Category Archives: food

A vegetable fable

This summer, I’ve had the chance to do some “lightning poetry” on the streets of Elkhart.  During the July ArtWalk, I was given a strategic spot on Main Street, from which I would accost passers-by and ask if they had one minute to listen to a poem.  If they said yes, I gave them a choice: silly or serious, and would then select a poem for them from one of two folders, based on that preference.   It was amazing to see people’s reactions.  Some ignored me, or even told me to leave them alone – made me feel like a street evangelist, which I sort of was, I suppose.  But others were delighted to be approached and listened/responded with enthusiasm.  The highlight for me was the two burly biker dudes who asked for a serious poem and then engaged me in conversation about the meaning of life.  Priceless.

Anyway, the most popular poem of the day was a silly one that re-tells the Cinderella story using vegetables.  Here it is – imagine you’re on a street corner as I read it to you…


A vegetable-fable

Cinderella was a Brussels sprout
the kind of snack you only think about
occasionally, like when the cupboard’s bare
or Christmas guests appear from who-knows-where
and you are caught short-handed.

Her sisters were the prize zucchinis,
tightly stuffed in mink bikinis
tanning on the castle lawn
while Cinders worked till dusk from dawn
doing the jobs that she was handed.

But then Prince Charming, that great star fruit, paid a call
and planted the idea of a ball.
The bully-girls thought they’d be most appealing
They had no idea they’d be dealing
with their sister, who, to be candid,

was more delicious to the eye
than they. They were left alone to cry
like onions when she stole the prince and left a clue
at midnight – with a single crystal shoe
the heart-sore lover-boy was handed.

The story ends, as all good meals do,
With sweetness to top off this most romantic stew.
Our heroine delicious, ripe and pure
Outlasted both her sisters, rotten to the core
At least, that’s how I’m told this fruit-and-veggie fairy tale ended…



The truth about Klondikes


My latest listener commentary for our local NPR station, WVPE.  True confessions of just where I draw the line on telling the truth to our children…

Click here to listen.


Independence Day

Got off on a mental tangent this weekend, thinking about a “Doomsday” poetry prompt from Robert Lee Brewer, and wondering how my Amish neighbors might handle an alien invasion…

After the Fourth of July holiday,
there are no famous landmarks left standing.
The Golden Gate Bridge, The Eiffel Tower,
Big Ben, The White House – none of them survive.

But here in town, no one knows much about
all that. At the Village Inn, plain-dressed men
eat heaping plates of scrapple and head cheese
and joke in low German about tourists,

while girls in coverings and tennis shoes
giggle about ketchup and the panties
they got at the U.P. Mall. No one looks
twice at the thing sitting in the corner.

When all you wear is dark pants and blue shirts
everyone else looks like an alien.
You love your enemies, and sympathize
with all who sing: “This world is not my home.”

Outside in the parking lot, the horses
make strange at the iridescent saucer
hitched awkwardly to the post between them
swishing their tails to keep the flies at bay.

When Amos Yoder’s barn is vaporized
the Amish refuse to retaliate.
Instead, volunteers come from miles around
and raise a brand new building by milking time.

This pattern is repeated for a week
until the invaders give up and leave.
At the Village Inn, they are serving pie,
and there are no planes flying overhead.

La frutta *

(reading the paper placemat at Colombo’s)

Start at the heel of the boot,
at the sumptuously-named Lecce,
and run your finger around the graceful
toe, beaded with Sicilian heat.
Move slowly upwards, pausing at the knee
to genuflect at the Holy City, then on
to gaze in awe at the high-swept sinews
of the landscape leading up to Assisi.
Come around the thigh, taking time to
taste the savors of Bologna, Parma, Genoa,
circling over and round the graceful
inland swell of the northern provinces
and down, down again to glide
upon the glistening canals of
Venice, whispering softly as the
red wine disappears like a sunset.

Sharing the love


Sometimes, when two people love each other
they want to share that love with the whole world.
It’s quite natural. And so late at night,
or even at lunchtime, they go to work

(and don’t kid yourself, often it IS work,
especially if you are on the porch,
or the patio, or at a camp site,
places you have to be extra careful).

For some couples it is really easy,
others have trouble, some even give up.
There can be showing off and jealousy
which is really hurtful and doesn’t help.

But most of the time, the hard work pays off.
They come out to you, sweat-soaked and aching,
still sticky from all of their exertions,
to announce: It’s here! Mint-Chocolate-Chip!

Never skip breakfast…

 (a villanelle)

How many animals are there
Teeming before my hungry eyes?
By this point, I don’t even care.

Just cause I’m single, it’s not fair
To choose me. Don’t you realize
How many animals are THERE?

All I’ve done, all day, is to stare,
Then name each beast. I can’t disguise
By this point I don’t care

If the names make sense. I might dare
To skip some! Tell me, O Most-Wise:
How many animals are there

That I can grill medium-rare?
Names can wait! Just serve ‘em with fries.
By this point I don’t even care.

There’s only so much I can bear
Before I start to fantasize.
How many animals are there?
By this point I don’t even care.

To share with friends over at the marvelous dVerse Poets Pub.

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