Category Archives: Poetry

Love Letter in a Lecture Hall

I don’t write very much poetry, and I don’t publish most of it here (The Donut Shop, Natchez, Mississippi to the contrary). Wednesday night, I was sitting in my U.S. Intellectual History 1865-Present lecture, listening to a talk about James Baldwin and company, when I felt inspired to jot down a quick poem. Its tangential commitment to food makes it appropriate for this website (which I suspect will be publishing more content with no relationship to food whatsoever soon).

Love Letter in a Lecture Hall

she smelled like tandoor and buttered nan
thick curry, chaat, chutney, paneer

[in electric lecture halls
the press of flesh and coffee cups make
mapping scent
like finding fiends in cham cham clouds]

she held a blue Bic and I loved it
Dear Blake, she wrote, her face obscured
behind my blinkers,
stewed love in secret pots.

Love told can be
scratched out before
the pumping pause of hearts unhinged.

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Filed under Columbia University, Poetry

The Donut Shop, Natchez, Mississippi

The morning is greasy.
The Donut Shop is where John R. Junkin Drive meets Lower Woodville.
The gray is braless and fat and ready for rain.

(Two nurses from the Natchez Regional Medical Center came for breakfast:
Two hundred glazed balloons
deflating behind bulletproof glass)

I ate a stuffed porcupine skin: caramel, maple, cinnamon dough.
I suffocated the rain with my coffee, and the nurses waiting inside their cars
for two boxes. After the rain the morning was a luminousgreaseball
expanding like a hot air ballon
rising along her curvature to float
breathless, a Galilean moon. Gravity
could not hold me—just a tunic of muscular mucous
aroused underneath her diaphragm.

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Filed under Poetry, Travel