The Poet Spiel

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to

Artwork by Gene McCormick


six plate-size blueberry pancakes,
a half dozen eggs sunny side up
and a pound of bacon and sausage
serve as little more than a prompt
for a couple of fresh baked apples
drenched in cinnamon and butter
to start your day.

four fun-size baby ruth candy bars,
six butterfingers and one snickers bar
plus another baked apple
are only a prelude to
one whole bag of potato chips and
one cup of salty peanuts bathed in sugar —
not enough

to pacify your need to bite
into something that will satisfy
the rip and tear with teeth
your dentist has sharpened twice
in the past six months
because your penchant
for chewing has worn them down.

so you thaw a slab of pork loin
then slather it with honey sauce
and bake it in the same pan
you’ve used to bake the dozen apples
and turkey breasts you finished off
yesterday before the sun went down,
then topped that with your usual bedtime snack
of a bag of popcorn with catsup.

at noon you choke on soy free gluten free no wheat
angel hair noodles twisted round your uvula.
soon as your gagging fit ceases
you gulp a twelve ounce glass of milk
then shove down two large meatballs —
make that three or four, five or six
if you’ve got extras

all day every day and night
each bite of anything
persuades your saliva to bathe
the next bite of whatever
you’ve got ready-to-eat
in your pantry, fridge
and nuts and candy jars.

so look out
mister 300 pound footballer
with thighs like a side of beef,
if you wander into view,
be advised a fork and butcher knife
are in hand.


The Poet Spiel is a master at risk taking an uncertain world where, harboring the visceral paranoia that accompanies surveillance at our every turn, we wish everything would turn out OK but we are too often disappointed to find out that it does not. Spiel's most recent book, "Dirty Sheets: 28 stories of passion, pathos and payback" is published by Rain Mountain Press.