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'AC Sketch' by Ben Tyree

Butterfly Kidneys

Butterfly Kidneys


sever kidneys nearly in half along inner seam      leaving thin connective membrane
crook finger under loose skin      peel outer casing back      slow     thin      strips
discard dermal shreds      or set aside for ribbon garnish
(renal artery and papilla may be threaded into decorative bow for final plating)
steep in melted butter      before flashfrying      in sharp cast iron
turn once renal pyramid achieves crisp sensation      on keen tongues
splay butterflied kidney over dry sippets
allow one organ per guest


Angela Szczepaniak
Writer’s Statement

The pieces here are from a novel (in progress) called Unisex Love Poems: one-sided conversations. It has a loose premise, rather than a cohesive plot, constructed from poems, swatches of prose, and image-text pieces, many of which deal with consuming (food, language, bodies, etiquette…). The speaker in these text-based poems is one of four voices in the novel—butterfingers, a tightrope walker.

I respond to language viscerally, and think of words as solid, tangible – almost like you can feel them on the tongue, savour them. Combining words is exciting—the way different configurations change a word’s shape and density, not just its meaning. For me, language is as plastic and mutable as any medium. Treating it playfully, experimenting with word arrangements, can set up wonderfully non sequitur worlds that intrigue and invite, so that pieces are funny, exuberant, surprising, repulsive…

Once, after first seeing one of the organ-recipe pieces, someone threw up. I was delighted.

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last update: July 2, 2007