Wanda Coleman
  • Wanda Coleman

— for Austin

  • at the restaurant we sit down to wine
  • we are so hungry
  • the crisp appetizers/early loves
  • and lightly seasoned salad
  • we’ve developed appetites for the garlic & onion of life
  • gorging on a main course of dissatisfaction
  • over frustrated creativity sautéed in
  • economic plight
  • he chews over his Brooklyn childhood
  • i pick at the tedium of youthful Watts summers
  • we eat away the lousy jobs stunting our talent
  • we eat away the hot smog-filled day
  • we eat away the war in the headlines
  • we eat away the threat of nuclear holocaust
  • we eat away love-threatening pressures
  • we eat away the human pain we see/feel/
  • are stymied by
  • (pride is such thin dessert)
  • we eat until our smiles return
  • until fat and happy

Wanda Coleman, who passed away on November 20, 2013, at the age of 67, is a well-known American poet who has published 19 books of poetry and fiction including Bathwater Wine, for which she won the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (the first African-American woman to receive that award), and Mercurochrome, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001. A seminal figure of literary L.A., her honors also include Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and, most recently, the 2012 Shelley Memorial Award. “Pigging Out” is from a newly published collection of love poems called The Love Project: A Marriage Made in Poetry. The first part of the book contains poems by her husband, Austin Straus, written for Wanda, and the second half of the collection are poems by Wanda Coleman to Austin. The book has just been published by Red Hen Press in Los Angeles. “Pigging Out” is reprinted here by permission. The author’s photograph is by Susan Carpendale.

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