What I Drink at Home: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 17

I shared with everyone that bats aren’t as scary as they seem,
and that Joseph Cavicchia, sitting on the bathroom counter,
said he was taking his hairstyle to the next level. 13 people
liked that; Cynthia Pepper-Jones said she “snaughled,”
and Suzanne Ryan Hoyt said that Joseph is a hoot.
(I have to agree, so I “liked” both comments.)
Another Joseph, where he cleans up beer cans
near the empty sandbox in the baby end of
a local park, then says, “Great. Now I smell like
Budweiser.” 3 “likes” on that, but it passed
without comment. There’s Joseph again, telling me
that a pink streak in the sky has “a relaxing, radiant glow.”
8 “likes,” and Julie Vassilatos says, “loooooove.”
It’s been a while since I had breakfast. It’s been a while
since I had lunch. I wonder why I didn’t share it? It was
extraordinary: a Colombian-style hot dog with a number of
sauces and toppings, not the least of which were crumbs
of crushed potato chips, and – right down the center –
a line of 3 hard-boiled quail eggs, which were tiny
as eyes, and sweet, unless that was the pineapple ketchup.
I also had a “kola flavored soda.” Brand name: Colombiana
la nuestra. Tagline: La que tomamos en casa. This is not
what I drink at home, certainly. This was consumed
at work, where today I received (also unshared)
a box containing 8 small, plastic clowns.
Former cake toppers, perhaps—now, 7 out of 8
mock the 8th one, who stands in the center,
but I might have to do some rearranging.


Publication Spotlight: Graze

Here is the second in a series of posts in which I call your attention to some great publications (that happened to publish something of mine). This time, we’re taking a moment to appreciate Graze.

Graze is shaaaaaaarrrp. And food-themed. And on paper, bless them (fingers crossed there, because I have been in two publications’ final print issues now, and—great as online publications can be—I don’t want to kill another beautiful, tangible object).

From a tongue-in-cheek but informative gardening how-to for old punks (“Suddenly, you question your plan to wing it and let nature take its course. And you do have a life outside of this freaking garden. You have protest concerts to organize and a cellar full of punk rock anthology cassette tapes to transfer over to MP3.”) to a poem about an eight-sided taco truck on a vague mission of vengeance (oh, hey, I wrote that one), Graze’s Issue Four has something for everyone.

Graze is an incredible labor of love by publishers Cyndi Fecher and Brian J. Solem, along with their art director and associate editor. Everything about it is so crisp and professional, so buttoned-up and perfect (but still very fun—don’t get me wrong), you’d think it has at least double that staff and is being hosed down with sweet, plentiful creative writing MFA program money.

But in fact, it seems to just run on the energy of its publishers and staff. And donations, subscriptions, and single-copy sales. (By the way, you can also buy Graze at many independent bookstores across the country.)

If you live in Chicago, lucky you! Graze hosts a lot of great events pertaining to its food-and-drink theme, as well as music. You can also keep up with those via Facebook and Twitter. I happen to know—from the Issue Four release, which involved bands, DJs, costumes, and a drink or three—that Graze throws a great party.

Wherever you are, please enjoy—and help feed—Graze! (And if you’d love to be part of Issue Five, submissions are open for written work until December 20, 2013, and for visual work until January 20, 2014.)


Previously in this series: Hobo Camp Review.
Next up: Fickle Muses.



hard-boiled eggs

Bury the eyes, always,
that they may not witness
this turbulent mystery.

green olives

With pimento pupils,
they stand sentry, to repel
untoward advances.

orange slices

From what grove,
and how came they here?
They must be wondering.

 ground beef (?)

Structural putty.
Muscle memory retains
the shape of the pan.

canned peas

From every crevice
a mockery of freshness.

tomato slice



A jaunty sail,
a hint of life
other than this.






If you’re on Facebook, here’s the photo that inspired this poem. See more from the Kitsch Bitsch here. Yummy! Also, if it’s Tuesday p.m., it’s Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. June 11 marks its 100th weekly session.


In the Brine (for NaPoWriMo, Day 18)

Pickles are like blazing stars,
small punches of flavor.

I don’t care whether they are
white-streaked and crisp

or yellow-green and floppy.
Both have their merits.

My mother went through a phase
of making bread-and-butter pickles

in a big Tupperware container.
I didn’t appreciate them then—

they tasted too much like cucumbers.
Cucumbers, I don’t like. Just pickles.

At McDonald’s, which I am supposed
to revile and not hold in any fondness,

my father used to pick the pickles off
his Quarter Pounder. I would put them

on my cheeseburger. Even now,
I will eye any piles of cast-off

pickles, though it’s rare that I’ll ask,
“Are you going to eat those?”

(But sometimes I will.) They are not
necessary, and yet few things seem

less optional to me
than pickles.



NaPoWriMo, Day 18 prompt: Write a poem that begins and ends with the same word.


Maybe the Rosemary

Time to write about religion now,
after buying bananas and escarole,
after passing up a rosemary plant
that was blooming, which I have
never seen, which sent me on a
whole series of associations
(gardens, my mother, whose name
was Rosemary; she was a pilgrim
in the garden, always a transplant
and always seeking something—
blooming vigor, a pleasant surprise
brought about by her own two hands:
Oops! Look at that—this thing I have
tended, not even knowing for sure what
it was, is now exploding in splendor.)
But anyway, I was buying onions
and carrots, basil and bread,
showing Betty, my daughter,
how the eggs we buy are cage free,
certified humane. I was cringing
at my ostentatiousness, how I
justify myself out loud, and my
children were fighting, mainly
Joseph, my son, relentlessly
needling Betty because he is
smaller and knows he is smaller.
They both got cookies anyway,
which I can’t justify except that
being smaller can be difficult,
and sometimes I am too tired
to mete out life lessons, so I
give out cookies freely and
allow cookies to be given.
Now I think maybe I’ll buy
that rosemary plant someday,
for a friend of mine who just
turned 50 and who watched
our goldfish this weekend
so he wouldn’t die, which
he likely wouldn’t have done
in three days’ time, but I felt
better with some eyes on him,
and precise instructions on
when to drop in his shelled peas,
cucumber slices. Maybe the
rosemary would grow on her deck
all summer, and she’d think of me—
perhaps even my mother, whom
she never met—each time she
stepped out to snip a sprig here
and there. Now I have to write
about what it is that I have faith in.
It’s everything I just told you, though
I’d like to add a number of things:
mainly James, my husband, across
from me at the table, and the birds
outside, singing in the gray.

For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets (aka “my Tuesday thing”).