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bread: a poem & a broadside

September 18, 2008

i see him when he’s making bread mostly
he doesn’t see me
he is relaxed focused
elegant in his motions
smooth waltz with the dough

he is young and beautiful
smooth cheeked girl slim
i imagine him bringing me bread
warm the bread is warm and crunchy and soft
flour dusts his blue jeans and plaid flannel shirt
the scent of warm bread on his breath
in his brown hair

i wouldn’t want to wash his clothes
wouldn’t want to wash the bread smells from him
he can’t smell it anymore but i
would wrap myself in his bread clothes
understand his life
what he does with his days

the baking of bread i understand this i understand
his rhythm his motion
he would have time to think
his feet would be tired his back
i would knead him
smell the bread smells in my hands

a baker’s life starts early
he would leave the warm bed for the bakery
through the window he can see the dawn
see the children cross the street to school
see them on saturday play soccer

he would walk home at lunch
we would have bread
with salads with soups in sandwiches
it would be enough his bread
we would be happy

Published in ArtLife Limited Editions February 2003

To produce this broadside, I literally bit the end off the baguette (bought from the bakery which inspired the poem of course), sliced it down the middle, copied the inside and the outside back to back, printed the poem inside, cut the loaves of bread out, folded them, spray glued the paper, stuck the bread on gray linen cardstock, then sifted flour over the whole page where it stuck to the toner and the spray glue. It was quite an elaborate procedure, assisted by two friends, a neighbor, and a bottle of red wine.

I have recorded an audio track but haven’t figured out how to get it loaded! Maybe I will make another video…

To read poems by other poets about this week’s Read Write Poem prompt to compose an elegy, go here.

Last Thursday I posted a more obvious response to this prompt, “Sonnet for Sept.11” here.

In Christine’s description of an elegy for the prompt, she points out that while we tend to think of them in funereal terms, they simply take as a subject a significant event or person (hence the elegy association with the death of a significant person).

Soon, I will post another poem and broadside, “Man Ray Kitty,” which also fits this prompt, so please check back!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2008 5:32 pm

    I think that his waltz with the dough was a very sensual image.
    thank you, ir is a luminous remebrance…

  2. September 18, 2008 8:47 pm

    Powerful imagery in this one.

  3. September 18, 2008 8:58 pm

    Oh, I loved this… I agree, it’s such a sensual poem- a feast really, for all the senses… I’m hungry now!

  4. September 18, 2008 9:21 pm

    Wonderful! I could smell the bread. I also find it really interesting to see what you did with the whole process of combining words/art. Very cool.

  5. September 18, 2008 9:28 pm

    thank you! I’m glad it is making ya’ll drool!

  6. September 18, 2008 10:31 pm

    Don’t you just love all that BREAD!!

  7. September 18, 2008 11:39 pm

    Holy cats, I’m so impressed with the “broadside baguette” I hardly know what to say. Man oh man.

    “Baker” is one of those professions that I always want to retreat to, that feels like it would seem so satisfying, so rewarding. I so relate to the thrust of this piece!

  8. September 18, 2008 11:46 pm

    mmm, bread, yes i have to have a fresh baguette tonight myself with bruschetta with tomatoes from our garden!

    making that broadside was a huge production! glad ya’ll appreciate it!

  9. September 19, 2008 12:05 am

    That is a fantastic sensual and evacative poem. He is very real and in motion and there is a muscularity in the rhythm of the poem too, fantastic. And the broadside is as usual brilliantly brilliant amazing piece of art.

  10. September 19, 2008 7:15 am

    Smell and taste can create such powerful evocations of memory, and everyone has fond memories of the smell and taste of fresh-baked bread — who could help but be drawn into your poem? :-)

  11. September 19, 2008 1:59 pm

    I could almost smell the bread here.


  12. September 19, 2008 2:41 pm

    thanks, Paul, Throws, and Gautami! bread is so sensual; I wanted to convey that, and the sensuality that observing the baker aroused–glad it works for you!

  13. September 19, 2008 3:10 pm

    I love the poem, and the presentation. All the smells, the perfume of bread and sensuality mixed together, creates a lovely mood of longing. What a creative way to share the poem too!

  14. September 20, 2008 10:50 am

    I love the way you get the movements of baking with the repetition and rhythm. Wonderful job

  15. September 20, 2008 9:20 pm

    Fantastic poem. Really enjoyed it.

  16. September 20, 2008 9:40 pm

    nathan, thanks for that observation–i hadn’t thought of it but you are right–i see it clearly now!

    thanks, Christine and Jo–glad you enjoyed it!

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