny slivered mass of yellow with seeds sprinkled over,
a spray of oil, some flower petals and a sprig of clover.

I looked my first date in the eye to see what he might think.
As he lifted a forkful, he gave a little wink.
We consumed their tiny lamb chops, complete with ruffled cuff
and scarfed the spoonful of dessert that wasn’t near enough.

He paid the bill, retrieved our coats and walked me to his car.
“I have another treat for you,” he said. “It isn’t far.”
He pulled up to McDonalds and ordered two big macs,
large French fries and two sodas and handed me the sacks.

Afterwards, at Dairy Queen, we sealed this new romance
with Butterfinger Blizzards and then a smoldering glance.
I accepted the next course with lips and arms most eager.
And what he served me next, my dear, was anything but meager.

I do not like posh restaurants with their nouvelle cuisine.
I find their foam and slivers and seeds and piles obscene.
Their single little vegetables hung on tiny racks?
I prefer larger portions and calories served in sacks!

And that is how we bonded, your Uncle Joe and I,
over Colonel Sanders, Taco Bell and carryout Thai.
Others may impress their dates with pricey gourmet suppers,
but my true love seduced with feasts of fast food filler-uppers!

The prompt today was meager.

One-Way (Ice Cream Manifesto)

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Ice Cream Manifesto

It’s just a little kiosk in the middle of the street
between two one-way roadways, in the center where they meet.
There aren’t any tables. There isn’t any chair.
You have to stand out in the street to give your order there.

Mango or tequila, tamarind or corn.
As you can see, the flavors don’t agree with any norm.
They’ve ice cream made of purest cream , but they have ices, too,
in so many flavors that I always choose a few.

My favorite? Strawberry ice. Vanilla under it.
I get a cone so I don’t have to wait to plunder it.
I finish it as I drive home, licking all the way.
I give my dogs the empty cone. It always makes their day.

The cone is hard as any bone–sweet and chewy, too.
If I were a better mother, I’d arrange that they had two.
But though I know I’d enjoy two passing o’er my lips,
Later I would not enjoy their presence on my hips.

I love that little ice cream stand. Love it all to heck,
with its lovely homemade ice cream made in Jocotepec.
That pueblo is quite close to me. It’s just five miles or so.
So it isn’t that it is so very far for me to go.

The thing is that for me, ice cream is an impulse buy.
It’s not a major purchase, like a cake or like a pie.
If I just happen to be passing and see that fellow there
waving his ice cream scoops at me, right out in the air,

preordination says that I must stop and have one now–
a bite of crispy wafer cone, adorned with ice of cow.
I do not claim responsibility for decisions of this kind.
It’s a creative impulse, not a matter of the mind.

So if you’re a public servant–an official of this town
looking for new laws to pass, don’t tear this kiosk down.
Fill some potholes in the street or put a speed bump in.
For legislating ice cream bans is sure to be a sin!

 

 

This is an edit of a poem from two years ago. Still at my writer’s retreat with little time to do prompts in the morning and since WordPress messed up and gave an extra prompt on the 26th, I’m just doing prompts in sequence a day behind..hard to explain, but gives me a chance to get the prompt done the night before.Nov 28/29 Daily Post Prompt, One Way.

Stirring the Pot

 

Stirring the Pot

Chunks and grains swirl round and round. They form a muddy mass.
I keep my paddle churning them as I turn on the gas.
As all the chunks and  bits melt down, the volume now decreases.
I watch the whole mess carefully. My vigilance increases.
I see it all congealing—an oily inky sludge
that after lengthy stirring finally turns to fudge!
This horrid, bubbling, lumpy goo that appeared so pernicious,
in the end turns into something creamy, rich, delicious.

 

In a recent conversation with a friend who is a scientist, water expert and inspector of water systems and industrial water waste, I learned the interesting fact that there is some hope regarding environmental issues, even in the wake of the Trump administration’s ridiculous easing of standards. He assured me that they’ve had little influence on the industrial systems he inspects as the large companies, first of all, are set up to conform to stricter standards and the restructuring of the system would be so costly that they are not about to alter things to meet new laws that will probably be changed back again anyway and which even they see the dangers of.

Hopefully, one thing that we will learn as a result of this ongoing disaster and embarrassment is that we need to alter the powers of the president, especially regarding his appointment of lifetime judges and his ability to administratively change standards that should be determined by congress or popular vote.  The other changes that must be made are in the electoral college and lobbying rules. Perhaps the only good that will come out of this POTUS “calling trump” on us is that it will stir the pot and bring about much-needed  change. The rules of our democracy did not take into account the possibility of the election of such an ignorant, childish and corrupt leader as Trump has proven to be.

 

The prompt word today is sludge.