Pretzels | Danny Mazur

image: jose aljovin

Every night before bed
I would wander into my Dad’s kingdom
Laying on his king-sized bed
With a book and pretzels scattered across his hairy chest
His trusted steeds (10 lb. twin toy poodles)
Intently waited for treats
A low static from AM talk radio filled the room
He removed suit and tie
Donning blue converse shorts, no shirt

I remember the way his toes would wiggle
How he would tell me what he was reading about
How crumbs would fall from his lips
As he laughed at his own jokes

My mind was much quieter then
No concerns of burning forests or abused children
I wasn’t stressed
By the weight of earning paychecks and paying off loans
I didn’t find myself overwhelmed
How my dreams often feel like the Amazon River
7 miles wide
And I’m on the bank
I can’t swim and my boat is on the other side

On good days,
I’ll remember the world isn’t about me
That dreams come and go
That I live with my best friend
In some sort of Earth fort
That I get to walk to work
And spend my days with kids

And when the night comes
I lay in my bed and give thanks to tired legs
I open a comic book and my toes begin to wiggle
It’s in these moments
I find my hairy chest full of pretzels


Danny Mazur’s fascination with the human experience led him to founding Soul Stories, an organization that facilitates conversations for personal healing and social change. Over the past six years, Danny has produced and facilitated over 100 Soul Stories events in the Denver community, ranging from community dialogs to live performances. Danny collaborates with members of the Denver community to create events that unpack challenging topics such as consent, personal identity, relationships, race, and even the political divide of 2020. Soul Stories events are unique spaces where people go to practice authenticity and find connection. 

This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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None Of That | Anna Leahy

Image: Elia Pellegrini

A friend, a fellow poet, announces
that he will someday open a restaurant
called None Of That,
wanting customers to say
Oh, I’ll have none of that,
and by that, he means cheese!

What confidence!
I see now, only years later,
its acronym: NOT.
I am jealous of his utter disdain.
I am jealous of his unwavering voice.
What would I not serve?
What would I not allow on my menu?

All I can think is beets,
but who likes beets?
They would not be missed.
No, I long to loathe
what others likely love,
and to be okay with that loathing.
But I am poor at decisions.
Insouciance is an illusion.

I desire to deny others
based on my own predilections,
the strength of my convictions,
whether right or wrong,
but I find myself lacking,
full of wishy-washy sympathy.
Though I don’t much like—what?
what is it?—mint! trigger of my migraines,
I see how others might.
I have seen the thick tongue licking
mint-chocolate-chip from a cone,
have heard talk of julep, a spoonful of sugar
to help the medicine go down.

This friend will not stop.
He claims that his second restaurant will be called
None of That Either.
He has more, more than I can muster.
I try harder to think of something, the thing.
But all I want to keep from others
is what I most want for myself
because there might not be enough
to go around.


Anna Leahy is the author of the nonfiction book Tumor and the poetry collections Aperture and Constituents of Matter. Her work has appeared at Aeon, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, The Southern Review, and elsewhere, and her essays have won top awards from the Los Angeles Review, Ninth Letter, and Dogwood. She directs the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chapman University, where she edits the international Tab Journal. See more at www.amleahy.com.

A Winter’s Night | Varinia Rodriguez

Art: Varinia Rodriguez

I have learned to walk on fire,
To drink fire,
To be fire.

Half goddess,
Half dragon.

I am Medusa,
Bruja,
Y santa.

Give me your eyes,
I will teach you to read skins.
Give me your hands,
I will teach you to pray in tongues.

The night we met,
The moon bowed down
To give us the stars.

I watched women
Drape themselves
Onto you.

A production
In the art
Of meat dangling.

But there was your stare—
Unwavering,
On me
In reverence and lust.

I put my claw to your skin.

There is a power when the flame burns white between us.
Where the unholy meet
And give us light.


Varinia Rodriguez once wrote a book about how Jellyfish Dreams were responsible for her own saving.  She is raw, intense, and lovely like a shot of whiskey on a cold day hitting like a cup of hot cocoa.  She is an alchemist, who works best with fire and the moon. Buy her book of poetry and photography off Punch Drunk Press.

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This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

Hunger | Christopher Woods

Image: Mikhail Elfimov

Reading it for the third time, I am still amazed. Hungry, after midnight, in a hotel room in Galveston, I scan the room service menu in my lap. There, under the “Omelets” heading, it states that all are served with warm biscuits and yes, with mourning potatoes.

I am astounded. But I am also a realist and do not believe that biscuits will climb five floors and arrive still warm at my door. That they arrive at all is sufficient. Still, it distresses me to know that I have, for all this time, through all kinds of culinary weather, never known that some potatoes, by design or scheme or recipe, are meant only for mourning. I have eaten potatoes in all kinds of moods, even outside my homeland, and never, I think, funereally.

But I am also starving. I pick up the phone and call room service, order the potatoes without question, in an almost normal voice. Then, waiting in the dark, I hear waves crash against the seawall. The world is such an eerie place, I think, each day stranger than the one before.

Somewhere in the bowels of this hotel a room service cart is rolling this way, and for an instant I do not care if even death comes riding on it.


Christopher Woods is a writer and photographer who lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. His photographs can be seen in his gallery –http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/ . His photography prompt book for writers, FROM VISION TO TEXT, is forthcoming from PROPERTIUS PRESS. His novella, HEARTS IN THE DARK, is forthcoming from RUNNING WILD PRESS.


This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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Eve – Amy Wray Irish

Photo: Louis Hansel

When I reach to select the fruit
appearing most plump and ripe
my thumb plunges in, straight through
skin, meat, seeds, core
until it meets my fingers
creating a perfect circle.

Its all beautiful pulp in my palm.
No mold or rot here. I hold
a handful of sweet stickiness,
a shock of soft flesh. The surprise
forces a small ha of breath
to escape me, a moment of delight
that I then extend to you.

Not as temptation. More
as proof. Reflexively, instinctively,
I share this sensation
and offer you connection—
thinking that we share a rib,
a mythology. Any knowledge
for or against this is a fruit
I have yet to bite.


Amy Wray Irish grew up immersed in Chicago’s diverse arts scene, then traded Midwest winters for the Rocky Mountains.  She has been published both online and in print journals, most recently with Punch Drunk Press and Waving Hands (forthcoming).  Irish is a member of Lighthouse Writers, Columbine Poets, and Turkey Buzzard Press; her chapbooks include Creation Stories (2016) and The Nature of the Mother (2019).

This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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Bread in the air – Ashley Howell Bunn

Photo: José Pablo Iglesias

the greatest thing about dishes in the sink is that we have dishes and we have a sink and that I get to wash them when they get crusty and I hate that but there was food enough to be left behind and fungus enough in the air to make the dough rise and that you ate it with butter just like a victorian orphan and we laughed and then all played cards at the table and the greatest thing about the hole in the wall is that it is there and my hand made it and that there was emotion enough to propel it forward and that we are still here in this house and art sometimes covers the hole and sometimes it doesn’t and one time you put your little shoe in the hole never to be seen again and I laughed and I found some old shoes to put on your feet and the greatest thing about that moment is that you have shoes and you have feet


Ashley Howell Bunn is pursuing her MFA in poetry through Regis University where she is also a graduate writing consultant. She reads and helps develop community engagement for the literary journal Inverted Syntax. Her work has previously appeared in The Colorado Sun, the series Head Room Sessions, and others. When she isn’t writing, she teaches and practices yoga and runs a small personal business centered around healing. She lives in Denver, CO with her partner and child.

This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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HOWL – Charles Dalton Telschow

“HOWL” by Charles Dalton Telschow

When the echoes of your neighborhood fall silent, and the wind chimes stop ringing,

Breathe.

There is a time for inhalations and exultations.

Do not forget we are living in history, please make your contribution to the textbooks thoughtfully.

Scribble in the margins of love and hangman’s noises and spirals that go all the way past the page, and remember the process of history that has brought that page into your presence. The tree that fell and was peeled layer by layer and chemically repurposed, to hold your thoughts for you. The weight of its death as it holds the heaviest of your breaths. 

And your breath is so heavy these days. So heave it towards the moon and howl because it’s 8 PM, and this is Denver. We are the echoes that do not fall silent, the porchlight that does not burn out, the PBR that stays cold, even in direct sunlight. 

So carve your truth into the former flesh of your lungs, but do not think it is any truer than the air you would breathe because of these pages. 

How generous of the trees to give us air, just so we can cut them down and write about how beautiful they were. How selfish of us to not tell of how disgusting we were to the beauty of this world. How dare we rewrite the history of our horrors until it shines, but can’t see ourselves in it any more. Hoarding the grace under generic gentrified graffiti, and masks that do nothing to hide the fear in our eyes. 

Remember the imperfection of tree branches, and how they worry not of straight lines and sterile wounds. 

When the echoes of your neighborhood fall silent, and the wind chimes stop ringing, 

Breathe in.

And howl.


Charles Dalton Telschowis a 26 year old Colorado native who is set to release his third self-published book of poetry, “a constellation of sparks”. He has been performing poetry for over ten years and also has been in the local music scene for almost as long. He has a solo music project called “The Polite Heretic”

This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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I Will Wait For You, Little Strawberry – Shelsea Ochoa

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Photo: Andriyko Podilnyk

I will wait for you,
Little strawberry

I knew you when you were just a little flower
With your yellow belly to the sun
I watched you dancing in the wind
Beaming, being, feeding bees
Held by a beautiful mother plant
Her deep roots locked into the wet soil like a complicated code
Her sturdy leafs collecting light for your existence
You have always been almost pure existence

Now, you are a little green bloop of a thing
I love how you hold your seeds on the outside,
Making it very clear to the birds that may eat you
That being delicious comes second
To a purpose beyond a single strawberry

In this crazy world of squirrels and crows
Nothing in life is guaranteed
So I will not wait to enjoy you
Now, as you are
Hard and green and in-between
I enjoy the wait

Just as I enjoyed the idea of you when you were nothing but an idea
I will enjoy the memory of you once only memory remains
And *squeee* maybe one day I will get to take a juicy bite
Of something so sweet and sunkissed and ruby and dazzling and bold and wow and life and pop and slurp and drippy and mmm!

I will wait for you, little strawberry
Just in case I get the chance


Shelsea Ochoa is a creative powerhouse and community activist. She is an improviser, clown, actor, storyteller, howler, teacher, facilitator, and event producer. Sometimes you can find her on Mars teaching kids about space. Other times she is a sheriff solving a murder mystery. More often than not she is cooking surprisingly good meals with ingredients that can be best described as “questionable”. (Written by her friend and biggest fan Danny.)

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This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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Fuck Yes! Souffle – Kevin Quinn Marchman

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Photo: Angel Sinigersky

1. One big ole frying pan. Not just big, but special. You need to decide what shape you want this to come out as. Maybe a stage, or easel or maybe a you-shaped frying pan, but it has gotta be big.

2. Add one cup of vision. Imagine this delicious, gleaming, steaming hot soufflé as the centerpiece.

3. Like, 73 parts preparation. Have each bite, individual flavor and texture of this tasty ass creation mapped out. This ain’t just food, its architecture! Mise-en-place!

4. Vigorously mix that with a dose of expectation and realization. It ain’t gonna look, taste, smell, feel like the picturesque shit you just envisioned. It’s gonna be great, but unexpected. Maybe even better than the meal you had the capacity to imagine at the start of this process.

5. Now you gotta cook. You need a lot of heat. And regular ass fire ain’t gonna cut. No electric, butane, propane or charcoal is gonna cut it. You need some powerful kindling to feed this flame. Pressure, passion, fear, desire, divine inspiration, bullshit, clarity, fun, more fun, frustration, drugs, and love. So much love. Alla dat.

Tip: Cooking time is trickier. You can cook for 1 second or 30 years and still can’t be sure it’s made to satisfaction. Time depends on what you need and when you need it. You can be assured however, that you can always pop that bad boy back in the oven and the flavor is maintained.

Hunger is a gift of priority.
It is felt. It is addressed.
No analysis or doubts are required.
Do not accept morsels when a meal is desired.
Craving is a delicious motivation.

Nourishment is achieved in many ways through many means.

Food for thought or food for soul or simply sustenance.

This dish is garnished with blessings.

Be sure to give thanks.

Most importantly, regardless of shape, ingredients or time…
You must decide the place

and people you wish to share this masterpiece with.


Kevin Quinn Marchman is an actor, producer, teaching artist and writer. He is Co-founder and current Director of Education with the Black Actors Guild. He misses the Denver Nuggets very much and hopes they miss him too.

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This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

Tomato Red – Sophie Cardin

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Photo: Daniele Levis Pelusi

 

give it to me tomato red
spread out like
flour all over the counter
cold on my back

mouths burning with
salsa and impulse

cover me with thyme
and brown sugar

dip your fingertips
in the spice jars and let me guess
what is what and which is which

I am gasping, caffeinated, like
the flame marked moka pot,
older than you, than I,
than us both together,
older than this dance, older

than the mothers, and their
pleasure, and their kitchens
filled with smells

leave me someplace warm
so I can rise, in the sun

want feasts on the body
like yeast, souring
as it chews through wheat

the basil is growing from seed
alongside salvaged potato eyes
which watch our backs

I cover everything in cilantro
but you soap-tongued screw
up your face at the taste of it
so I smear honey on my lips, and
bid you lick it off

I sink my hands, up to the elbow
into containers of rice and beans
fancying rain that won’t come till summer

cool like dried legumes and
fine like grains

I draw pictures
in the coffee grounds
spilt at breakfast

run hot water over my hands
until they are red and pink knuckled
wet and clean


Sophie Cardin is a second-year student studying political philosophy and nonviolent theory at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She was born and raised in Denver. Sophie fell in love with poetry during her early struggles with dyslexia. She is a regular at the Friday Night Poetry Open Mic at the Mercury Cafe and the author of Lust Poems For No One In Particular.

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This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology,
a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Thought For Food Promotional 1