Longtime Santa Barbara Independent contributor George Yatchisin recently published a chapbook of poems about food called Feast Days (Flutter Press, 2016, 42 pages). These are two poems from the book, which can be purchased at tinyurl.com/feastdayspoems.
(Originally published in Alimentum, April 2013, and about Chef John Downey)
Ground up you build your goodness,
from near, from dirt, from sea. So simple and
so everything. All it takes to attest to something
between subsistence and exuberance
is naming names, farmers and suppliers,
and you’ve done so from the beginning. Too humble
to come out from your kitchen, you let your plates speak
for their simple, stunning selves, one at a time, choruses
of flavors — arugula, bosc, butternut, saffron,
sundrieds, shiitakes — an alphabet of exotics
and not so, everything itself so much
it’s like peeling away world from world from world,
like an onion, or skin, or the sense we’ve been
here before but never quite like delicious this.
Lines for Uni
It’s incredible discovering whatever’s edible.
Someone saw a sea urchin and surmised
beyond the spiny shell, innards would be prized.
But even then not by all, it so much sea
it might make some fight an earthly tug
to sickness, its intensity a rug pulled from under.
Ask those with an itch for urchin, a need
for raw roe, a salted kiss of the ocean’s egg,
How much muchness can one man stand?