Monday, April 18, 2011
Celebrating Poetry: What's That Smell in the Kitchen?
by Marge Piercy
All over America women are burning dinners.
It's lambchops in Peoria: it's haddock
in Providence; it's steak in Chicago:
tofu delight in Big Sur; red rice and beans in Dallas.
All over America women are burning food they're supposed to bring with calico smile on
platters glittering like wax.
Anger sputters in her brainpan, confined but spewing out missiles of hot fat.
Carbonized despair presses like a clinker
from a barbecue against the back of her eyes.
If she wants to grill anything, it's
her husband spitted over a slow fire.
If she wants to serve him anything it's a dead rat with a bomb in its belly ticking like the
heart of an insomniac.
Her life is cooked and digested,
nothing but leftovers in Tupperware.
Look, she says, once I was roast duck
on your platter with parsley but now I am Spam.
Burning dinner is not incompetence but war.
from Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy
I'm a poetry novice, and this one has left me speechless. Anger is not an emotion I tend to associate with poetry. But, why not? Poetry gives voice to a wide range of feelings with keen and often profound insight. When I read this to my husband, he responded "How about take-out tonight, dear?"
April is National Poetry Month. I'm posting a poem each week in celebration.