Posts Tagged ‘Food and Religion’

Dining Out All Over The World

In Comfort Food, cooking poetry, Dining Out, dining poetry, food magazine, food photos, Food Poetry, John Ronan on March 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm


‘Coffee Club R’, food and libations- this photo was taken while our managing editor was traveling in Asia, Geonju, Korea


Extinction’s Menu

Not to drink but drown, not just any brandy,
but Armagnac, the ortolan finds itself mid-ritual
even a bird-brain would know enough not to choose.

The millet and darkness it did not mind so much,
with all the cues confused, need reveals itself
as possessive, desirous, a lover feeling the feed of fill.

And then you, illegal feaster, hidden behind your napkin,
so that not the slightest sweet corrupt wisp may escape,
so God cannot see your keen-focused, gluttonous sin.

Or because there’s mess in an ounce of crunchy death,
a whole bird in your mouth, you cat with a canary,
your mouth a mine of decadence that would argue

tradition if it were not so extraordinarily full with magic,
sizzled sweet fat, essence of hazelnuts, snap
of roasted bones, the sense you’ve cheated death by being it.

Controlled Designation of Origin

Delight that food is an atlas of our days.
This meal, that spot, such perfections.
Position is nine-tenths of the law – ask
the French, clinging tight to cognac
and champagne, the rest of the world
left with but brandy, simply sparkling wine.
And the Italians, every region with its hams,
Prosciutto di Parma, San Daniele, Modena,
distinctions fine as a charcuterie slice. Still
they shout “Here!” in a language we taste
with our tongues, travel easy as a swallow,
mapping the world morsel by morsel.

George Yatchisin has had poems in numerous publications including Alimentum, Antioch Review, Boston Review, and Quarterly West. He writes about food, wine, and cocktails for The Santa Barbara Independent, Edible Santa Barbara, and the KCET Food Blog.



Sandy says a centurion worked
this farm, fundus, booty-bought
after Actium. And Michelangelo
when the Buonarroti’s owned it.
Sandy, and the two boys no longer
boys, our friends Mitch and Kate.
The chianti grown and aged on site
by Signor Buondonno, whose vines
climb the darkening hill, hedged
by fence from Bacchus-minded boars.
Mitchel says, ‘in veritas, wine.’
Lightning! By Jove, or Jupiter!
Big bocce of Tuscan thunder!
The farmhouse terrace, thatched
over, opens on groves of holly,
olive and cypress, wind-worried
shapes in the rain. We’re dry
for the time being. A cuckoo counts
to some impossible o’clock.

;first appeared in Notre Dame Review in 2002

John Ronan is a poet, playwright, movie producer, and journalist. He has received national honors for his poetry and was named a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for 1999-2000.




‘Beer & Pizza’ by Jonas Winfrey: Jonas is a part-time photography who enjoys food on his travels. This is his first actual publication acceptance.


The Dinner Party

Blum walks to the kitchen, away from the wine and pot. A ghost glides alongside him. He sets the guests’ bowls in the sink and notes the success of his lentil soup. Brian is telling the table about his mother’s stroke. Blum runs the faucet, which drowns out the talk. Blum’s mom died last spring from an aneurysm. A lull at the table signals time for the shrimp. Blum returns. He sees a grim scene. Brian’s head is hanging. Upon his plate, blood droplets begin to pool. The guests appear paralyzed. A slight movement at Blum’s side, the ghost of Joyce Blum enters bearing a platter of skewered shrimp. Blum divides the shrimp. For Brian’s sake he did not serve meat tonight.

Mysticism and Meat

Ideally, you are devoured in your prime by medicine men and not as junk-meat for the communal pot. With the breakdown of tissue, the cells issue a mortal cry. Around the Cook’s Bible chimes a chorus of sous chefs. The page emits a campfire glow from which a cannibal emerges. What’s missing? Pretty soon, your arms and legs—seared and smoked until dripping from bone. In the aftermath of prayer, when chords rise from the planet, you make the rounds of the soothsayer’s intestine.

The Hungry Python

All of life the python seeks to know. He slips through the flea-market with a clinging stomach, catching in his glittery eye items from the old world: sheet-music, tunic, ice-cream scoop, top hat. To touch these with quiet flicks of the tongue. At the sound of thunder, the merchants start to pack, placing wares hurriedly in boxes and covering these with plastic sheets.

Matthew Kirshman lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two daughters. He is a English teacher, and writing since the early 1980s, my publication credits include: *Altpoetics*, *Charter Oak Poets*, *Dirigible: Journal of Language Arts*, *Futures Trading*, *Helix*, *Indefinite Space*, *Key Satch(el)*, *Mad Hatters’ Review*, *Phoebe: The George Mason Review*,*posthumous papers* (NothingNew Press), *Vangarde Magazine*, *Xenarts*, *The Wayfarer*, *Wilderness House Literary Review*, and *Z-Composition*.



The night before he died he craved
for ice cream on a stick. He swore
he heard the bells outside, the truck
across the street—Could I sneak out
and buy a round for all of us? His treat!

There was no truck across the street,
no crisp bells crackling, but
the canteen in the basement did have
two dusty old machines
dispensing pops and cones and cups.

I filled the slots with coins.
At fifty cents a shot,
those two machines unleashed
more vital pain relief that night
than the steady drip of morphine
clouding father’s final scene.

“Ah, the loot,” he beamed, and drew
a shallow breath, and then another—
“I toast to the bitter and the sweet!”
He tore the wrapper off his treat
before he lost his breath completely:

I watched him eat—I watched him eat
like a kid on the sneak before dinner,
that night, as death took a brief back seat
to a chocolate-covered ice cream bar on a stick.

(This poem first appeared in a Canadian Medical Journal)


Tonight the baker holds
his lover between firm hands,
feels the heat from the day’s baking
rising back up through his finger tips.

Dennis J Bernstein is author, most recently, of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom, which received the 2012 Literary Achievement Award from Artist Embassy International. His poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, Chimaera, Bat City Review, The Progressive, Texas Observer, ZYZZYVA, Red River Review, etc. Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, writes that Special Ed “…is art turned to us through the eyes of love.” Carol Smaldino says in The Huffington Post that the poems remind us how “…we are all connected to the sorrows as well as to the grandness of being human…”Bernstein taught writing and reading literacy in various prisons in New York City and New York State, for the CCNY/John Jay College and Mercy College.



‘Cup Runneth Over’ by Louie Clay (né Louie Crew): Clay’s photography has appeared in Annapuma Magazine,, The Living Church, Meadowland Review, Munyori Literary Journal, Rose Red Review, South Florida Arts Review, Souvenir: A Journal, Subliminal Interiors and The Taj Mahal Review. Editors have published 2,303 of his essays, poems and photographs. He is an emeritus professor at Rutgers.


Bread & Butter

green enameled stove burns bright
the rocker, moves back & forth nearby
through the lace curtain sunlight

my grandmother sits, bird’s eyes
twinkling, hands darn socks,
butter bread & make apple pie

she tells a tale of sister red fox
I listen and lick the butter
off fingers & bread, a music box

and mantle clock stutter
when she pauses, the fox is near
her fingers, socks & thread aflutter

I wait in companionable silence.

Short Breakfast Couplet

If you were a thin slice of bread,
And I were your soft comfy bed,

I’d let you toss your crusts & crumbs,
You’d be croutons when the time comes.

If you were slathered with jelly
or jam. And if I, your white bell —

I’d let your sticky fingers dance,
You’d be my marmalade romance.

If you were a brown slice of toast,
And I were your Kitchen Aid host,

I’d let your Danish Pastry cook,
You’d be my mouthful, my dear snook.

If you were a round Johnny cake,
And I were your frosted cornflake.

I’d let you backstroke in the milk,
You’d be my swimming pool of silk.

If you were my cup of sweet tea,
And I were a silver cat flea,

I’d let you scratch that itch all night,
You’d be my dear sweetness and light.

If you were the carmel toffee,
And I were a cup of coffee,

I’d let you melt in my hot cup,
You’d deliquesce so, giving up.

DiTa Ondek is an artist and poet & has been published in the “Goose River
Anthology”, “Jump Lines,” The Loft Anthology-“Lay Bare the Canvas” and upcoming anthology “The Taste of Ink.” Her poetic aesthetic is whimsical yet controlled. DiTa is currently working on a series of cupcake paintings that reflect her poetic whimsy and prismatic view of nature.


7 - Breakfast

‘Indian Breakfast’ by Braja Sorensen

is originally from Australia, but has spent most of her adult life living and working in India, London, the United States, and New Zealand. She now lives in the village of Mayapur, on the banks of the Ganges in West Bengal. Her poetry has won awards and has been published in Great Britain and Australia. She writes for several publications internationally, but is still waiting for Vogue to see the light and give her a damned column. Lost & Found in India is her first mainstream publication.



His Mediterranean ego with its full head of black hair
May reign behind the counter
While the balding skull of the proprietor in paunch and pity
Furtively smokes English Ovals in the dirty kitchen.
Tony’s Parmesan Palace spoiled several months ago
But not before his cousin Vito and brother Marco blooded unpaid family hours
Ragging the walls to that texture and tone
And painted a mural of the pines of Rome
Worthy of an Etruscan tomb,
Unpaid except for a glass or two of Chianti and the birthing of a grudge
Destined to ferment for the next ten years of birthday parties and funerals.
Tony put a few lira into the kitchen
Yet even with his tasty chicken cacciatore and pesto
The sheriff took the cannelloni
Left him with the tax warrants.
His told you so wife Gina after waiting tables and mopping floors and suffering the marinara stains from the red and white checked table cloths
Did not enjoy so much of his pasta and biscotti
That she could not
Drink a glass of Lacryma Christi farewell and leave him for Guido.
The dot (not feather) Indian who owns the building with all the improvements
Was almost able to turn key to the Greek with hardly a lost day’s rent.
Three months after the grand opening
The first dollar autographed by all the cousins
And parishioners at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church still hangs on the wall
His stained apron hides from the plumber
For no matter how good the gyros or bitter the retsina
Or full the figure of his surly teenager daughter’s waitressing
He is on the wrong side of the arterial.

Tyson West lives and writes in Eastern Washington State in the foot hills to the Bitterroot Mountains.  He has published Haiku, free verse and form verse in various on line and print periodicals and anthologies as well as  horror and steampunk fiction. His collection of poetry Home-Canned Forbidden Fruit is available from Gribble Press.


Boiled Pizza

Boiled pizza? That’s outrageous
Double boiled even worse
Better hope it’s not contagious
Good thing that my wife’s a nurse

Boiled pizza has no virtue
Boiled pizza has no vice
That’s absurd because a virtue
is providing food for mice

Maybe it could use some chicken,
pepperoni, cheddar cheese
Bet you that your pulse would quicken
if you added stir-fried fleas

Never eat it’s my position
Here I stand no ifs or buts
More than just an imposition
I don’t think I have the guts

Just the concept makes me queasy
Boiled pizza? Yucky poo!
Who must eat it? That’s so easy
My unbiased choice is you

Martin Cohen is a retired computer programmer who loves dancing (favorites are West Coast Swing, Waltz, Foxtrot, and Salsa), writing (but not revising) poems, and solving math problems. He has other works published in Danse Macabre du Jour, Bleeding Ink Anthology; Penduline Press, Napalm and Novocain, High Coupe, and “Recession Depression and Economic Reflection”.

(Click on above photographs to enlarge and enjoy)

Next issue of Annapurna is our first print anthology, Clarify. Deadline is now closed and was posted open call since October 2013. We will open up submission again in October 2014 for our 2015 issue. See ‘Submission guidelines’ for our June theme.


December 17th, Cold Food Moon

In Comfort Food, cooking poetry, dining poetry, food magazine, food photos, Food Poetry, french toast, fried eggs on December 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

2 - Cook

‘Cook in India’

Braja Sorensen is originally from Australia, but has spent most of her adult life living and working in India, London, the United States, and New Zealand. She now lives in the village of Mayapur, on the banks of the Ganges in West Bengal. Her poetry has won awards and has been published in Great Britain and Australia. She writes for several publications internationally, but is still waiting for Vogue to see the light and give her a damned column. Lost & Found in India is her first mainstream publication. (her photos- ‘Cook In India’, above, and ‘Annapurna’, below)



birthday cake icing aunt passes over tongue

Hema Ravi has had a stint in the Central Government, India- then as a school teacher. Currently, she freelances as English Language Trainer. Her write ups have won prizes in Femina, Khaleej Times (Dubai) and International Indian, Viewpoints been published in The Hindu’s Voice Your Views. Prize winner (Contest- August 2010) in, Prize Winner in Metverse Muse “Best Fixed Form Poets of the year 2011”. Has published in Metverse Muse, Poetry World, Contemporary Literary Review Online and Print Edition, The Poetic Bliss, Roots and Wings (An Anthology of Indian Women Writing in English), The Fancy Realm, The Enchanted World, Matruvani and Holistic Mediscan. She is among the top poets at, has posted verses in,,, Sketchbook, four and twenty poetry, a hundred gourds and more……. She is a member of the Chennai Poets Circle.


Chill Curing

Buckwheat Seed farming period planting period
Planting Cycle harvest Standards


Cold season growth planting yields
Wheat Rye, triticale, oats, barley spelt battlefields


Cooler Highlands
Erosion lands in optimal enchants.

Jennifer Warren, graduate of Brandeis University writes relating to environmental law and the ecosystem in the mountains of Pennsylvania.



‘Cup Runneth Over’

Louie Clay (né Louie Crew): Clay’s photography has appeared in Annapuma Magazine,, The Living Church, Meadowland Review, Munyori Literary Journal, Rose Red Review, South Florida Arts Review, Souvenir: A Journal, Subliminal Interiors and The Taj Mahal Review. Editors have published 2,303 of his essays, poems and photographs. He is an emeritus professor at Rutgers.


Weeping in Paradise

I give the sickness too much of a chance,
lost in lust, but moreso in lust’s ornaments.

It’s the culpa of the kalpa
that we are so fused by the guilt and history
scrawled on the proud bottles.

This feeble common ground—
a receded empire, a dying father,
a closed factory—makes some sense of me,

destroying my inside with liquor and cynicism,
while men and women, glowing slyly,
bed each other in the spring of the time.

I drink bourbon until I sweat. And as if
every fuck was already written in heaven,
I don’t move or look for a long time.

For a person with the real sickness,
winning and losing become immaterial.
Staying in the game is what counts.

Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including *The Last Bad Job*, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay *Refreshment – A Tragedy*, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poetry has appeared in more than ninety publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.


A Courtship of Recipes

She smiled demurely
and said she could seduce me
with her Blueberry Blintzes
stuffed with Ricotta,
and then she blushed.

I didn’t want to seem impetuous
and countered I could match that
with a Tuscan Bean Soup and Crusty Bread.

She went cold and offered a salad
of Pan Seared Scallops in Arugula,
with a Sesame Wine Vinaigrette
I could see there was no stopping
this culinary courtesan.

Not to be outdone, I came back big
with a Northern Chinese Orange Beef
stir-fried with mixed Spring Greens
Baby Bok Choy and a Sweet Red Chili Sauce.

I don’t know what was with her
but she went all oceanic on me
presented me with a filleted baked Salmon
on Risotto with Pesto Sauce embraced
by a miniature Fruits de Mer garnish
I could not believe this demon siren.

That was my limit. I went all out hot
with a Chicken Vindaloo and Marathi Aloo
all on a delicately saffronated Pilaf
of white Basmati with Almond shavings.
Two starches, sure, but extraordinary times
call for heroic cookery.

That stopped her.
But one day later she came back
and gave me a chocolate chip cookie
the best I ever tasted,
and not having the patience
of an of an ox or even a flea
I kissed her, actually kissed her.


Is there a god
of mushrooms and toadstools,
and small squirmy things?
Is there a separate one
for lucky ants that survive
under the recess of your sneaker tread
after you’ve stepped on them?
Is there really a special god
for young moon-eyed lovers,
and a separate one for the starry-eyed?
How about a separate one
for toiling accountants
poring into the late night
over books and records,
pining for a tropical vacation?
What about 34th St. & Herald Square,
a special one solely for that piece
of real estate?
Maybe there’s just one for parking
who smiles beneficently
and opens up a spot for your car
right when you’re about to go nuts.
Are there separate ones for each lottery?
Is there a college for gods
where they all go to become good
and great, and learned?
What about a god just for crisp seeded rolls?
If so, he’d be my favorite
and, hopefully, could also change
into a woman every other Thursday night,
gods being what they are.

Gene Goldfarb began writing a long time ago, gave most of it up to be a judge for over 30 years, and has returned to it. Recently, his poems have appeared in Cliterature, Empty Sink, andRiver & South Review.


044 copy


There’s a land just below the paradise,
Of intricate traits ; it’s sketch is imprecise.
A lady seated there in a state, tranquil,
Looks exquisite, and smiles at her will.
The goddess of the grain–Annapurna, is her name,
To apportion the grain, seems to be her aim.
She carries a bowl in one of her hands,
And with a ladle in the other, she traverses other lands.

But today, somewhat, melancholy she seems,
Upon her distress, she sadly deems.
“The ladle doesn’t pour into the mouths of who need,
The bowl is emptied by the tyrants who lead”,
thinks she, “So much into nature’s lap I lay,
But all they snatch, in a heinous way.
To favor themselves, they have rules unfair,’
Which stifle true needs, without any care”.

The nature she knows, produces all pure,
But what becomes of it, she isn’t sure.
“In greed, the grain, they adulterate,
Without compunction to earn great”
realizes she,”Oh Its so ailing to see,
This distress, with none to consider my plea.
The grain which sustains life each day,
Is now also responsible for taking it away.”

Empty handed, then , she wanders in a street,
Where the affluent enjoy, and the poor ones weep.
For this oppression , who is to blame?
Who’s responsible for these deeds of shame?
Somewhere, there are choices, difficult to make,
Somewhere, but agony, of how to take.
What is to be out into the child’s hand?
They’ve emptied the bowls in both the lands!

Gurdeep Singh Published a poem in a magazine entitled “Srijan”, which can be found at, complete link:, and usually has published in school and college magazines. More of Gurdeep’s work can be found at,
link to my profile :


Birthday Cake Catastrophe

Thembi, from Bulawayo, was

a truly dedicated young lady.

They called it diabolic and shocking.

A grisly birthday cake made of her detached leg.

The cake artist spent several hours crafting that cake,

the leg was credible, with red tattoos dotted on a bloody board.

A banner adorned on the base screamed: ‘This is a special happy birthday.’

The invitees came in droves but upon catching sight of the ghastly cake they quickly

disappeared. Not even her boyfriend or close relatives wanted to have anything to do with

that cake, let alone eat it. Some of her relatives disowned her yet others just condemned her. She felt
like an unwanted outcast and cried hysterically for hours on end without anyone coming to comfort her.

Ndaba Sibanda is a former National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) nominee, Ndaba’s **poems, essays and short stories have been published in Africa , the UK and the US. His latest anthology, **The Dead Must Be Sobbing **was published in March 2013. Ndaba`s debut novel, Timebomb has been accepted for publication in the UK. He currently lives in Saudia Arabia.

(Click on photo images to enlarge, thank you.)

The Blood Moon Has Risen

In cooking poetry, dining poetry, food magazine, food photos, Food Poetry on October 18, 2013 at 4:27 am


 Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul- Dorthy Day

One of the most dramatic sights in the night sky—and inspiration for poets, artists, and lovers for millennia—full moons captivate us like nothing else.


Sometimes the meal must be simple; fresh, local, and healthy; it is the plate that courts our palate, the colors please the mind, before we indulge in its offering. -Michael Baca, Annapurna Art Editor



Mary, I found the fruit jar of pesto
At the bottom of my freezer
Not forgotten but not thought of
From 20 years ago
When we crept naked
From our sweat soaked August bed
To pluck basil leaves to blend pesto
On a whim
Had the neighbors looked out
Under the full cougar moon
They would have admired your star striped body
Still firm sixteen years my senior
Small breasts sagging ever so slightly
Great shape for your early 60’s
You invigorated your sterile sheets
And the sparse rooms of your pristine castle
With my captive chaos.
Your sister tells me
Of your stroke
Words have abandoned you like old lovers
Not that you had many of either to begin with
But you still swim laps at the YWCA
As precisely as you diced the garlic and basil
While I grated the romano that hot summer night
Cheese and nuts are not supposed to freeze well
But bad news thaws
My memory to find this last momento amori
Of our dalliance.
If I wait until your funeral
To thaw this pesto and baptize my bitter rye flat bread
My children may be discarding it after my own.

Tyson West is a is a traditional western poet whose aesthetic continually shape shifts. He watches the Northwest with veiled and hooded lynx eyes, broods among the conifers and quarrels with Coyote. He has a degree in history, but writes a variety of poetry styles, and has written a series of poems around Spokane Garry who is our local magical Indian.


Seeing Naked

pizza in my box infuriates me,
especially when I know I ordered it
dressed in mushrooms and pepperoni. Pieces
of various food groups strategically placed
to balance my meal. Instead,
bland expanse of cheese stares back,
a boring plane of white. My teeth are
hesitant to bite.

With Killer

pickles hiding
behind every shadow, my heart
burns for a spear. To slice
or not to slice? Such a question
is too loaded for a single piece. The buns
in front of me are average
at best, sedentary, stuck in stale postures
of enticement. Open sesame! I chant
in my mind. Nothing
happens. I toss a dash of salt over
my shoulder for luck before I move

A.J. Huffman has published five solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her sixth solo chapbook will be published in October by Writing Knights Press. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest. Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.


Autumnal Equinox

She saunters in

Embracing acquaintances

With a snappy breeze

Tuning heads with blazing

Hair of falling fireworks

Vainly watching everyone drool

Over her caramelized skin,

Constantly swiveling

She-devil branches

Bearing her annual harvest

Of plump plum smooches

And cheeky apple blushes

All succumb to

Her tempting dinner

Of no remorse

As she tenderly

Prepares us for

A frosty future

Temporarily pilfered by

Her aloof nemesis

With the gelato eyes.

D. Janikowski-Krewel is a Midwestern writer of poetry and short fiction. She currently lives in the Milwaukee, WI area. Her work has appeared previously in Annapurna Magazine as well in Cowboy Poetry Press, Red Fez and Tuck Magazine. She can be found at “the lost beat” where she collaborates with her cousin and fiction writer, Tom Janikowski.

Cafe Bustelo

Today I acquired a canary-yellow can
Of what I have just learned is your coffee of choice.
Siempre fresco, puro y aromatico como ninguno
It informs me in white-on-red capital letters,
The version I can actually read on the opposite side
But somehow less compelling.
It’s designed for the espresso maker I don’t have
So I just scooped some into my no-frills drip coffeemaker
Immediately upon returning from the supermarket.
It’s so strong I had to dilute it with an unexpected level of milk
And, while I immediately appreciated the taste,
What I really adore is, naturally,
The way it makes transportation easier
To that perfect imaginary place
Where you and I are at the table late at night,
Drinking cup after cup from matching mugs
And having brilliant conversations
Until we are startled by the sun
breaking through the kitchen window.

Quinn Collard is a Smith College graduate living in Seattle. She has won NaNoWriMo five times, publishes three zines, and has library science ambitions. She loves typewriters, her cat, and They Might Be Giants. You can find her at


The Hunter

A winter’s tale, once told,
You said,
Had turned a heart and
Bleeding, searching,
Reaching for something
To ease the pain.
Were there only
Did you find the starry cold
Where brave Orion
Fought back the dawn?
Is it fair
To hunt
What you have tamed?
A question
People ask expecting
No answer. Answer no.
A falling star and
Orion is no more.

Brian Marshall divides his time between New Jersey and Merida, Mexico. He loves languages and the written word. Brian holds a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Spanish”.


The Last Autograph

I was on my way to the restroom in a 50’s-style diner, the chrome kind that looks like it’s about to spin off into outer space, the kind that makes “Marilyn Monroe” milkshakes and has a “Captain Kangaroo” kid’s menu, when I noticed a framed photocopy of a speeding ticket. The restaurant showcased wall-to-wall memorabilia: pictures of actors and actresses, ancient advertisements, calendars sporting classic cars, even a Buddy Holly vinyl. The ticket had been made out to James Dean, and below it was a caption that told how only a few hours after signing it he had rolled his Porsche while going around a sharp turn. That morning my stomach had been turning too, and I was out of my medication. Sitting in the stall, I compared my current situation to Elvis’ end, and managed a strained laugh when I realized that he had had the opposite problem with his prescription drugs. Above the sink there was a Cold War era black and white still of a mushroom cloud. I felt I could relate to that. I washed my hands and thought of Albert Einstein, the pacifist, and how he had signed the letter to President Roosevelt urging that the bomb be built. Back at my table I pictured James Dean on his reckless last ride, living. I thought of Buddy Holly and how he would’ve been bigger than The King. When the waitress came I ordered the “Atomic Chicken.” I told myself I could take it. Hell, I could take anything.

Derrick Paulson received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2011. His work has appeared in print and online in Canary, Disingenuous Twaddle, Orion Headless, 365 Tomorrows, The Gander Press Review, Lovechild, Red Weather, and elsewhere.


Calcutta Bites

The chubby, perfumed woman entered the restaurant and slid into the heavy wooden chair, sweeping her long, untied hair aside so she wouldn’t sit on it…

…the thick linen tablecloth, the shining glasses that sang crystal notes when tapped, the perfectly aligned cutlery: everything appeared to satisfy her. Her plump cheeks grew rounder as her red painted mouth squeezed itself into a smugly contented smile. The seams of her clothes squeezed and strained and bulged as she wiggled herself to comfort. Her kajal-lined eyes peered above black-framed specs and raked the room. Like a Bollywood movie set. She was the star in her own lunch hour. She could feel it…

Her friend arrived, towering above the table, big hands lifting the heavy chair too easily, the soft silk sari too delicate for the build, pale pink lipstick too pretty for the firm jaw, the haircut an over-zealous endeavor at femininity, the deep voice quietly alarming.

Long streams of Bengali flowed from them, interspersed with fragmented, random English, phrases not existing in their mother tongue. “Tara swami ye patha na bala ucita, this is only my opinion, na?” They waved oversized menus around as they spoke, their huge and obnoxious size lost on Pouty and She-man, who were huge and obnoxious in their own charming ways.

Plates of food arrived. Pouty picked at bones, pursed lips blowing at steaming rice, puffed air making hot clouds. Small round lips parted, small sharp teeth dragging at a long green chili. They both spat words and bones, parking the latter plate-side, unleashing the former between bites, most landing on the hapless waiter whose excessive and obsequious “yes, ma’ams” somehow deserved the slap.

Elegant drinks clashed with lusty mouths. Heavy gold bangles clashed with china. Cutlery clashed with teeth. War was declared.

Pouty & She-man ruled.


I sat and watched the core
of suffering humanity
feast upon life
ravishing each moment
like it were the last.

The whore illusion smiled back
the red slash of her mouth irresistible.
She gorged, but on the weakness of the willing
“Are you happy now?” she asked
indifferent to their bleating responses.

They sat back sated
wanting more
“No one is happy here,” she thought.

The relentless stuffing of the body
does not feed the soul…

Braja Sorensen is originally from Australia, but has spent most of her adult life living and working in India, London, the United States, and New Zealand. She now lives in the village of Mayapur, on the banks of the Ganges in West Bengal. Her poetry has won awards and has been published in Great Britain and Australia. She writes for several publications internationally, but is still waiting for Vogue to see the light and give her a damned column. Lost & Found in India is her first mainstream publication.


Dinner at Manresa

Our table awaited us, lit with droplets of phosphorescent seawater,
each napkin wrapped, tucked and tied with stems of Neolithic rye.

We began with a salad of sea vegetables harvested by unmarried mermen
and wedges of cheese from cows fed white flowers in moonlight.

A few hours later our waiter brought the voice of the west wind
caught in hinged bamboo boxes, then a bonsai forest sculpted from

iced asparagus, arranged in terrariums, and drizzled with dewberry sauce,
followed by dark brown breasts of Muscovy duck trimmed in silver feathers

and dappled with salted foam – our knives touched – too much?
My fork tapped the slope of a miniature mountain amended

with live mushrooms, nestled on a plate of scented grasses,
undulating in the warm breeze. For dessert, the view from 30,000 feet

rendered in clouds of meringue, and a small box to open later which
we held in our interlaced fingers like the promise we made all those years ago.

Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA. She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest. Her chapbook, Wild Place, was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press. Recent work appears in Up the Staircase, Bohemian Journal, Hotel Amerika, Passager, Rattle, Eclectica, Blood Lotus, Café Review, Comstock Review, and Lake Effect. She was nominated for a Pushcart in 2010. Erica is a columnist for Connotation Press. Please visit her website:

If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough – Meister Eckhart

In Food Poetry on November 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

Louie Crew, an emeritus professor at Rutgers. Editors have published 2,229 of his manuscripts. His photography has appeared in recent issues of Rose Red Review, Meadowland Review, and The Living Church.

Crew has edited special issues of College English and Margins. You can follow his work at

See also The University of Michigan collects Crew’s papers.



a pound of flounder fillets
little more than puffs of sea breeze

delicate sheets rolled in flour
and tossed into burning butter
in a no-stick pan

a second life for a fish
caught in a dragnet
mass murder at sea
frozen and filleted
and offered stripped on ice at the A&P

a second life as brief as a breeze
sizzles on the stove

flounder fillets sing
a cheerful funeral dirge
to the spatula
in a tiny sea of butter
a hot new forum in the pan
while I turn them over
driven by feeding frenzy

I am the lord of a shark-size hunger
in the hellish hereafter of my kitchen
a sea beyond the sea of nets and fishermen
a mythical sea even flounders know about
only from stories

Paul Sohar ended his higher education with a BA in philosophy and took a day job in a research lab while writing in every genre, publishing seven volumes of translations. Now a volume of his own poetry (“Homing Poems”) isavailable from Iniquity Press. Latest was a winner of the  2011 Wordrunner Press chapbook contest: “The Wayward Orchard” ( His prose works include “True Tales
of a Fictitious Spy”, creative nonfiction about the Stalinists Gulags in Hungary (Synergebooks, 2006). His magazine credits include *Agni, Gargoyle, Kenyon Review, Rattle,  Seneca Review, etc.*


Labor Day 2011
Pig Out At The Park

Already I pique
You two plotting to leave me and your mothers
For new clothes and pose of seventh grade tomorrow.
Labor Day scoots in its funny nose, orange wig and big shoes
To stumble out the end of summer.
As one Loon Lake Labor Day I rowed an old skiff
With Mary my sane old lover
Who held out crosses and garlic wreaths
To the prospect of children
Twenty years before you two appeared.
Our white wine intimacies
Watching the mallard rise and mergansers dip
Certain soon snows would twist in nascent arctic air.
Now at Riverfront Park
Grandpa and these gritters
Grease out this blackjack century with expensive mini doughnuts
Caustic sausage on a bun
Foot long corn dogs with tiresome mustards
Listening to local bands bang
Welcome to the harness of bells and rulers.

Tyson West is a is a traditional and western poet whose aesthetic continually shape shifts. He watches the Northwest with veiled and hooded lynx eyes, broods among the conifers and quarrels with Coyote. He has a degree in history, but writes a variety of poetry styles, and has written a series of poems around Spokane Garry who is our local magical Indian. One of Tyson’s Western poems was published in Spoke Magazine called “Floorshow”, which is based on a picture of a 1922 floorshow in the Davenport Hotel which photo you can find on line. You can also find his work at Cowboy Poetry Press, for western longing.



My son is practicing the tango to a vegetarian’s tune.
The problem is, his dancing partner is a crossbow
he wants to whisk to the woods, in search of game.
Red marker drawn all over his face signifies a kill,
and it doesn’t make sense.

His meatless objective is better spiritual awareness.
He hasn’t learned what our forefathers have known for millennia,
That the taking of life is a gift from the gods.
Not the many Greek or Hindu gods but the ones in all of us.
He hasn’t discovered how life takes life.

I remind him of the difference between bio and zoe:
the life of flesh versus spirit.
He is Hindu so I call upon the Vedas to prove my point —
as long as you treat the meat you eat with a shower of respect
you won’t be reborn a beast many times over.

My Hindu mother disagrees. Her yoga teaches something different.
Fair enough, respect has long arms. I still say
Until my son is an adult meat is what’s best for his body.
He agrees to go with a swine’s muscle, reminds me he’s Hindu.
Okay, I say, no cows allowed.

Joshua Gray is a native of Washington DC, I recently moved to the Western Ghats of India. He has been published in many journals, including *Poets and Artists, Front Range Review, The Iconoclast, The Eclectic Muse*, and *Chaffin Review*. My book *Beowulf: A Verse Adaptation With Young Readers In Mind* was published by Zouch Six Shilling Press in 2012, and one of my poems was recentlyfeatured in VerseDaily’s Web Weekly Feature. My Web site is



To the eye you look like
an inverted lotus, a pregnant purplish
on the branch, a vertical weight.
You dip the tree down with you,
pulling like a child who suddenly
tires of being carried. Behind you,
aigrettes of green fruit fan open,
lush but not nearly ready.

I unwrap you with
my bare hands, peeling deeper,
a black sap that offends my
palms emerging wherever
I have bruised you too much.

Flower of the fruit tree,
I know there are those who
cannot touch you without desire,
but I take you the way the cruel
take – thoughtless with each layer
ripped clean, slitting each revealed
comb of small buds quickly, taking
pleasure in the violence of preparation.
I butcher you without mercy,
browning you on my stove,

and when I take you into my mouth
I take not a ripened blossom, but a
desiccated bulb, shrunken, singed,

delicious in its diminution.

Sharanya Manivannan is the author of a book of poems, Witchcraft, and is completing a collection of stories, The High Priestess
Never Marries. She has received the Elle Fiction Award, the Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her
fiction, poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Hobart, Wasafiri, Cerise Press, Killing The Buddha, Superstition
Review, The Nervous Breakdown and elsewhere. She lives in Madras, India and can be found at



We went to a hole in the wall café; no tourists, but two dozen locals. This was my first time in New Orleans and my host promised  me some authentic food. We caught up on old times as we waited. When our food came my friend held up his hand to stop me from taking a bite. With his fork he took a generous mouthful. His eyes immediately glazed over and his hands began to shake. Tears splashed down his cheeks, and his nose began to run. He gasped several times; beads of sweat popped out on his nose He blew like a dragon breathing fire. He stayed that way for more than a minute; I was becoming quite concerned. He finally shook his head to clear his eyes, and he uttered, “Damn that gumbo is good.”

Mike Berger has a MFA and PhD in creative writing. I write poetry full time. He has only been writing for three years. I have had good success
publishing and have authored nine poetry chapbooks.


Making Whole Hive Mead

The hive was dying anyhow:

the queen laid only sterile eggs,

though scouts still scanned the fields

for purple beesbread,

almond trees in bloom.

The workers kept carving out

their perfect hexagons, marble-white

cathedrals  filled with golden light.

So veiled and suited, we first

boiled the water in a cast iron pot,

then caught the bees up in a smoky

stupor,  hive humming

like a chapel full of monks.

Too stunned to even swarm,

they kept their posts, fanning

the queen,  who barely stirred.

On our knees before the hive,

we paid her court, lifted out

the frames, emptying the hive,

honey, bees  and all,

into the pot, a catastrophe

of broken bodies, melting wax.

We kept on crushing corpses

with a spoon, until the cloudy brew

had cleared to amber, tasting

of summer fields, but with a sting.

We raised our cups like lords, and drank

to time and fermentation, bringing

everything at last to proper sweetness.

Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet 2012). She has published poetry in Poemeleon, Inlandia, Lummox, Philadelphia Stories, Northern Liberties Review, Qarrtsiluni, Floyd County Moonshine, and Caesura. She has published reviews in The Hollins Critic and Switchback. Her essays have appeared in two anthologies: Easy to Love but Hard to Raise (DRT Press, 2011) and Flashlight Memories (Silver Boomer Press, 2011). She is an Executive Editor at Spillage, a new journal of science and the arts.


Camp Coffee

When we fished the Pine River, Ed LeBlanc, Walter Ruszkowski, and I, for thirty-some years, coffee was the glue; the morning glue, the late evening glue, even though we’d often unearth our beer from a natural cooler in early evening, a foot down in damp earth. Coffee, camp coffee for your information, has a ritual. It is thick, it is dark, it is pot-boiled over a squaw-pine fire, it is strong, it is enough to wake the demon in you, to stoke the cheese and late-night pepperoni. First man up makes the fire, second man the coffee; but into that pot has to go fresh eggshells to hold the grounds down, give coffee a taste of history, a sense of place. That means at least one egg be cracked open for its shells, usually in the shadows and glimmers of false dawn. I suspect that’s where scrambled eggs originated, from some camp like ours, settlers rushing westerly, lumberjacks hungry, hobo’s lobbying for breakfast. So, coffee has made its way into poems, gatherings, memories, a time and thing not letting go, like old stories where the temporal voices have gone downhill and out of range, yet hang on for the mere asking.

Tom Sheehan served in 31st Regt., Korea, 1951-52 and graduated from Boston College in 1956. His books are Epic Cures, 2005, and Brief Cases, Short Spans, 2008, Press 53; A Collection of Friends and From the Quickening, 2009, Pocol Press. He has 19 Pushcart nominations, in Dzanc Best of the Web 2009, has 315 stories on Rope and Wire Magazine and work in a 5th issue of Rosebud Magazine, 5th issue of The Linnet’s Wings (Galway) and 8th  issue of Ocean Magazine, and other online sites, which include Nervous Breakdown, Faith-Hope-Fiction, Subtle Tea, Nontrue, Danse Macabre, Jake’s Locked-Room Anthology, Deep South Magazine, The Best of Sand Hill Review anthology, Wilderness House Literary Review, Dew on the Kudzu, Blue Lake Review, Eskimo Pie, Slice of Life, MGVersion2datura, 3 A.M. Magazine, Literary Orphans, Nazar Look, Stepping Stone and Qarrtsiluni, etc. His newest eBooks from Milspeak Publishers are Korean Echoes, 2011 and The Westering, 2012, the latter nominated for a National Book Award by the publisher.


And because these needed to be shared at our table…


Cranberry sauce—Thanksgiving Day

The tangy taste of shame and loss

Tart God ignores the grace I pray

Cranberry sauce

Dad’s knife cuts through the turkey’s gloss

Splayed out on mother’s silver tray

I am served with sharp words they toss

Reminding me of how I stray

From blessings of their double cross.

But still we laugh and savor gay

Cranberry sauce

Tyson West (see above)


I Will Come Bearing Mangoes

(first published in Rougarou, Fall 2011)

I will come bearing mangoes,

wearing the war-paint of a whore
and the anklets of a thief,

a sunburst, spilling nectar,

summer-kissed by the yellow
blossom that fell from a tree
and into my braid.

Sharpen your knife
and hold out your tongue,
for life is sweetest in small pieces

and I could feed it to you in the
white wicker-plaited shadows
of your sun-flooded veranda

while we drink to beauty
and wait for the fire flowers
of the year’s first rain.

Sharanya Manivannan (see above)

Submissions open for Spring 2013, 20 March-

Seasonal, as the earth offers it up…

You are what you eat…

In Food Poetry, Uncategorized on August 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

Lake Louise…think of us as the plate

First Issue- Thanksgiving,

November 2012