Monday, July 26, 2010

What's That Smell in the Kitchen?

By Marge Piercy

All over America women are burning dinners.
It's lamb chops in Peoria; it's haddock
in Providence; it's steak in Chicago;
tofu delight in Big Sur; red
rice and beans in Dallas.
All over America women are burning
food they're supposed to bring with calico
smile on platters glittering like wax.
Anger sputters in her brainpan, confined
but spewing out missiles of hot fat.
Carbonized despair presses like a clinker
from a barbecue against the back of her eyes.
If she wants to grill anything, it's
her husband over a slow fire.
If she wants to serve him anything
it's a dead rat with a bomb in its belly
ticking like the heart of an insomniac.
Her life is cooked and digested
nothing but leftovers in Tupperware.
Look, she says, once I was roast duck
on your platter with parsley but now I am Spam.
Burning dinner is not incompetence but war.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I like this poem. To some extent, I agree with this author in stereotyping people for who they are.

  3. This poem is a creative take on women rights.

  4. Adam, as sophisticated an analysis as that was, perhaps you could elaborate on what you don't like about the poem.

  5. I like this, it's quite lovely in expressing women's rights without coming out and saying it. Very clever!

  6. Marge Piercy, through verse, does an interesting job at pointing out the stereotypical oppression that home-makers have felt for decades. With definate feminist overtones, she convincingly expresses the frustration and anxiety that most often accompanies the daily grind and the lack of fullfilling work. Well Done Marge !!

    1. Its not that the work is unfulfilled, Her comparisson of herself to "roast duck," and "spam" clearly show it is more a matter of recognition than lack of fulfillment. Very feminism-based, one-sided analysis moron.

    2. No name-calling allowed here. This is your one warning - future comments that include name-calling will simple be deleted.

  7. I adore this poem. Currently I am teaching feminist poetry in my Humanities 8 class, and this is an excellent addition. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I like Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood, Denise Levertov, Maya Angelou, and Audre Lorde. Thank you in advance!

  8. I have poems by all those poets on this blog, on a computer you should be able to scroll down to see the tag cloud of all the poets whose work has appeared in this blog.

  9. It is a moment described. A whim of frustration. Deliberate and concise, it is a poem doing what poems do. Brava!

  10. I hate this because of school work, but nice story


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