The Glad Sounds of Eating

To eat is human, for it is then
that we are truly revealed,
putting our mouths around
what will become ourselves.

Yet how rarely is it depicted in art
in full gaping, masticating detail.
Instead, we get paintings of fruit or soup cans
or people gabbing around a table
while ignoring gustatory delicacies in plain view.

You would think Edward Hopper could have
shown the two women actually
eating some chop suey.

And would it have killed Norman Rockwell
to include among those grateful Americans
gleefully greeting their turkey
a chubby little boy in the corner
stuffing his face with dinner rolls?

All those paintings of the Last Supper?
Forget it. There’s nary a nibble,
not even from Judas before heading out
for the evening.

Thank goodness for Bruegel
who knew a peasant wedding feast
when he saw one, with real people
chowing down and licking their fingers.
You can hear the glad sounds of eating.

But there is no joy in Goya’s
Saturn Devouring His Son,
as a wild-eyed Saturn grasps his son’s body
like a Big Mac,
its pale limp buttocks
hanging below white knuckles,
to take another bloody bite.

I guess that’s why Goya left his painting
not for show but on the plaster wall
of his dining room
and why so few painters
elected to portray the darker things
that go on at dinnertime.

First published in Better Than Starbucks: Poetry and Fiction Journal, May 2021 https://betterthanstarbucks.wixsite.com/may2021

Poems on YouTube

Hello, Poetry Fans. I’ve added some more videos of my poems to my YouTube channel. You can view them here  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeWF_NGRUvaYrsLurYc6p7g

If you enjoy them, please share and/or subscribe. More to come. Stay well.

Learning to Feel

Learning to Feel by Gene Twaronite

First we must learn
to read the signals
then record them
in neural maps
of the self
to tell us which
emoticons to use

Some things are
easy to read
like two old friends
anger and fear
who barge in
without notice
and never want
to leave

Growing older
we learn to read
more complex signs
as the map grows
bigger and the self
moves out into
the world

We learn guilt
embarrassment
and shame
noting their every
stinging detail
learning how
to finesse
and suppress them
when the cost of
feeling becomes
too dear

We learn what
love is by
the marks it
leaves on us

We learn to
feel the pain
of another
and how to
make it ours

We learn to
listen for
the gentle rap
when joy
comes calling

And I will learn
when you are gone
there are
no signals
to tell me
what to feel

First published in The Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Issue #2 https://issuu.com/jlederman/docs/j2_final?fr=sM2EyZDI5ODMyNzU

A Street Named Wherever

My prose poem was just published in the quarterly Burningword Literary Journalhttps://burningword.com/2021/01/a-street-named-wherever/

Burningword is a quarterly publication focusing on emerging and established writers of poetry, short fiction, and short nonfiction, as well as artists creating original photography and digital art. Burningword has been published continuously since June 2000.

What the Gargoyle Sees

My new poetry collection What the Gargoyle Sees has just been published by Kelsay Books. It’s a wide-ranging sci-fi collection of my poems ranging from science fiction and fantasy to myth, horror, and fairy tale retellings. Here’s a short review from the back cover:

What the Gargoyle Sees pairs creative settings with a realist’s eye—the book is full of moving poems that put Twaronite’s contemporary sensibility in settings rooted in myth, history, and invention. From the interstellar to the metaphysical, the poems take their occasions imaginatively—but rarely remain in the imagination alone. Instead, Twaronite melds the fabular with the particulars of lived experience. What the gargoyle truly sees, in the end, is the world we’ve made. It is what I like most about these poems: the way they start in the ether but find meaning in the heart.  

Tyler J. Meier, Executive Director, University of Arizona Poetry Center

Find out more about the book here: https://kelsaybooks.com/products/what-the-gargoyle-sees?_pos=1&_sid=201fac46e&_ss=r

Loved to Madness

My prose poem “Loved to Madness” was just published in the beautiful online journal Roanoke Review.  http://www.roanokereview.org/poetry2020/gene-twaronite

The poem is based on short story I wrote years ago that was also published in a literary journal and eventually published in my book Approaching Wilderness. Six Stories of Dementia. I loved the many images in this story and wanted to compress them into the fewest words. Hence this poem.

Doppelganger

Two years ago, I was sitting in a crowded rooftop bar in Manhattan (sigh) when the bartender leaned over to tell me I was her doppelganger. I had to quickly access my memory banks to make sure I had the right meaning. It’s not exactly a word I hear a lot, especially when it’s from a young woman referring to me. I dedicate this poem to her, in hopes she is well wherever she may be. You can read it here on page 5 of the latest issue of Tipton Poetry Journal, where it has just been published https://issuu.com/tiptonpoetryjournal/docs/tpj45

A Re-imagined America

As we celebrate this day of our national birth, let us re-imagine the country we claimed to be and the country we need to be. I can think of no better anthem to America than this poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes. Let it ring out across the land!

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.