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.  

More Simple

(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?


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