Archives for posts with tag: bread

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How to Make Friends (and leave a trail of crumbs)
by Julia Klatt Singer

Start with a bag of all-purpose flour, some kosher salt, room temperature water.
Mix these with a whisk on your desk, then add the sourdough starter your mother
sent with you back to college. To this college you transferred to, after a year in one
you loved, but so much farther away. Where you were before the pandemic.
Where making friends was as easy as opening your dorm room door, despite
being in Iowa and a tiny college, in a tinier town.

Let the dough rise overnight. Then carry it to the kitchen in the lidded pan
that was your great-grandmother’s. The one she gave to your mother when
she moved into her first apartment. The dough now shaped, it rises again
in a steamy oven. Say hello to the woman you pass in the hall. Say
I’m making bread, when she asks. When Simon from the room next to yours
asks when it will be done, tell him, he will know. He will smell it baking.

When it comes out of the oven, and you and Simon realize you don’t have a knife,
Three other students will go on the search for one. A small group of you now
In the kitchen, you open the peanut butter and jelly and find two spoons.
A small plastic knife is found and you stab it into the loaf, right after taking
a picture of the bread with your phone and sending it to your mother.
Ten minutes later you send her another photo, the bread now, just a heel
and crumbs.

PAINTING: The Basket of Bread by Salvador Dali (1926).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: How to write a How-to Poem . . . Start by thinking about all the things you’ve learned how to do since the pandemic started. How to think about time differently, notice how the light is changing and that you are too. Try to embrace technology, see how it connects you, or a part of you, with the world. Recognize how you have always watched the birds and trees for clues to resilience and beauty. Think about what gives you wings.  Think about where you fly. Start baking bread. Like your mother did when you were a girl. Not the same breads, but bread. Make two loaves and give one away each time you bake. Drop the bread on a neighbor’s porch and drive it across town. Show your son how easy it is to make. Send back starter with him, when he returns to college, mostly because you’ll know he’s eating that way, caring for himself, but also because he enjoys making things with his hands. And when he calls and says thank you, Mom, for sending the starter back with me, I’m meeting so many people by baking bread, realize that this is how to write a poem. Give it time. Let it form and then share it, let it be devoured.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julia Klatt Singer is the poet-in-residence at Grace Nursery School. She is co-author of Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul (Coffee House Press), author of In the Dreamed of Places, (Naissance Press), A Tangled Path to HeavenUntranslatable, (North Star Press), and her most recent chapbook, Elemental (Prolific Press). Audio poems from Elemental are at OpenKim, as the element Sp.  She’s co-written numerous songs with composers Craig Carnahan, Jocelyn Hagen, and Tim Takach.

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HOW TO LIVE ON BREAD AND MUSIC
by Jennifer K. Sweeney

You need not confront the storm
though it comes with its guillotine
of wind and arrows of ice.
Let it come.
Take the wheat in your sage-rubbed hands
and pull out the dull chords.
Fold in Ravel. Hazelnuts.
Fold in the fury,
quarter notes rising from the grain.
These are your hands weighing the earth,
alchemy of salt and scale,
hum of clove bud.
Into the fire your life goes
to work its slow magic
and the song is the yeast
when the body wants
and it wants    fills    empties
as the day    fills    empties.
Song of milk glass.
Song of chaff.
That the thing delivers itself whole
like a blessing.
Feed the animal those brown fields.
Feed the rest of the body any tune,
any note will do.
***
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections: Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), available at Amazon.com, and How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at Amazon.com.Visit the author at jenniferksweeney.com. This remarkable poet offers private instruction and poetry critiques. Learn more here.

Photo: Painted Bread, found at oventv.wordpress.com.