K: Of sugary sweet lies and revelations
Z: And of the fiery spice of life and death
K; Something Unique, something that is defined not by the food we eat but the buds on our tongue
Z: The morphine, dopamine, and dynorphin within the brain coated from the flavors of vain
Both: But the identification of the flavors are tricky
K: I identify as a syrupy sweet, unseasonably fresh flavor, something so plush and lush on the tongue, sending waves of morphine and euphoria down your spine, like hot chocolate with a dash of nutmeg. Causing a lie of happiness down your throat. A la-la land of something fragrant. True to the dopamine I cause when you take a bite of that soothing vanilla macaron. But beware, a banana boat of disaster floats your way. Too much of me can and will cost your mind. I will make you addicted, become unhealthy, go crazed, and wish you could stay away from the chocolate drowning you in its sugars and the gumdrops of your anxieties. Thus a start of a licorice beginning and a twizzler end. But this never really was my choice, it was always yours.
Z: I identify as piquant, hot, and tempting. One taste of me and I’ll get your blood pumping. And you’ll be drowning in pepper soup and you open your eyes and see your surrounded by the thick heat like Suya being barbecued over charcoal fire. I give you a chance to live on the wild side of life. A quick journey as though you going on a speed race, running away from your problems, zooming fast like a car chase. You traveling north trying to run away from the flames lookin for ways to escape but you can’t resist when that Kilishi comes your way. Cause I am a high. A natural drug. As soon as you taste me all you’ll see is color, all you’ll see is red. All you’ll hear is your heart beating so fast it’ll sound like drums bringing you into the next life. But of course you realize this is all a game, right? The devil’s tango, didn’t mommy and daddy teach you about places you can't go? I am a high. But every rush must come crashing down. All of the sudden your world’s gone dim, looks like you’ve had too much ata din din. Leaving you with a sigh of relief that you’ve once again survived the spice, and once you’ve caught your breath you’ll come back to taste the fire.
K: the vindictiveness of something so meticulous and melancholic, it's strawberry ice cream sprinkled with cyanide.
Z: the seductiveness and nostalgic presence of something like a carolina reaper on the run.
Both: Flavors are nothing to be played with, but something to watch out for. Go deeper if you must, but tread lightly in the dust.
K: Because something so sweet
Z: and something heavily spicy
Both: Can be deadly.
Poem by Zainab Ahmed
Every bite I take is poison
The taste is delicious and filled with temporary pleasures
But every time I eat it I know my time limit reduces
I see the Rodeo King riding down the beef patty mountain and onto the smoked bacon ground
The area is surrounded by the BBQ sand, the grass grows onion ring flowers
I take it all in and I could be here for hours and hours.. I could eat this for hours.
But I can feel the environment turning on me
The sand trying to suck me in, the avalanche of the mountain making its way towards me
The cracks in the bacon covered ground started shaking, earthquakes causing the holes to form
Everything slows down as I power down
For the first time I felt those 1400 calories drag me down
And then I look around and I realize the land is empty, it’s all gone.
No long term value but just short term fulfillment
You see I don’t live near Whole Foods - nah - that’s like 15 miles away
There ain’t no Sweetgreen or Great Sage that’s all the way up in Howard County
I only have places that prey on my low income status
That love to play with my health or lack of it
I live in a desert where desserts are our only options
And where vultures cash in on our bad financial situations while they keep the poison they feed us in circulation
These poems were written by young poets