All clean. All good, for all.
How do we get there?
We leap. Together.
Into the unknown.
All clean. All good, for all.
From the mind and heart of Emille Bryant
Emille Bryant (Fairfax County, VA) is a multi-talented creator, author and speaker. He lives with his feet planted on terra firma but with his head in the wisps of imagination. Daily, he looks for ways to help others, in business and in life. He loves good music, good writing and good food, not always in that order. You can find him most days thinking big thoughts.
On the day of atonement, we fast
move out of our comfort zone,
collide head-on with the basics,
and if we are ready, embrace
the wonders of hunger.
Like big brothers the other senses
take over, grow more intense.
A common dandelion, glows glorious
with the dazzle of an evening star.
A yellow pine smells like incense,
the drone of a cricket, a lyre,
the satin-like feel of your palm.
We are awed by these sensations
until they jolt with another scene.
On the TV screen a child
from Zimbabwe, limbs as thin
as a poplar branch, belly distended,
unknowing black eyes.
Natalie Lobe (Anne Arundel County, MD) published a full- length book of poetry, What Gypsies Don’t Know, in October 2018. Chapbooks, Conversation with Abraham, Island Time, in 2012, 2008 and 2006. Her poems have appeared in Slant. Comstock Review and others..
Spoon Feeds Hunger
©Diane Wilbon Parks, April 2019
What I want is
for you to feel everything,
for you to take your spoon,
and start digging into
their place of less than,
their plates of empty,
their bulging bones,
that growling ache
that crawls across promises,
that easily float through hunger like air,
that drags them into sleep,
wakes them up, disappears
and comes back again as empty as air.
What I want is
for you to feel everything,
for you to take your spoon
and empty yourself - out,
for you to dig up every song, every dream,
every day, every week, every year,
every breakfast, every lunch and every dinner.
Empty them out!
until your belly resembles their belly,
until their spasms leave,
until whispers are no more,
until breathing looks back at you,
until hope slips into your pockets,
and you become a spoon to feed hunger.
Diane Wilbon Parks (Prince George’s County, MD) is a poet, visual artist, and author; Diane has written a Children’s Book and two poetry collections; her most recent, published collection is The Wisdom of Blue Apples. Diane is one of six PG County Poets whose poetry has been highlighted throughout the DMV. She celebrated the permanent installation of one of her poems and art pieces at the Patuxent Research Refuge - North Tract.
Food for Thought
He sits in the kitchen sipping organic green tea
and ponders how they might pay for two new
windows to be put in by who knows whom
and how, when she returns from the farmer’s
market, a shudder of enthusiasm as she carries
in bag after bag of really good looking food,
little orange tomatoes and corn on the cob,
red peppers and green peppers and scallions,
two bunches of parsley and a dozen eggs
laid by hens the farmer calls her “little girls,”
“From hens with names!” she says, “Like
Emma and Gracie, Rosa, and Butterscotch,
Waif, Sweetie, and Big Berta.” And loaves
of bread, one rye and one sour dough. He asks
about the windows, wonders aloud, “Should
we spend the money?—How much did all
this cost?—Oh, these rotten windows!” But
she has no time for it. She puts the veggies
on the kitchen table, a loaf of bread on top
of his calculator, and arranges the food into
what she calls “a still-alive-still-life,” and then
runs and gets her camera to snap a bunch
of photos. She says, “Go get me your plastic
Buddha. Quick! While our inspiration
is still alive.” He does as instructed, returns
and says, “We aren’t rich, you know,”
as she places the plastic Buddha just so
amid the produce, and says, “That’ll do nicely.”
But adds, “What do you mean we aren’t rich?
Look at all this food! Grown just a few miles
down the road! Someday it’ll all be this way.
Good food, grown just down the road. And it’s
organic—everyone ought to be eating organic!
Darling, don’t say we aren’t rich: That’s crazy.
We’ll get windows because we are rich. See?”
Patric Pepper is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a full length collection. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the poet Mary Ann Larkin.
MORNING TEA AFTER THE SOLSTICE
The tea kettle makes its pin-prickly noises.
The rain hums a little song,
taps a slow stacatto on the pond.
I put on my lavender earrings.
The earth suffers its mysterious turn
come again to the end
of its climb to light.
I slip on your big black shoes
to go pick mint for morning tea.
Rain meanders through my hair.
The crushed mint smells like God.
Mary Ann Larkin is the author of several books and other publications. She lives in Washington D.C. and North Truro, Massachusetts.
Mine was yellow, with flowers.
A longhaired girl in a long dress,
the Sixties captured in tin.
And so was hers: Vania,
my new exotic classmate,
pretty as the lunchbox girl.
I think she was Russian.
Countries were simpler then,
if you were American.
Somewhere east, mysterious,
maybe with witches.
Vania’s voice was a soft smile.
I wanted to be her friend.
I liked her, as best
as a six-year-old knew how.
It was inevitable:
one day, two girls, two boxes,
and hers came home with me.
Where was the thermos?
Instead of the bologna sandwich
I didn’t eat,
because Shari told me
bologna comes from a tongue,
I don’t know.
A loose stew? A mess
in the box, oozing from the walls.
And I don’t remember
whether Mom washed it out--
I was a spoiled brat, Shari said--
but I remember Vania’s eyes,
how their light closed
as she took her secret back.
Pamela Murray Winters (Prince George’s County, MD) is the author of the poetry collection The Unbeckonable Bird (FutureCycle Press, 2018). She lives in Maryland with her husband and various animals. She is at work on a second full-length manuscript.
Ode to Food
A Pindaric Ode
Let us thank our daily bread, fresh sliced.
Its cliché is the staff of life.
Oatmeal, whole grain, country, rye
Nourish our appetites, brains, and eyes.
Oh, fields of grain, golden in the sun,
Milled into flour rich for everyone.
Yet many say they reach for rice
To keep them fed, to avoid the price
Of hunger’s claws, to hold on,
To silence starvation’s brittle song.
Bags of rice can mean a fortune,
Can be the bank families count on.
I hope bread and rice do both suffice
To keep alive the human race.
I hope any kitchen can have room for both
To fill the bowl, shape the loaf.
Grains and heat, some sort of pan
Maintain life for grateful hands.
Kate Richardson (Anne Arundel County, MD) has been a teacher, copywriter, and editor. She now writes poetry and plays soprano and alto recorder.
Some say poetry is like bread
that it feeds the soul
that’s not enough!
It’s been proved that children
cannot learn on empty stomachs.
Look at all the underperforming
schools in our country.
Breakfast should be the first lesson
of each day. Followed by lunch
and an afternoon snack before dismissal.
Feeding tubes for the dying
force people to live
sometimes against their will
but usually not for long.
And although there are no
feeding tubes for the living,
one meal can make the difference
between life and death for so many.
Yet while people die
of starvation each day
thousands of pounds of food
are discarded on a daily basis
in this affluent country of ours.
Shame on me! Shame on you!
Shame on all of us who turn up
our noses at leftovers and day-old
bread that like poetry
can feed thousands.
Maritza Rivera (Montgomery County, MD) is a Puerto Rican poet and Army veteran who has been writing poetry for over 40 years. She is the creator of Blackjack poetry and hosts the Mariposa Poetry retreat. Maritza aka Mariposa is the author of About You, A Mother’s War, 21: Blackjack Poems, and the Blackjack Poetry Playing Cards.
“This is what the hungry say…”
Joyce Williams Graves © 6/10/2019
Sorry, did you say something?
No sir, that was my stomach making that hollow sound.
You see, I haven’t eaten in a while,
my empty stomach is filled with air bubbles these days.
The noise is something I can’t control,
People can see and hear I am hungry, yet
No one seems to care about my plight!
Every day, the sound gets louder and I get weaker.
At times, the noise wakes me from my sleep
Oh yes, I have prayed for food daily from anyone.
I believe, the Lord is waiting for somebody
to have understanding, compassion or empathy on my suffering.
Stranger, will it be you today?
Will you find in your heart a
way to satisfy my craving and thirst this day?
No, I won’t give up!
God has not forgotten me.
This is not my final path in life, to starve to death.
I won’t believe that, I can’t!
I am His child.
No, I believe, I will eat again!
For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25:35
Joyce Graves (Prince George’s County, MD) is a woman of faith – she is a positive person, who likes to give encouragement to anyone. One of her spiritual goals/talents is to bless people. God has blessed her for many years and she now tries to give back through prayer, sending cards for birthdays, get well cards, anniversaries, when someone is sick, and calling shut ins.
“Consumers are expected to eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year (2018).”
“A steer weighing 1,000 pounds will average around 430 pounds of retail cuts.”
-- OK Dept of Agriculture
Since I was eighteen, or so,
responsible for feeding myself,
I have eaten twenty cows.
That’s based on averages.
Being honest with myself,
I have probably eaten twenty-one.
Now that it’s been said aloud,
I feel that the onus is on me
to account for them.
I drink about a gallon of clean water per day
and shower in perhaps nineteen more
but my cows drink two hundred.
We eat together, too.
I eat the cows, while they eat
five hundred pounds of forage a day.
Sorry; that sounds like a lot.
Clearly, I will need a pickup truck
to carry all that feed,
and some fairly large shovels.
Apologies to my neighbors.
Also, I have to name all twenty-one
and keep a waiting list of cow names,
one every other year,
to expand the herd.
Rob Winters (Prince George’s County, MD) is a computer engineer at NASA who writes enough poetry to have something to read at local poetry events. His poems have appeared in 21: Blackjack Poetry Journal, District Lines, and Gargoyle. He lives with a poet, two cats, and a bird in Bowie, Maryland.
These poems were recognized at the 2019 WFD Poetry Competition