From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes
Gotham teacher B.C. Edwards has recently seen the release of his book of poetry From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes
. He adapted poems from a book of the same name, circa 1901. The original Cyclopedia
contained a variety of common household tasks from dying wool, to tempering iron, to making bird food, to curing cancer and small pox. B.C. kept the original title of each recipe, which often served as a springboard for the poem itself.
Here are a couple of bites:
How to Temper Knife Blades.
There is a piece of iron between us,
straight and hard at first
but we have worked it.
Warped the iron
until it is curved now
to exactly us, fits the shape that lies in
us two embracing. A line that runs from where our faces meet,
the way we lay our necks on each other, the cut of our
tempered hot iron hips,
twine of legs.
When we separate, there is this piece,
grey thin strip barely shining
detailing the moment together
a whole new letter of the alphabet.
From this curve we can redraw the outline of us two lying there.
From this curve we can get it exactly right.
A simple Cure for Scarlet Fever.
They burned everything
velveteen rabbits and everything
they used plenty of catnip and burned everything
sewn together kittens and everything
they kept the eruptions at bay
throats full-swollen gargled complaints
as red-handed they burned everything
sick children they said smeared yeast
and burned everything until rooms bare-walled
and only the ghosts of posters
outlined almost yellow where they failed to paint
where they will paint now
that it’s over that it’s burned because
they burned every piece of that child.
Reprinted with permission from Black Lawrence Press.
Learn more about B.C. Edwards and his book here