Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Pastry Poet

I used to work with a pastry woman named Gilson, and she became a dear friend of mine.

When OUR careers got to the point that we chose separate paths, we still committed to meeting together.

More often than not we'd meet, drink coffee and exchange poems with one another.

These moments were the spring board for what would later be refereed to as the Kitchen Poets Vault.

The KPV became a collective of Food Industry people that merged with the Twin Cities literary crowd.

Over the years the KPV has hosted readings in bakeries, sponcered pot lucks, and baked pizzas together in brick ovens.

None of this would have ever started if Gilson hadn't inspired me with her powerful work.

OK, this poem (written by her), in my opinion, depicts her voice.


Wearing a disposable infant diaper

Her cat lies on the bakery office floor staring blankly

He is at once ethereal and macabre

Mary Margaret rolls out puff pastry across the long floured table

Plastic credit has been used to pay

For the blood transfusions, the forced feedings

He is the mate of her soul and she will not see him dead

She says it is that time of the month again, the flow heavy, the cramps painful

Customers have complained about the chocolate chip cookies

So she makes a new batch, the same larded recipe of her grandmother

She tells them that these are made of butter believing they cannot tell the difference

She is the first of four Marys, the sisters to four Joesphs

Slowly each cupcake is lifted

The frosting massaged over the top again and again

She thinks this is the love but it is really desperation

She moves across the kitchen, La Tortuga, her steps sluggish and slow

During the long nights in front of the ovens

She drinks the boxed wine purchased to make the soup stock

The freckled Irish morning face has dulled and slackened

She says sorry she forgot to take the bread dough out of the cooler last night

The cat dies, the customers do not return and this morning

She lies drunk on the cafe floor

The croissants crushed, the cakes in the pastry case upside down

She is bare, the contents of her stomach on the bathroom floor, left for the angels to clean


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