Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where's the final stopover for unfinished poems?

Abandoned lines. Torn/discarded. Lost in files. Journals never re-read are language crypts. Consider: can a fragment be a poem? On this, Sappho has an opinion.

What to serve? Tapas, a meal in fragments. Try: garlicky olives; selection of non-wimpy cheeses; sautéed mushrooms; white beans & tuna w/marjoram; marinated figs; garlic shrimp; a spread of chickpeas, roasted beets, olive oil, garlic. Of course, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Anne Carson, trans.).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What is the correspondence between blogging and this much rain?

Water-saturated San Francisco is visibly greening. Slant of rain on window -- eyebrows, diacritical marks. Each room feels like a library. A consequence of rain is fragrance.

Make soup, of course. Rough-cut vegetables. Plenty of garlic. Fistfuls of spinach added just before serving. Bowlfuls. Crusty bread. Company. Conversation not about weather. Perhaps, poetry. Yes, poetry.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why is conversation the aphrodisiac of aphrodisiacs?

Talking over the slurp of oysters. Mmmmm. Was intimacy ever so public, ever so poetic? Well then, consider laughing as the echo of conversation which silence will pare to a delicate comfort.

Remember this on your birthday. Pair this with whomever and revel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

As a child, do you remember which book made you say, "I will learn to read?"

For me it was Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (translated by Edward FitzGerald, Random House, 1947). The color illustrations and gilded borders were nothing like I was accustomed to growing up in a small, northern New Jersey town. No reference points except a wanting to experience.

Nothing like your first book; nothing like a Jersey tomato.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do you trust, can you follow, are you drawn into a cookbook which does not have color photos of at least a few of the recipes?

Which is to ask -- in our minds do words exist without color, shape, even taste? Are there words which are not springboards to silence? Can such words create a poem? I’d like to hear from you; please email a comment. Thanks.

Returning to cooking, Mark Bittman has authored two brilliantly creative tomes, sans color illustration of any of the dishes. I taste and see every recipes as I thumb through:

How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, Wiley Publishing, Inc,1998.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

If no question is being considered, can a poem happen?

Subtle and/or close to invisible yet an inquiry, essential. Answer isn’t the destination. Allowing a question to be is comfort food.

Try this: sautéed carrots (almost caramelized) in olive oil with garlic, to which you add roasted walnuts, fresh rosemary, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Always have olives on hand.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reading the headlines, is it monstrous to write a quiet poem or suggest a picnic?

Are poems ever devoid of the personal, the political, or far from food?

Feed the stranger so she becomes a friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why is January 12 auspicious for poets & lovers of poetry?

Begins with a birthday. Dan Waber’s, to be exact. Dan tells it best.

44 today, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about root causes.
I declare January 12th to be International Buy a Book of Poetry Day
Buy a book of poetry today. Buy it for yourself or as a gift. Pass along the word. Celebrate every January 12 with poetry book-buying.

Paper Kite Press Studio & Gallery
Naissance and
Dan Waber's digital doings

OK, you’re reading this post late. The first year you get one day’s grace period.
Once you buy your book, let me know by posting a comment on this blog.

MMMM! What food is celebratory for a birthday? Well haiku, the 6 year old kitty recently celebrated his birthday with this menu:

haiku’s menu

Natural Value: pate style chicken dinner
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance
San Francisco’s finest tap water and treats

Friend’s menu


roasted onions
roasted carrots
curried almonds
green olives with zealous garlic, bay leave & thyme


tomato, persimmon, cilantro
snap peas and mushroom
wild rice with apple and dried fruit (roasted walnuts, optional)
roasted beets dressed with orange (goat cheese, optional)
bean (not-green) with roasted peppers and TBA


Herb-crusted salmon
Baked tofu


purrs and your company
cheeses & marinated figs with fennel
birthday cake by Aunt Pat

Monday, January 11, 2010

When the song ends, is the poem finished?

Or is the poem in the happening stage?

This assumes words are energy – sound, color, vibration. Right now, where are you and your poem on the color wheel?

Most times, I cook to the sound of Andrea Bocelli. Often this happens:


2 Fuyu persimmons or more: peeled & sliced
walnuts, roasted
rosemary (fresh)
pepper to taste
lemon olive oil
asparagus, steamed
rice, cooked
spinach, uncooked
sliced raw mushrooms

to cooked rice
add lemon olive oil, rosemary
as rice cools
add walnuts, asparagus, persimmon
add pepper to taste
mix well

cover serving plate with spinach
arrange sliced mushrooms along rim
add rice mixture (above) in center of plate
drizzle with additional lemon olive oil

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Is “and” so powerful a word that it makes an implausible comparison, plausible?

Consider, the identical length of a sunset moving from a split of light to none and the tongue letting go of the taste of brine from a raw oyster.

Contently, I surrender to travel, food and art. Jan Steen’s Girl Eating Oysters at the Mauritshuis.

Recipe enough and, oh yes, consider, the uitsmijter. The latter led me to a journey of cooking for friends.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are words the carapace of silence?


Regarding food and silence, sipping green tea comes closest, I think. What falls away, leaves.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How many notebooks were begun within the first three days of January 2010?

Makes me think of snow. Paper feels different with ink upon it. Bird tracks and ruts. When a notebook is filled and/or abandoned, how many poems, like the black wrought iron arms of a patio chair, peek through snow?

Makes me think of ingredients which conceal and then reveal. For instance, flavored olive oil. I particularly like Sciabica’s rosemary, basil, orange, and lime olive oils. Use creatively. Use daily.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where do words go when writing stops?

Please, explain the physics of an echo.

I reckon 83% of my poems are written in the kitchen. Garlic and curry: smells are the equivalent of a word’s echo.

Try curry almonds: melt 1-2 T butter, add to 1-1 -1/2 cups almonds and 1-2 T curry. Roast at 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn a few times. Eat out of hand, add to salads or to an appetizer plate with roasted onions. Enjoys the company of roasted beets, too. What music have you been listening to?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do real poets read at open mics?


Longer answer: 21 of them did at the Gallery Café Reading Series this evening. From page to performance poet – lyric, political, satirical, narrative, experimental, and hybrid. When it works, an open mic is a vibrant community of varied voices – good readers, keen listeners. Much to be said for democracy.

Paring food with democracy, I think of the onion. Simple, yet elegant especially when roasted. Slice, drizzle with olive oil, roast at 450 degrees until caramelized (about 30-40 minutes). Stir a few times. Serve at room temperature. A fine voice on an appetizer tray.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What are the dimensions of a short poem?

Is the short poem defined by:

number of lines
length of line/number of words
ratio of silence to sound
subject matter
the number of seconds it takes to read at an open mic (26 seconds)?

Can a poem be one word? Probably

Footnote to 1/2/10 on beets.
Best served at room temperature. Roast more than you need – they keep well, and your friends will love you.

Beets have no concept of boundaries, no concept of what a line is. Pomegranates, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What exactly is a line?

Happy New Year!

Let me introduce you to 2 of the finest contemporary poets
I know working in the Bay Area. Actually, graphic artists.

Susan Black

Liz Hack

Each in her unique voice blends the sparse and the spiritual to create a lush silence. Hear for yourself.

While you ponder “what exactly is a line,” be good to yourself. Roast a couple of beets in foil (450 degrees for 30-45 minutes). Peel, slice, add feta cheese (I prefer Bulgarian style), a twist of pepper, drizzle with olive oil, top with a fresh herb of your choice. Get fancy: roast a handful of almonds or walnuts and add a few segments of a seedless orange.