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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

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.

Thought For Food Promotional 1

I Will Wait For You, Little Strawberry – Shelsea Ochoa

1
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.)

1

cropped-imageedit_3_3022794780.png

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

Fuck Yes! Souffle – Kevin Quinn Marchman

1
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.

1

cropped-imageedit_3_3022794780.png

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

FOR THE WANT OF YOU – Liza Sparks

1
Photo: Alexis Fauvet

I am shaking for the want of you
I am sweating for the want of you
I am biting my bottom lip

I am casting spells for the want of you
I am planting seeds for the want of you
I am drinking love potions

I am sewing & mending for the want of you
I am writing heart songs for the want of you
I am kissing trees

I am dancing in meadows for the want of you
I am spinning silly for the want of you
I am howling at the moon

I am eating honey & dates so you’ll be sweet for me
I am lighting candles so you’ll burn for me
I am writing your name over & over again
I am sipping spirits to intoxicate you with me
I am tying strings together to connect you with me
I am tracing your name on my skin

I am chanting your name into my garden
I am whispering your name into the wind
I am drumming your name into the mountain
I am throwing coins into wells
I am making wishes on stars
I am praying to any amulet, any symbol, any god that will listen
all for the want of you


Liza Sparks (she/her/hers) is an intersectional feminist writer, poet, early childhood educator, and creative. She is a brown-multiracial-pansexual-woman living and writing in Colorado and is currently an editor for Dirt Media. Liza holds her BA in poetry from Colorado College and attended on an El Pomar Scholarship for leadership and civic engagement; she also holds an MA from Goddard College in community education (with a concentration in early childhood). Liza was a finalist for Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop Emerging Writer Fellowship in Poetry in 2020 and 2019; and was a semifinalist for Button Poetry’s Chapbook Contest in 2018. She has been published with Spit Poet Zine, South Broadway Ghost Society, Tiny Spoon, Stain’d Arts, Suspect Press, and Cosmonauts Avenue. You can find more of her work on Instagram @sparksliza534 or lizasparks.com.

1
Photo Credit: Nick Velharticky @nvthepix

imageedit_3_3022794780

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

 

Untitled Haiku – Iris Groot

1
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.

1

imageedit_3_3022794780

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

Love in the Time of Covid – Stina French

1
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.


StinaFrencheadshot3

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. 

imageedit_3_3022794780

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

#5 April 2020 – Ted Vaca

1
Photo: Free To Use Sounds

 

for those that feel

for the mind can not
…………..touch

you

me

we hold each other so close
we squeeze
merge

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”


1

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

imageedit_3_3022794780

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.

1
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


FB_IMG_1592090649771

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.

imageedit_3_3022794780

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

Bacon – Caleb Ferganchick

1

It is 6AM on a Monday
and I am standing in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
On any other Monday I would have recognized this obscurity
as the manic episode it is, pop a hydroxyzine
to ease the crushing anxiety of false optimism
washing over me like the covers I’d pull back
over my body until the doctor could see me again.
I’ve learned my emotions are like Mondays,
tidal waves that roll over me with a force I cannot control,
and I don’t know if its these smoker’s lungs
or a lifetime of coping mechanisms that never keep me afloat,
but swimming is an exercise
that has always resulted in drowning.

But on this particular Monday,
Love slinks out of the bedroom.

Love slinks out of the bedroom with the audacity to be perfect,
with tousled hair and sleep clinging to his eyes
that makes me fear perhaps I grasped too tightly in the night,
clasped on to his body like a buoy in the harbor
former sailors have mistaken for their sanctuary,
intending to restore their masts on the days when sunshine implores me
to be the band-aid on the world’s sails, only to hoist them up
in the gale of my storm ridden seas in search of calmer waters.

I am worried that if I share these things with Love
my words will flash like beams of light permeating
from some rocky outpost, imploring him to heed the warning
of ships drowned by waves that rose with no warning.

But Love’s smile breaks the shivering dawn
and he plants a weary kiss on my lips as if to say,
“Let’s be castaways together.”

I think that maybe, on this particular Monday,
it’s very possible Love and mania are the same.
I think that maybe, instead of medicating Love,
I want to cook him breakfast.

I think so what if I rarely have the resolve
to care for my own body, so what
if my queer is not culinary inclined?

I remember how it struck me suddenly
that he was a sunflower suspended
on an endless seascape horizon,
and what is a poet’s lot in life
save to nurture flowers?

Somewhere between the rich soil of black coffee beans
and the scramble of whipping eggs
I manage to burn the bacon.

The lighthouse is now a smoke alarm.

The ocean an iron skillet.

Monday is a Monday.

It is 6AM.

But Love,
Love eats the bacon anyway


1

Caleb Ferganchick is a queer slam poet residing in Grand Junction, CO. He is the self-published author of “Poetry Heels.” His work gravitates toward gender and sexuality expression, LGBTQI+ liberation, trauma, and mental health, though he is currently exploring nature writing inspired by rural Western Colorado through a children’s book series. Ferganchick hosts an annual poetry slam competition in Grand Junction, “Slamming Bricks,” during Colorado West Pride’s Festival in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. When he is not writing, Ferganchick works for a non-profit organization dedicated to ending youth homelessness, and as a high school speech and debate coach.

imageedit_3_3022794780

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