Job Interview

Your misery is not
but we think it’ll do.
We bet you’re an ugly crier,
but splotchy tears are better than none.
Sit right down, and we’ll show you
the paper bag people we made
when we had no actual people,
before you walked in.
It’s fortuitous that you’re here.
We’re out of paper bags.


Walking My Dog at Night

But what would I say in my 911 call?
That six or seven young black men
were standing on the corner with a phone,
saying, How much do you need?
How much what, and what did I really see?
Meanwhile, the police would come
and possibly ruin a night that didn’t need
to be ruined that way, and there I would be,
the white lady whose biases are allowed
to dictate how other people’s lives will go.
But still. Still, there’s menace in the air tonight,
and the smell of weed, and I’m spooked by
leftover firecrackers from 4th of July.
Every time we take the last walk of the night,
I imagine it — what I would do, what it would
look like and sound like, how I would be
forever changed. Would I scream? Run?
Hit the ground? You’re allowed to think
I’m self-centered in this scenario,
because I am. But what would I say?
That something has finally won, or
something in me has broken?
That after 20 years in Chicago,
19 on the South Side, I’m now afraid
of young black men, afraid of them
when all this time, I only meant
to be afraid for them?


Out of Meat

There’s a reason Out of Meat is in every mother’s treasure chest of best-loved recipes. Serve Out of Meat when the children are being surly or when clouds invade your head. Quick! Run to the front door and see if anyone is there! You cannot be alone when Out of Meat is on your table. Enjoy!

Out of
completely out of

You are made
out of

tell me

how you were made
and what you like
to eat


Inspired by Janelle Shane’s blog about her neural network.


Cabbage Pot Cookies

Cabbage pot cookies are tender little morsels that began as a sailor’s delight in Maine or some state like that. Many’s the sailor who came home to the wafting aroma of cabbage pot cookies and decided never to sail again. Now, cabbage pot cookies may be found in any gracious home across these United States, and in some of the lesser countries and less gracious homes as well. Enjoy!

From the kitchen of
from the kitchenof
kitchen of Mrs.
or kitchen of cabbage
Pot the cabbage in a small
pot, then cookie it
in your little black oven
or your large white one
from the kitchen of
Mrs. Kitty Kitchenof



Yet another hat tip to Janelle Shane.


Beef Soup with Swamp Peef and Cheese

Beef soup with swamp peef and cheese may be eaten in perfect contentment while standing in the middle of your living room with none of your best friends. If not sizzled in half an hour, the peefs bobbing on the surface like so many Esther Williamses, then there’s not much more I can do for you. Enjoy!

Find the freshest peef you can find,
and only from the swamp.
Don’t let the butcher hornswoggle you
into ocean peef or bay peef or estruary.
Those peefs have too much grit,
not enough grain, if you know what I mean.
Demand the peef that you deserve.
Meanwhile, muddle some beef
and boil the cheese of your choosing.
Peas are not valid in this dish.
Try again, if that was your idea.




Yet another hat tip to Janelle Shane.


Export Bean Spoons In Pie-Shell, Top If Spoon and Whip The Mustard

Serves 37 at a table where everyone is angry and trees outside the window are heavy with new leaves. It may be raining or not. Enjoy!

Top if spoon
but not if no spoon
spoon is nonpresent

at present

Whip the mustard
regardless of spoon
or not

export beans in
if all you have is
pie shell

make a hyphen
out of spoons





Another “recipe” from Janelle Shane’s neural network cookbook.