Charles Ames Fischer

Teacher Author Consultant Mentor

How to Eat a Poem

To eat a poem you must first

weave yourself a most wondrous place

of calm and quiet, dewdrops, and dawn.


Next to an ancient silvered oak,

spread a Persian rug upon the morning grass

and kneel upon the softness.


Create a pen of liquid silk

and a parchment of pure cream,

thick and rich.


Upon this surface weave the wonders

of words through the flowing script of

archaic calligraphy.


When your poem is complete,

while the words are still wet,

roll the work into a scroll,

like Merlin may have made.


Ease the precious package

toward your eager mouth

and enjoy!


At Denny's, Syracuse


Coffee steaming in front of a frozen face.

A highbrow smile reflected in the dirty chrome.

A green rag drips into a stream

that slowly wanders the greasy tiles.


Between the reflection and the reality

lies the truth.


The haze on the silverware masks the world

like a shadow shrouds the ground.

This is a hidden day, a phantom day,

where cigarette-talk and cold coffee

conversations are saving shimmering souls.


Between the noise and the solitude

lies the truth.


The jovial man in the corner stabs life at the shadows

and beckons them to return. He was solid in the chair,

but as he leaves, he becomes a ghost, one of them.


Between the form and the shadow

lies the truth.


This is a crossroads of worlds

where wavering lives come together

for a brief time under the dim pall

of yellowing lights.


Between the harmony and the rhythm,

between the smile and the frown

lies the truth.



people walk past.
I sit and watch
their lives flicker
down the sidewalk.
A happy day
a happy day?
Down the sidewalk
their lives flicker.
I sit and watch
people walk past.