Poem by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri
if that be its proper name, but it was Supper
this special treat, boiled shrimp in the strainer,
side of fries to feed a family of five.
At least there was whole milk,
mayo + relish = tartar
ketchup + horseradish = cocktail.
Grace. Then cleaning of each crustacean:
shelled, deveined, de-tailed, de-legged,
while sitting around a ship-wheel table.
Each of the three girls with mother
seated in mate chairs. Father, captain.
Slender fingers working waste
into a tall tower to Poseidon.
At bedtime, singing like the sea,
the youngest, nicknamed Shrimp
silently oaring through
of burrowing hunger.
Click on the file below to listen to the poem:
Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphia poet, is author of six poetry collections, most recently COVID-19 2020, A Poetic Journal (Moonstone Press, 2021) and has been published in North American Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sequestrum Journal of Literature & Arts, Chiron Review, The Pennsylvania Journal, and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, among others. Former high school English teacher, she now teleworks full-time as an Acquisition Specialist and is poetry editor at North of Oxford. http://www.dianesahms-guarnieri.com/
Poem by Linda M. Fischer
We follow a river of sand
and wait for the rain that will not come.
The mouths of our children close on air.
We are the people who were always
here, asking little
but to live,
to warm our bodies with our children
and feel the earth under us.
Our parents gave us life
as simply as the sky turns,
and they who came before us.
We were many.
The children learn not to cry.
They do not ask of the earth
what it cannot give
or why their bodies shrivel
like drying fruit.
Their eyes turn back to an age
of not knowing.
The time is coming soon
when our mouths will fill with dust,
when our names won’t remember us.
Click on the file below to listen to the poem:
Linda M. Fischer’s poems have appeared in a variety of journals: Atlanta Review, Blue Heron Review, Ibbetson Street, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Iodine Poetry Journal, Poetry East, Potomac Review, Roanoke Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Worcester Review, and the recent anthology Art Through the Eyes of Mad Poets, An Ekphrastic Poetry Collection. She won the 2019 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference Poetry Contest and recently published her 3rd chapbook, Passages (The Orchard Street Press). Her website: lindamfischer.com
Poem by Stewart Acuff
THE EMPTY BELLY MOANS
It's a long time from school lunch till breakfast the next day
When every weekday you gotta wait
No meat, no protein at home
At night hunger makes your stomach grumble and groan
Trying to sleep, the empty belly moans
Only food in the house cereal, crackers and baloney
Hard as you try, you can't fill up your belly
Your brain loses focus in a fog, hunger weakens the body
School work impossible, lost opportunity
Another life sinking in cruel, unending poverty.
Stewart Acuff spent a 40-year career as a union and community organizer. Now retired he writes poetry in West Virginia. He publishes frequently including three books of his poems.
Poem by Justin Johnson
The World Is Hungry
My life mission is driven by my ambition to provide nutrition and proper prescription to every soul that is living.
This is the life and the world we were given.
The end of World hunger won’t see fruition until we have the right conviction and make the decision to stock every kitchen.
I know that I am wishing, but this is how I envision to end this affliction.
Please just listen.
Women and children are dying of starvation.
So I feel the obligation to help our nation move past this stagnation through realization and determination.
Observe our very people in the street without nothing to eat or even shoes on their feet.
Let’s go back in time and it’s probably before mine.
Food is derived from the german word Fodjan.
Which means to feed. Shall we proceed?
And meal meant time rooted from the word Mele that the Vikings used back in the day
and hey, I probably didn’t say any of these words the right way.
I was just trying to display the meaning of the words we use today.
Anyway, starvation still exist like it’s immortal
but it’s immoral to continue this vicious circle.
Think of the innocent children or think of the elderly that can barely see.
Are you hearing me?
But despairingly there is no popularity in charity for food scarcity.
McDonald’s and other franchises are just throwing away food instead of it giving away
and that’s not the way.
So let’s not downplay this dismay.
Most Millionaires & Billionaires are worried about their shares and other affairs because this problem isn’t theirs and the politicians would only use their position under certain conditions to only feed their commission instead of signing a petition that would stop this attrition.
This is my disposition according to the position of my vision.
Therefore, we can all make change when we give a dollar or spare change.
We can all participate or even create food drives that would help to feed many lives, so they could thrive.
Ultimately, it is up to us to improve our reflection.
This world doesn’t need perfection but it does require a connection, if we intend to see forward progression in the right direction
Video link -- https://youtu.be/9Er4PrArm9w
Justin (Texas, USA) is an inspired poet that intends to spread love, positivity, inspiration and motivation through his poetry.
Poem by Thomas Schuelke
HUNGER: A Never Satiated Sonnet
"Batter my heart, three person'd God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend."
John Donne (1571? - 1631)
Holy Sonnets, No. XIV
How does horrific hunger hurt my every being?
There are three pointed prongs on my dinner fork.
Paper plates are piled sky high with perfect pork.
My ravaged body craves the food my eyes are seeing.
My mind's the next fork tine by ignorant hunger enslaved.
A belly bawls for food: a brain calls for food for thought.
For today are brain and breadbasket tied into a knot,
Where each incredible edible of food and knowledge is craved.
The soul needs to be nourished as body and brain.
Food and learning go together like a hand that's gloved.
A spirit dies from the horrible hunger of being unloved.
In life, the body, the mind and the soul are links in a chain.
Of all these three, which is for me the worst?
'Tis my body dying from the pangs of hunger and thirst.
Thomas Schuelke is an active member of the Parkland Poets collective in Alberta, Canada. A writer of poems, plays, essays, short stories and novels as well as a visual artist and a composer of music, Thomas is a prolific creative and active member of the Canadian artistic scene.
Poem by Molly Ponkevitch Burack
Spaghettios with Fresh OreganoIt is February 14th
the flicker is drumming the stucco
my cocoa is thick and I study the secret green
in my beloved’s brown eyes,
in my dream I burrow my lips into the mountain soil
now I wipe cacao from the crevasses
and bear myself to the day with hope between molars
wedged as apple skin before it breaks
loose black silk wanders the city like volcanic ash
and The People eat pasta primavera,
sip sour wine, trace fingers and float
above the homeless guy on St. Francis
or the one “livin’ on a prayer,” reminds me of dad
at the shelter and what lyric he’d bold sharpie on cardboard
maybe, “there must be some kinda way outta here,”
or something from Taxman.
His fingers are still swollen
working construction on meth, I’d bring him jelly donuts
he ate 2 days later
every gratification delayed when you’re on the bottom
rung and I swear the second one up is 100 ft tall
but everyone believes you’re Alice
surrounded by eat me cookies
and lazy, no less.
Mom makes scalloped potatoes from the middle rung
though I rarely see her I smell her trauma layered
somewhere between onion, russet and cheese
the luxury of carpet and heat, a fat dachshund
my friend sees and calls me rich, I steal
refried beans from mom’s pantry to bring dad
she hates it though they’re expired
I bike bags of beans across town and watch
the cement deteriorate
watch the brow stiffen
touch the sweat of my father’s withdraw
when it floods my palm and tells me
of a poor man’s panic, the spore of addiction
manifest as mold
everyone throws bleach around and leaves the window closed;
one room crowded in desperation, food stamps,
donut boxes and scratch its, hope and everything unmet
one room with the slow rise of carbon monoxide, unseen
poison of walking around a sidewalk sleeping bag
and finding it inconvenient.
Molly Burack is a student, musician and poet who currently resides in the mountains of New Mexico on the unceded land of the Tano people. She graduated with a degree in English from University of Oregon, and is now pursuing a masters in mental health counseling with a focus in ecotherapy from Southwestern. Raised in a family struggling with homelessness and addiction, her work focuses on healing intergenerational trauma through art and reconnection with the natural world. She has been featured in the literary journals “Unbound,” “Buck Off Magazine,” "From Whispers to Roars"; and the “Santa Fe Reporter.” You can find more of her work at mollyburack.com
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!