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.

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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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Ripe Apples – Jessica Rigney

Photo: Oxa Roxa

You make of me a magician—
a laborer supplicant and servant
as I bring the corners of the cloth

together and know you see—
know of your marveling at my hands and
how they come together. It is I

who fashions a new heart each morning
awake to ripe apples which appear
inside the curve of my arm as though

I’d gathered them in my sleep.
Reveries write themselves upon the day
I say. Prefiguring every kindness falling

at my feet. By night they are siphon
for the sorrow tonguing my boots.
You make of me a witness—

stalwart bearer of deprivations
of sleep as I peel carrots at midnight
and know your eyes follow the line

of my shoulder to elbow to wrist and
how they work together still. It is you
who with your arms unloosening

‘round the waste of me lost beyond
these endless unnamed days—you
who magics the seasons back from before

the stay.
Name not I, but the it which is this.
I say.


Jessica Rigney is a poet, artist, and filmmaker. She is poetjess on Instagram.

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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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.

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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.

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Untitled Haiku – Iris Groot

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Image: Kupono Kuwamura

I wish I could say
I left you behind when I
drove across country

 


Iris Groot is a non-binary artist in Aurora. Driving from city to city for poetry. Meeting amazing and skilled artist. So they have created a Facebook group called poetry people where everyone comes together to share poetry.

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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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Love in the Time of Covid – Stina French

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Photo: Becky Mattson

Before you got laid off, you worked for Enterprise,
with no sick leave and no wage protection.

You said even the car rentals in Italy were open.
Your roommate feared you’d infect her.
You were the only one who had to leave for work.
You were the only person of color in your house.

You aren’t afraid to die, but, older than you, I am.
In Milan, lines of hearses haul coffins to cremation.
Their drivers can’t stay home, either:
hospitals have no more room to burn bodies.

During a virtual appointment one week into quarantine,
my doctor says a newly diagnosed thyroid disease
puts me in the at-risk group.
She says, don’t become inflamed.

I am putting out fires inside other fires,
but you keep your cool.
You’re out there somewhere,
listening to sunrise.
It feels like I had to shut the door
before you got inside.

We don’t know how long it will be this way.
Sometimes we walk the dog, 6-feet apart,
not holding hands or hugging.
We sleep real late;
we howl at eight;
we send video of ourselves cumming.
I make careful grocery lists,
ask for rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes.
You deliver.

I don’t touch anything you bring
until it’s wiped or sits three days,
but this morning,
my mouth knew your love
as a mango it didn’t ask for.


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Stina French writes mystery, magic-realism, flash memoir, and poetry.  She’s featured in many Colorado venues, and her work has appeared in Heavy Feather Review, Punch Drunk Press, and the podcast Witchcraftsy. She is scratching at the window of her body, writing poems like passwords to get back in.  To get forgived. To get at something like the truth. To get it to go down easy, or at all.  She wears welts from the Bible Belt, her mother’s eyes in the red fall.  She’s gone, hypergraphic.  Writes on mirrors, car windows, shower walls.  Buy her a drink or an expo marker. 

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This poem is from our first print collection
of poetry,  “Thought For Food”, an anthology
benefiting Denver Food Rescue. To support
our fundraiser, please visit this link.

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