a hunger that
will split a hair—
then hunger till
the head is gone—
Laura Wendorff is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She has been published in several journals, most recently Spillway and Schuylkill Valley Journal. Wendorff’s essay “Worth The Risk: Writing Poetry About Children With Special Needs” was nominated for a Best of the Net Award and the Pushcart Prize.
Endika Sangroniz is a 21-year-old singer/songwriter and poet from the Basque Country, Spain. Last year, he wrote his first full-length collection of poems entitled ‘Songs That Can’t Be Sung’, which is still to be published. Endika’s poems tend to be much rawer and darker than his songs, shattering the classic structures.
Being white and having attended a few
racial justice meetings where the talk
is of cultivating authentic relationships
with people of color, I asked a black co-worker
if he’d like to come over for dinner. He answered
my question with a question of his own: “Why?
I mean, it’s not like we’re friends or anything.”
“Well, I’m trying to cultivate,” I recited,
“more authentic relationships with people
of color.” He made a face. “Cultivate?
As in, your garden? As in, you want some more
purple eggplants, some more token negritude
in the pale, pathetic, privileged patch that is
your life?” Ouch. He wasn’t going to make this
easy. Lean into the discomfort, I remembered
them saying at the racial justice meetings
in the suburb where I live, where a person of color
is as rare as a white eggplant among the aubergines.
“Not token,” I said, smiling and wincing
at the same time. “For real.” And it felt a little like
asking someone out on a date, someone
a little out of my league. “The real question,” he said,
stroking his chin in a pensive attitude, then twirling
his imaginary mustache while sizing up my imaginary
chef’s hat, “is what’s for dinner? Something
toothsome, I hope.” And he gave me his beautiful teeth.
Paul Hostovsky‘s tenth book of poetry, LATE FOR THE GRATITUDE MEETING, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. His poems have won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net awards, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. Website: paulhostovsky.com
All food is 80 percent water,
a doctor once told me.
When you think about it,
it has to be.
I thought about it:
I didn’t think it had to be.
I’m a theological libertarian:
God could do anything she wanted.
All food could be like Jell-O,
which might be a better plan
for no toast stuck in the throat;
or bricks, for that matter;
Bad BBQs prove we’d survive that
If you think about it.
I had a smarty girlfriend
who used the same phrase,
like: Marriage is the most
logical manner of living for humans,
if you think about it.
I thought about it.
I didn’t think it had to be.
I live single and alone now.
A seventh generation Pittsburgher, Jay Carson taught at Robert Morris University for many years. He is the author of the books, Irish Coffee, (Coal Hill Review) and The Cinnamon of Desire, (Main Street Rag) as well as more than 100 poems and 4 short stories in journals, magazines, and collections.