Forced to Eat Soft Food, I Consider Options



Forced to Eat Soft Food, I Consider Options

What good is pizza to one who can’t eat it? I’m thinking of a rolled crust
stuffed with prosciutto and parmesan, with onion strands and whole

basil leaves nestled among them, accompanied by a frothy pale ale,
bitter yet smooth and tuned so finely as to flit comfortably between the

notes of a liquid arpeggio. Or if not pizza, perhaps a red chili of braised
and shredded beef seasoned with ancho and chipotle and a smidgeon

of chocolate and beer, simmered slowly and served on the year’s
coldest day in front of the fireplace. I have so much and am grateful

for so little. My clothes are warm and dry, and the eggs I’ve poached
offer me sustenance and flavor and textures wrought of memories

of childhood and comfort, family and treasured books at hand. Then
I think of water and protectors, of standing rocks and centuries of

abuse and neglect and lies bred to fill coffers, and I wonder if we
could pile stones ten horses high around the cowards who spray,

bludgeon and strip search, who fire water cannons in sub-freezing
temperatures, and throw concussion grenades directly at pacifists, all

for the cause of holy oil. What good is pizza to those who can’t swallow?
I fork a bite of egg to my mouth, and choke, but only for a moment.





53 thoughts on “Forced to Eat Soft Food, I Consider Options

    • Thanks, Leigh. Although I don’t normally post something so new (just drafted this yesterday) and likely in need of fine-tuning, it seemed timely, in light of both personal circumstances and with what’s been happening at Standing Rock and elsewhere. So here we are. Alas, I think I’ll eat pizza well before any resolution occurs at SR.


  1. I echo other readers at the surprise I felt as this poem took an unexpected turn. Surprise, but — as always — delight. In the early going I most liked this: I have so much and am grateful
    for so little. Just so.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Necessary messages don;t have to be refined… poems hewn from the human condition speak no matter if they wee surgically removed from the ether to pen and/or bludgeoned onto the page.
    (sigh!) I am embarrassed to open my notebook and stare at the empty gestures inked into it! when
    I read your work!!

    But I cling to the possible false) hope that my persistence in gesturing will one day produce something real, something that reaches both actual and aesthetic truth!

    As always… superb poem, Okaji Sensei!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the energy of it’s immediacy shoould perhaps not be tampered with. It is so alive and that is part of what makes the internal shift so effective. Outstanding (and your work is always so good that really means something)!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, it’s so mind-boggling to consider that the extent of insult just one body can endure with the most earnest tempering of self-pity with self-chastisement, does not even amount to an infinitesimal fraction of the harm whole systems of bodies will inflict on others in lieu of assuming any responsibility for the most basic of moral implications — which is certainly not to minimize such an all-consuming affliction as not being able to swallow (pun actually not intended at first — but I decided to go with it as it was coming out… lol), of course!

    Meanwhile, saying that the PEOPOS (President-Elect of Pieces of Shit) is a walking episode of “Beavis and Butthead” is no more than a wildly unjust criticism of those pathetic caricatures… If the true nature of poor little Gregor Samsa manifested itself as an enormous cockroach, then “Agent Orange” has outdone not only the horrors we attribute to his namesake, but exceeded the human capacity to devise a language that can name (much less unpack) this malignancy that has cropped up to swallow us whole… Much in the way that there will never be words to capture the exquisite cowardice currently feeding the violence at SR.

    Yet, in unyielding commitment to the poet’s audacious vocation of packaging the unswallowable in bite-sized pieces of possibility, you prevail on behalf of us all.

    While pizza might be off the collective psychic menu for an unforeseeable time to come, I hope your own journey toward restored physical health brings you back to Bananas Foster before too long, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s fortunate that I spend so much time alone in my shack, as my whining is driving me over the edge. πŸ™‚ And what a coincidence – I was thinking of Bananas Foster just yesterday, how they would fit nicely into my diet (breakfast, anyone?), if only I could find someone to make them for me! Any volunteers out there?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Orthometry and commented:
    I am a vegetarian but relate to the sentiment. A bit of a dental problem a few years ago put me through that. Hard to chew cashews or even broccoli with that much pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha!
    Laughed with the ending egg (which is a great vitamin food and has all that extras for the brain – so enjoy 🍳)
    But oh wow was I salivating at your wonderful food descriptions and then that authentic pizza – darn!
    Well done

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you, Robert, for my first like from you. I’m honoured because you are such a talented poet and writer. Also, I love this post as i am a big foodie myself. I was having images of the scrumptiousness in my head as I read your poem.

    Liked by 2 people

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