Red Beans and Ricely Yours

Louis Armstrong thin sliced hog’s head
cheese, souse, and horseradish, slices
of pickles—with his sisters—and the thin

tomato. Juicy cold the gravy burns
into the lull of the earth. It is Louis,

a dozen large raw oysters, and French
bread with the muff of crumbs

whipped with grits fried in butter
into squares, the veal of his head

peeking gut bucket. Don’t throw
away the vegetable pulp

it makes for an excellent
Creole omelette. Louis not lean
plump as claw meat, chopped with shallots

Yes I’m the Barrel stuffed filé
raw shrimp in a dark roux
arrived at giddy fire andouille

he fades into the smoke
celery-color fluffy as an oyster
till they curl, parsley and green onions

It is ham fat and thyme with bay
leaves flopped by the bay a carcass

dark and light, flurry of brass
and Harlem sets of livers and gizzards

She loves my baked chicken
corn bread dressing whole eggplants—
“Louisiana caviar.” She said ride my hips

Stirring constantly prevent scorching
Fiery skillet of daube glace Lil I love you


Each month a contemporary poet presents three poems and one personal essay in which food is consumed, passed over, or reckoned with. Sean is our poet for May, 2014.

Sean Singer was born in Mexico in 1974. His first book Discography won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His second book, Honey & Smoke, is forthcoming from Eyewear Publishing in 2015.


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