Untitled Haiku – Iris Groot

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.



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

I had a wife and could not keep her – Rhienna Renèe Guedry

Image: Kennet. William Morris, Morris & Co

When you ventured out on
dates with men, we didn’t talk about it
what was there to discuss? It was something you
thought I couldn’t give you
even though my arms were out and so was I
your whole deal was believing yourself to be
too broken to offer your chalice like the
gift of drink it was and not think of curses.
I was always onto you. I played the game—truth or dare,
poison or water, top or bottom— and followed the rules
our friends warned me to take it down a notch to
wait for you to call me for a change.
That’s the thing about the “I told you so’s”
we were as rare as hens’ teeth
ear to a glass against our thin apartment wall
you slipped the l-word in and out then took it
back like the slapping of a bug bite against your shoulder.
I cleared my throat—my heart was so far down it
made the grossest noise to call it back to the cavity where
it belonged ‘cos no one has ever loved you
without a list of reasons why they shouldn’t

Rhienna Renèe Guedry is a writer and artist who found her way to the Pacific Northwest, perhaps solely to get use of her vintage outerwear collection. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Empty Mirror, Bitch Magazine, Screen Door, Scalawag Magazine, Taking the Lane, and elsewhere on the internet. Find more about her projects at rhienna.com or @chouchoot on Twitter.



Black Kitchen – Shane Allison


The bacon sizzles in a silver pot on a spiral top that burns
To a tangerine orange beneath sweet cabbage.

Turn that stove down low, boy!

Collared greens unfurl to the size of elephant ears.
Let the water run rinsing them clean.

Hand me the knife from the drawer.

Get the strainer ready for rice.
Here are the scissors to cut the chittlins’.

They don’t smell as bad over rice,
Doused with hot sauce.

Seasoning salt is drizzled over
Honey- sweet ham.

It’s 6p.m. Time to make the cornbread.
Mama makes the wild berry kool-aid syrupy sweet.

Slices of Aunt Earline’s jelly cake
Lie like dominoes on a plate painted with porcelain roses.

Pork chops in a ceramic bowl
Sit sullenly next to store bought
Sweet potato pies.

I’m in my room writing poetry,
Waiting to sink teeth into chicken breast
While the Superfriends are on mute.

Yall can come on eat now!


Fifteen years old was when Shane Allison wrote his first poem. Since then his poems have appeared in countless kick ass literary journals such as Chiron Review, West Wind Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and others. He is the author of four collections of poetry. His new collection Sweet Sweat is out from Hysterical Books. He is also the author of two novels. Harm Done and You’re the One That I Want. 

#5 April 2020 – Ted Vaca

Photo: Free To Use Sounds


for those that feel

for the mind can not



we hold each other so close
we squeeze

break through the distance
back from the moon
circle around the globe

I sit next to you
you ask me if the canyon spirit
is going to die

we shelter in place
on a small bench
by the fountain
in Civic Center
surrounded by trees

“we have to rely
on ourselves
to keep it alive”
I say

the wind blows
people are howling
and their loneliness
and yearning
for all that they once held
burns through the dusk

you ask me if
i can feel it

“feel what” I ask

“the wild return”
you say

“of what”
I say

“of everything we ever loved
and never could tame”


Ted Vaca Denver poet father lover crime fighter / semi holy somewhat sweet can be bitter / published here and there / Founder of The Mercury Cafe poetry slam / Coach of the 2006 Championship Denver Slam Team / Member of the 1995 Championship Slam Team from Asheville NC / Intergalactic Provocateur


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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

The Mechanics of Food Assistance in a Grocery Store Line – Dennis Etzel Jr.

Photo: Peter Bond

what is taking so long? someone asks
with plastic card in hand
I will still hand over supplemental checks
like nails that board up a boat

I call them life savers out of need
even for these staples
while a scan and rescan of each item
ensures eligibility because even if WIC stickers

are misplaced on the shelves the register
has the final say and I am ready so ready
to turn around if someone gives me the drill
or again remarks it must be nice to get free food

I’ll iron out their words with my defenses
hey I’m a working professor and father
adding how I qualify as poor how my wife and I
were drilled at the food assistance office

hammered by every question
from someone who speaks in the tone
of a kindergarten teacher so my boys
will have food at the end of the month

unlike so many children in this town
even the retired chaplain who overheard
kids could get a free lunch
said why don’t they get a job


Dennis Etzel Jr. lives in Topeka, Kansas with Carrie and the boys where he teaches English at Washburn University. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others.


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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

My Mother’s Recipe – Jovan Mays & Mallary McHenry Jr.

Photo: Emma Frances Logan

When we were young
we didn’t appreciate our mother’s cooking.
We would stare at the plate
willing broccoli to GO AWAY.
But today is different.

I remember hearing Cindy Lawrie
ask for the recipe of her favorite dish
& my mother explained
that she could not duplicate this.
This was my mother’s bread of sorrows.

I remember it.
She said,
“when makin’ sweet bread
we need a bowl the size of Birmingham.
Make sure it’s not segregated
I want everyone to feast.”

She would say,
“My butter was churned by hand.
Milked from my motherland.
Takin’ the same milk of my history,
diluting my people to livestock,
skimming off the backs of blacks
to build Antebellum houses
that made the South
want to rise again like cornbread.”

She wasn’t just a cook in that kitchen.
Full time doctor-alchemist-magician.
She could make that cream
cook, cleanse, & cure.

When friends asked her about margarine,
She laughed, said
“Margarine is made of pretty things”
40 acres & a mule,
equality, reparations,
straight hair, & freedom.
Things that just were not real.

So no!
She did not use margarine
She used butter
thick, unrelenting,
get-all-over-everything butter.
the kind you have to strain to bind.

Like sitting in the back of balconies & buses.
“Churn it”
Like having dry ice thrown at her
because she was a different type of sugar.
“Churn it more”

Sometimes she would have to take over for me.
Because I didn’t understand that she was erasing the past with
Every. Single. Agitation.
Wondering why she would tear up.
“You have to churn it, boy!”

‘Till the south is too suppressed to rise.
‘Till it’s white & entitled
like Bull Connor’s tank in an all-black neighborhood.
Like them shepherds k9’s sinking into our skin.

“Beat it!
So they can’t see the darkness in this meal.
Beat it!
Like a white hood just appeared in this room.
Let me show you how painful this is.”

& she refuses to forget,
because going through restaurant drive-thru windows
still feels like you’re going around the back.

& you wonder why you need water to wash this down.
Because if you didn’t, you would feel the countless
Butter-worth Jemimas climbing your esophagus
with wooden spoons & spatulas.

Wash it down
until your gut feels like a hull.
Bet you didn’t know that in the belly of your ship
there were grunts paddling your digestion
no wonder it’s called the Middle Passage.

To this day I wonder what kept her
cooking for friends like Cindy Lawrie.
What kept her from back handing them every time
they asked her “Alfreda what did you put in this?”
or “Mrs. McHenry” can I get that recipe?”

She would always say,
“Give thanks to God for all things”
The good & the bad.
Martin Luther King Jr. & James Earl Ray.
John Brown & Jim Crow.
Shining steeples & burnt crosses.

makes her flour.
It’s forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t big on measuring.
Forgiveness isn’t big on accuracy.
Just like my momma.

A pinch of salt here.
Like her father waiting
at Sears and Roebucks until
closing before whites would
let him buy clothes.

A sprinkle of sugar there.
Her remembering the day
she was allowed to enter a library
alongside white people.

In the spirit of Nat Turner, Emmet Till, 4 little girls.
Momma is whisking together gender & race.
Hopes & dreams.
The past to the present.

& the secret, she told us was,
“Son, just keep tasting
‘till you get the flavor you want.
Until, there are no more tears.
Just keep tasting
until the anger becomes harmonious.
Just keep tasting
until the sadness becomes savory.
Just. Keep. Tasting.”

But this isn’t store bought processed white bread.
& now Cindy Lawrie you can have this recipe.
But you still can’t make this dish


Mallary McHenry Jr. (Poet Without Apology) and Jovan Mays were members of  Denver’s Slam Nuba, a nationally ranked poetry slam team. Both have a mutual passion for poetry and helping those in need.  “My Mother’s Recipe” is a poem dedicated to Mrs. McHenry and all the women who grew up feeling the weight of Jim Crow. Their life experiences cooked into every meal and their recipes cannot be duplicated without understanding the struggles that made them


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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

Alphabet Soup – Nate Ragolia

Image: Kon Karampelas

Buried corn spilt milk
What good is a food system
when it doesn’t feed?

Can you believe it? We’re actually throwing away tens of millions of pounds of fresh vegetables, fruits? We’re doing it because “it can’t be moved” and “nothing is EVER free.” But couldn’t we make some Alphabet Soup? Job the jobless, move the food, set a new goal that if we have so much that we’d trash it we’d be smarter and kinder and truer to Greatness by finding every open mouth and grumbling gut and filling them with sustenance—if rarely meaning, here—because there’d be at least one bold checkmark in the WIN column? Think of the Ratings! MILLIONS RE-EMPLOYED TO DO SOMETHING PURPOSEFUL, MILLIONS MORE NOT STARVING IN THE CORNERS AND NOOKS OF OUR PREPOSTEROUS OPULENCE.

Oh, The Supply Chain!
Chickens dead, landfills filling
Waste not? Want! Always.

nate & rocket

Nate Ragolia is Co-Founder of Spaceboy Books LLC., a Denver-based indie sci-fi press. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of BONED: A Collection of Skeletal Writings. His two books, There You Feel Free and The Retroactivist express his ongoing frustrations with economic systems designed to leave people behind. And he’s hopeful that things can still be changed for the better in his lifetime.


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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

How the Sunflower Practices a Distancing – Maria S. Picone

Photo: Mona Eendra

Fortifying her core, she sips a poverty of water,
muting the fresh-corn brilliance of her body
with white curtains. She awaits a joy bobbin
to hover at her concentric breast. She knows
a scarred Saturday implies renewal.
Instincts tell her: wait, respire, listen.
Turning her face skyward, she takes
her mother’s gifts: rain, the hum of bees.

Picone Headshot

Maria S. Picone has an MFA from Goddard College. She’s interested in cultural issues, identity, and memory. As a Korean adoptee in an Italian American family and a New Englander, her obsessions with noodles, seafood, and the ocean are hardly her fault. Her poetry appears in Homestead Review, Ariel Chart, Headline Poetry, Mineral Lit Mag, and Route 7 Review. Her Twitter is @mspicone, and her website is mariaspicone.com.


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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

An Other Revolution – Yuan Changming

Photo: Alp Ancel

As giant ants march ahead in nightly arrays
Demonstrating against the ruling humans
Along the main street of every major city
Hordes of hordes of vampires flood in, screaming
Aloud, riding on hyenas and
Octopuses, waving skeletons
In their hairy hands, whipping at old werewolves
Or all-eyed aliens standing by
With their blood-dripping tails

Gathering behind the masses are ghosts and spirits
Of all the dead, victims of fatal diseases
Murders, rapes, tortures, wars, starvation, plagues
Led by deformed devils and demons
As if in an uprising, to seek revenge
On every living victor in the human shape
Some smashing walls and fences, others
Barbecuing human hearts like inflated frogs
Still others biting at each other’s soul around black fires
All in a universal storm of ashes and blood

Up above in the sky is a red dragon flying by
With a heart infected by the human virus


Yuan Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include  ten Pushcart nominations, Jodi Stutz Award in Poetry (2020) & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others across 45 countries. 


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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1


Things you don’t say at the dinner table, which in my case growing up was anything. – Bruce Sterling

Image: Federica Campanaro

I avoided speaking for fear of communication
or maybe humiliation.
I didn’t know how to talk
or specifically
to speak their language without reprisal.

Slipping up in our household was tantamount to losing
and losing was bad
and bad is how I felt
for much of my life.
See shame runs deep
in my family
coincidentally is quite a shame.

Image may contain: 1 person

Who is this Bruce Sterling character? Some call him philosopher, some call him dad. Nobody calls him a poet but that doesn’t stop him from crafting lines into something just about good enough to read. Without any formal training he seems to hold his own at the beloved Writer’s Block’s weekly writing events. He’s known to say, “Spending time with the poetry community is the only sane thing to do in this world. It fosters creativity, acceptance and huge amounts of love and frankly not much else matters.” Bruce is published in Spit Poet and Writer’s Block zines.

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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1