Monday, June 20, 2005

Podcast #4 -- Megan Baker

Live, from Studio P, it's Megan Baker! In this podcast, she reads two pieces, reprinted below. Like what you hear? Tell her -- leave a comment in this post. As always, if you're local and you know of a piece that we should be podcasting, be sure to let us know. If you're not local, and you're listening to our little contribution to the podcasting community, please drop us a line and tell us how we're doing.

The Nest
Magpies have built a
nest in the pine
north of the house.
A basket for all their
eggs. It takes
forty to fifty days,
according to Ehrlich. Forty to
fifty days I watch them gather
sticks, flying up hill
to sage and
mountain mahogany, south to the neighbors’
poplars, down to
service berry. They work
next to each other, parallel
play. My arms would
just reach around it top to bottom,
this strong C of sticks poked and
pulled into place, an intricate and
sturdy basket, lined with a cloth,
cradling steamy bread.

The neighbor cat, a soft, orange
tiger, wanders the slope
to the west. He’s a Science Diet cat.
Not lean. Doesn’t need the
mouse he’s stalking, but can’t
avoid the gut force compelling him -
do this thing.

I watch the cat, watch the
nest, link them in my mind.
He’d have to climb 15, 16 feet up
that tree to get them.
He couldn’t do it, but
I clear my head of magpies,
nests, eggs. Everyone knows cats
are telepathic.

Megan Baker

June 2005

Baking A Poetics

I practice the poetry of
the kind that don’t need
yeast no
kneading no rising no
punching down no
waiting to rise again.
When I bake I want
cream the butter sugar fast
beat the eggs
whisk spices into
breathless batter. My mind is on
I only know I’ll have a heavy
sweetcake soon.
And after do I take
the time to sprinkle
something through a doily,
make it pretty? We’ll hack
it up and eat it
anyway. Even the words
p o w d e r e d s u g a r
sound slow and I want to
eat it now.
Did I ever have
the patience it
Not since
age 11 when I baked with
Granny who told my mother I was
Not lazy so much
I think
as wanting the task
done. By the time I write the
leavening’s already happened.
I’ve punched this dough
of pumpkin bread and poetry and
maternal judgment down two or
three times
today. It just looks like

There’s a difference between her
batter and mine. Her rounded anger
waited in the bowl,
exploded like a tiny snore under a
floured fist. Mine resides on the
page, butter melting thin across this
pecan-spackled slice.
She saw my sudden
flurry, its unleavened product and
declared me
unfit for real
baking. Granny couldn’t
see me knead the bread
inside my head.

Megan L. Baker
June 2005

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm digging the bread theme. I love the last line.