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

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

An Eye-Pleasing Assemblage

A former out-of-print bookseller, I have always been fascinated by the descriptions used to sell books. I have observed that, as the rarity of the book increases, so does the flowery language dealers employ in seeking truly stratospheric prices for them. And I decided that there might be a poem there. The result is this poem you can read here: http://star82review.com/7.4/twaronite-assemblage.html

The Yellow Snake

By Gene Twaronite

I can take you further than a ship. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The Little Prince

I liked him from the start.
People don’t stop and talk
with snakes anymore, especially
about things that matter.

He wished to go home to
his little planet and the vain
silly rose he loved
more than life itself.

He asked me about my poison
and thought I was his savior.
But I wanted only to tell him a story
to live in for a time and forget.

He tried to make me bite,
but I slipped past him in a yellow flash.
I saw him faint and fall to the sand.
But he did not die.

He thought his body was
too heavy and his planet too far.
He thought he needed poison
to leave behind his mortal shell.

But he had everything he needed,
right there inside of him.
As he made his little planet live for me,
so he made it live again for himself.

And you don’t need a snake for that.

First published in New Myths https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/poems/the-yellow-snake

A Little Planet of My Own

I Just finished rereading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince. It is a book I have returned to many times, and I always find something new there. To those who think of this as merely a story for children, think again. It is a story that works on so many levels it defies classification. If you have somehow made it into adulthood without ever reading it, I urge you to find a copy before it is too late and you lose all connection to your childhood and turn into a fossil.

Here’s a poem I wrote after my recent visit with the prince:

My planet is a trifle bigger than
the one the Little Prince lives on.
Instead of just three, it has
a dozen volcanoes which erupt
in iridescent salute every time I
visit and never need cleaning.
Mine has a waterfall that falls
straight up into the sky where
the stars are always laughing.
There are baobab trees by
the score with roots going
deep as they please without
breaking up the place
and not a single sheep
to menace my one silly rose
visible only with the heart
who speaks to me when I’m sad.
And one yellow snake
when I want to go home.

First published in the literary journal Star*Line Fall 2019

“Mortal Danger” and Two Other Poems Published

My poem “Mortal Danger” and two other poems were just published here at The RavensPerch. At the end of the poem, go to “Next” in the right hand corner to read the other two poems.

Perceptible Increments

When I first started writing this poem, I had no idea where it would take me. I knew only that I had to follow. It showed me the way to write about something I was afraid to address in my poetry, even though it is an issue I care deeply about. Read it here:
http://sisyphuslitmag.org/2019/04/perceptible-increments/