Saturday, December 17, 2016

Never Had

Your grandmother would say  
his nose could chew its way out of a dense fog
or pea soup
or pea soup with ham and alpha bits of seconal. 
True, you added that last part 
because one of the following:

  1. You never really cared for your grandmother, but she seemed like a classy enough broad to swallow her oppression and sleep off the entirety of the 1950s with her head in an oven, unwittingly quoting Plath. 
  2. You never really cared for pea soup but read in a Buzzfeed listicle that William Jennings Bryan ate only pea soup laced with barbiturates while getting over the gold standard. 
  3. You think soup and barbiturates would be the theme for the greatest holiday party never had.
  4. You dated the bassist for the Japanese scream metal band Soup and Barbiturates in your early twenties.

And on mornings like this
when your toast has yet to settle,
you wonder if his collapsed lung
or fear of skydiving ever held him back
the way you thought it would. 

Posting this in response to Kerry's challenge over at Toads. The mission, write a poem in less than 25 lines using the poem "A Wolf" by Jorge Luis Borges as a reference. I had never read that poet before and was most struck by how well he captured the interplay of command and futility: how we can be in control, but still fall to the larger swirl-whirl of other forces. 

As always, work in progress....feel free to offer constructive feedback on how to improve. All poems on this blog are posted for that purpose.  Thanks. 


  1. I always love to read your unique angle on any topic. You have a most singular vision of what it means to live in the present, or perhaps to live just in the vaguely conceived future. Your style takes post-modern to the next level.
    Here is introspection gone awry, when our ancestor's wisdom has deserted us and breakfast barely sticks.
    Thanks for participating, Izy.

  2. That's the thing about pea soup (and living), we can only taste it with our own lips. We might taste the memory of another, their wisdom and such... But in the end, our mouths will be the ones doing the eating.

  3. The pea soup contains a peace. But maybe that's a coincidence just as we might have accepted past without really seeing the connection to the present. Then with past and present unstitched and Internet at our fingertips, it's easy to get lost and getting stuck on toast. Love your unique way of presenting this.

  4. Brilliant, especially the last stanza.

  5. Surreal and post modern are just dance partners in the slosh of pilled up soup on America's ballroom floor, I suppose, and all the shallow sipping to beat the heat and scorch of it just as futile as drowning in the oven-breath of social media's other aliens. Fine fine writing, Izy.

  6. I find the form intriguing and the conversational tone invigorating. Had to smile at the grandmother with her head in the oven through all of the 50's. Hope she made it to the 70's when women threw over the traces.

  7. I'm a pea soup lover. Hated it until Betty Crocker taught me to make it correctly.
    Love your style

  8. Clear as pea soup, my father would say. Which is to say, I love both the clarity and the obtuse-ness of this piece.

  9. I agree with Sherry - the quotes and flashbacks and the jolt to "now" is intriguing

  10. Amazing. Each line was a hand slap from a different direction. Here in New Orleans, you usually have to pay good money for that kind of treatment.

  11. Life never goes in a straight line. There are times I have been to blind to see through the pea soup.

  12. fantastic and absurd. elegant. obsidian-sharp. ~

  13. aha so this is where you've been hiding (have been wondering why I couldn't access your blog and now see you have a new shiny one from which to dazzle us)

    I can only (less poetically) echo Kerry's words above and comments I'm sure I've left several times over - you have a such a brilliant precision to your writing which adds so much depth that the page is often at risk of crumbling under the pressure of supporting such great lines. I also love how you've structured this with the test like aside ~ it reads like a daydream caught midflight. surreally modern in scope and outlook

  14. I used to luv peas soup from childhood to a few ages ago.
    I don't have much of it, more salads now.

    Nice prompt equally nice poem

    much love...