Thanksgiving week seems like a good time to do a post about pie poems.
Here’s one, “Perfect for Any Occasion” by Alberto Rios that defines pie:
Pies have a reputation.
And it’s immediate—no talk of potential
Regarding a pie. It’s good
Or it isn’t, but mostly it is—sweet, very sweet
Right then, right there, blue and red.
It can’t go to junior college,
Work hard for the grades,
Work two jobs on the side.
It can’t slowly build a reputation
And a growing client base.
A pie gets one chance
And knows it, wearing as makeup
Those sparkling granules of sugar,
As a collar those diamond cutouts
The second section talks about “those other pies”, the ones that aren’t as good, and what happens to them. It’s a good solid “all about pie and by that I mean all about something else through pie” poem. My favorite line in it: “Pies live a life of applause.”
Here are two by Kate Lebo from A Commonplace Book of Pie, with these great opening lines:
“Mincemeat Pie”: “Only one woman alive today would say her favorite pie is mincemeat.”
“Chocolate Cream Pie”: “People who love chocolate cream pie move through this world in a swarm of music.
Hayden Carruth has a great poem about Raymond Carver’s death, “Ray“, that begins,
How many guys are sitting at their kitchen tables
right now, one-thirty in the morning, this same
time, eating a piece of pie? – that’s what I
wondered. A big piece of pie, because I’d just
finished reading Ray’s last book. Not good pie,
not like my mother or my wife could’ve
made, but an ordinary pie I’d just bought, being
alone, at the Tops Market two hours ago. And how
many had water in their eyes?
And for this week’s penultimate pie poem, Robert Creeley’s “A Wicker Basket“ which has the most mouthwatering pie experience
And she opens the door of her cadillac,I step in back,and we’re gone.She turns me on—
There are very huge stars, man, in the sky,and from somewhere very far off someone hands me a slice of apple pie,with a gob of white, white ice cream on top of it,and I eat it—
Slowly. And while certainlythey are laughing at me, and all around me is racketof these cats not making it, I make it
in my wicker basket.
And for the last poem, one by Stephanie Burt (who I saw at Seattle Arts & Lectures recently and highly recommend catching live) that is about being “At the Providence Zoo” and isn’t about pie at all, but has one of the great pie lines ever at the very end:
Having watched a boa
eat a rat alive,
the shortest child does as she was told?
looks up, holds the right hand
of the buddy system, and stands,
as she explains it, “still as a piece of pie.”
Still as a piece of pie, pie as a life of applause, mincemeat pie or pumpkin pie, I hope you enjoy a slice of both poetry and pie this week. Cheers.