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Dinner, and a Side of Poetry

Desiree Cooper

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Plum poetry
(Nikola Bilic/iStockPhotos)
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This is the last weekend of April, which is also National Poetry Month. Alimentum, a literary journal all about food, chose to celebrate the month with food poetry. For the second year in a row, they distributed a menu of poems to New York City restaurants and cafes.

We visited some of the eateries to see what people thought about getting their meal with a side of verse. Below are two works featured on the Alimentum "menupoem" plus a bonus ode to strawberries:


The Fork
by Daniel Meltzer

Let us pause to consider the fork,
Without which we'd finger our pork,
Our egg and zucchini,
Anchovy, weenie,
At Maxim's or Sardi's, New York.
A marvelous simple device,
Essential to dining as spice.
Invented in Switzerland,
By a man named Spitzer, and
Patented later by Weiss.
Spitzer died poor and anonymous,
While Weiss drew praise unanimous.
Invited to lecture,
Pontificate, conjecture,
On everything and anything gastronimous.
A lesson is here demonstrated;
You must protect what you have created.
You need lawyers, accountants and so on,
Tine and tide, as we say, wait for no one.
There, we've said it.
Aren't you glad that you waited.


Bread
by Alastair Reed

Such wonders: how the yeast will froth and flower,
the flour begin to take on bulk and substance,
the mass grow firm, forming under the fingers,
the new dough sleek and smooth in the cool bowl.
The waiting is a rich suspense. The rising,
almost too slow to see, with patience puffs
into importance, and assumes a shape,
a pale bread-embryo, about to be.
Now, give it to the oven, to become.
Wait in the warm rise of anticipation.
Breathe in the round aromas of the baking,
and spread your spirit in the smell of bread.
This warmest, most rewarding ritual.
This miracle. The good sense of bread.


Eating Strawberries
by Howard Altman

And how to paint absence
on a summer afternoon
in July.

When the sun steals all the colors
lifting them up to some invisible plane.
Stretching out over the horizon,
the way memory clouds the brain
the way shadows bleed into darkness.

I just want to eat strawberries
on her white sheets
and call it a day.

  • Music Bridge:
    Tin Sunshine
    Artist: Kiln
    CD: Ampday (Thalassa)

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